When the NBA’s All-Star Weekend returns to Salt Lake City for the first time in 30 years, it will be a hot ticket.
With six months until the festivities tip off in February, fans are still waiting for their chance to grab their tickets.
So how do they get them?
It’ll cost you.
The highest-profile events
Right out of the gate: Tickets for the average Utahn will likely be in short supply.
The two highest-profile events of All-Star Weekend in 2023 are “All-Star Saturday Night” (featuring the Skills Challenge, the 3-Point Contest, and the Dunk Contest every year) and the All-Star Game itself, held on Sunday night.
Both will take place at Vivint Arena, but the capacity of the arena will be lowered greatly. One baseline side will have seats removed in order to accommodate a stage for pregame and halftime musical acts that will perform on both nights, a league spokesperson said. Seats for the hundreds of national and international media attending the game will have to be created, too, likely removing some other fan seats.
The NBA itself runs ticketing for the weekend, not the Jazz. And the league has already given a substantial number of tickets away to its sponsors, as part of their deal in supporting the league. Tickets also go to all 30 NBA teams, players and their families, the NBA Players Association and Retired Players Association, the host team and city, and more.
As a result, there are just a limited number of tickets available for the average Utahn.
Earlier this year, the league invited fans who were highly interested in attending All-Star events to put down a $250 nonrefundable deposit with NBA Experiences. Essentially, NBA Experiences is a wing of NBA sales that packages tickets with access to other “experiences,” interesting things to do during All-Star Weekend. There are many variations of these — from access to an NBA lounge with an open bar, to a catered breakfast with NBA mascots, to lunch with an NBA Hall of Famer, to on-court photo opportunities, and many more. The league, in fact, says more such experiences are still being designed and are yet to be announced.
Experience packages are currently being sold to those fans who put down deposits. They’re on sale to Jazz season ticket holders from now until Aug. 15, when they’ll go on sale to the general public.
Then, in the fall, the NBA will send Jazz season ticket holders an email with the opportunity to buy tickets alone. For the 2022 All-Star Game in Cleveland, that process ended up being a lottery, because more season ticket holders wanted to buy tickets than they had tickets available.
Those two avenues will be the only way to directly buy tickets to those two big events in Utah.
The NBA Experiences route can be expensive, though.
Some Jazz fans who put down their $250 deposits received an early list of All-Star Weekend packages, with costs ranging between $1,299 and $19,999.
The league office says that list is an evolving draft document, rather than the final list of experience packages available and their prices. They also note that these packages will come with at least one added experience — that NBA Experiences won’t sell just tickets alone. The fan, though, says that his NBA Experiences sales representative was truly selling these packages at those prices.
Regardless, those prices are about in line for what previous All-Star Weekend experiences packages have cost in the past. It’s not yet been announced how much the tickets, sans experiences, would cost Jazz season ticket holders, but for the two marquee events of Saturday night and Sunday’s game, it’s fair to expect an asking price in at least the high triple digits to get in the door.
What about the secondary ticket market? last year, Cleveland19.com found that the cheapest ticket to get in to Saturday night’s contest was $376, while the cheapest ticket to get into Sunday’s game was $433. Cleveland is a somewhat bigger market than Salt Lake City, but demand could have also been muted due to the Omicron outbreak of COVID-19.
Cheaper tickets to other events
Those marquee events are going to set fans back with high costs, but there will be other events fans with tighter budgets will be able to attend.
Most prominent are tickets to the NBA’s Rising Stars Game on Friday night at Vivint Arena, the contest which includes the league’s rookies and sophomores. The NBA’s Celebrity Game will take place at the Huntsman Center on Friday as well. Last year, the cheapest tickets for those games went for about $50 each from the NBA directly.
The league also sells tickets to:
• The NBA All-Star game practice, starting at $26 last year
• The G-League “Next Gem” game, starting at $17 last year
• The HBCU Classic, starting at $10 last year.
Jazz season ticket holders will have a presale for all of the above events as well, but the tickets will also go on sale to the general public after that presale.
There’s also “NBA Crossover,” an interactive fan event that’s expected to be hosted at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. Think of it as kind of a high-tech expo show for fans, or, as the league says, “an interactive fan event that showcases the convergence of the NBA and pop culture.” Tickets for that in Cleveland were $30.
Finally, there will be opportunities for fans to get involved throughout the city for free. One option called NBA Ice Buckets, will ask fans to make a simulated game-winning shot on a snow-and-ice-themed court. If they make it, they’ll have the chance to win tickets to other events. Another, called the NBA All-Star Rewards Program, will give points to fans who visit participating Utah businesses that they can use to redeem for All-Star prizes and experiences via an app.