raps

With training camp and the pre-season just weeks away, and with the Raptors unveiling their tentatively tiered pricing for every home game on the schedule (prices will eventually fluctuate based on demand), I thought now would be a good time to help fellow Raptors fans looking for the best bang for their buck this season at the Air Canada Centre.

This season, there are five tiers of pricing for regular season games: Best Value, Value, Premium, Premium+ and Super Premium. To give you an idea of the variance in price across the different tiers, I’ll use the price point my season tickets fall under (Balcony Prime 1).

In Balcony Prime 1, the face value of each tier breaks down like this:

Best Value: $36

Value: $47

Premium: $62

Premium+: $80

Super Premium: $127

That’s quite the range, with Super Premium games deemed to be more than three-and-a-half times as valuable as Best Value games.

Without further ado, here are the games I feel offer the best value for fans:

October 30 vs. Boston
Price Tier: Value
We’re all aware of how far down the rung the Celtics have fallen this summer, and I’m not at all suggesting that a date with a Rondo-less tanking team should be worth more of your money, but regardless of the opponent, any time tickets to the home opener (and season opener for that matter) can be had at the second lowest pricing tier, I’d consider that a deal worth jumping on.

November 26 vs. Brooklyn
Price Tier:
Premium
Jason Kidd and the new-look Nets will be one of the most intriguing stories to monitor this season, particularly in the season’s opening stages. When the Nets come into town again in January, you’ll be paying ‘Premium+’ money because it happens to be a Saturday night. So take advantage of the fact that Brooklyn’s first foray into Toronto in 2013-14 falls on a Tuesday.

December 10 vs. San Antonio
Price Tier: Best Value
No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, Gregg Popovich and the defending Western Conference champion Spurs are listed at the lowest pricing tier, meaning you can see the Spurs for the same price as teams like the Bobcats, 76ers, Magic, Bucks, Pistons, Wizards, Hawks and Pelicans.
(Sidenote: The Pistons, Wizards, Hawks and Pelicans being in the Best Value category is decent value in itself, as is the final home game of the season against Milwaukee)

March 21 vs. Oklahoma City
Price Tier: Premium
If this matchup was booked for an awkward night of the week, a Holiday or for early in the season when Russell Westbrook was still questionable, I could understand the Thunder not being listed in a higher pricing tier. But that’s not the case. The game is scheduled for a Friday night at a point in the season where we can probably safely assume that Westbrook will be back, and yet you can watch the Raptors take on Kevin Durant and the Thunder for cheaper than you can watch the Knicks and the Clippers.

April 2 vs. Houston
Price Tier: Premium
Between Dwight Howard, James Harden and Jeremy Lin, I figured those in charge of ticket pricing would try to squeeze a little more out of the Rockets, but the ‘Premium’ price tag is probably one of the better deals of the season.

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While there are obviously some deals to be had this season, there are also a couple of games I think have been overpriced. The Knicks come into town twice, and both games are listed as ‘Premium+.’ Now I know the first time Andrea Bargnani returns to Toronto, during the Holidays while many are likely off work, is an event worthy of the Premium+ price tag, but is the April date against the overrated Knicks really worth it?

And what about the Lakers? L.A. is the only team other than Miami to command the ‘Super Premium’ price tag, but unless you feel this is your last chance to ever see Kobe Bryant or Steve Nash live, I don’t think the mediocre Lakers are as much of a draw as the Heat are or are worth twice as much in the price of admission as the Thunder, Rockets, Bulls and Nets, are they?