Nov. 7, 1989, isn’t a significant day in Lakers history. The Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns 111-107 on that Tuesday night 30 years ago. It was the third game of the 1989-90 season, but it was the first NBA game I ever attended, so it was a significant game to me then and now.
I’ve covered hundreds of games over the last 20 years, but that first game I attended with my father 30 years ago sticks with me to this day because, well, the first one always does. My dad paid $32.50 for each ticket, but the memories we shared that night were priceless.
Going to a professional sports event can be expensive and most sports fans never actually get to see their favorite team in person, but the best thing about having two teams in every major pro sports league in Los Angeles is there are opportunities for some great deals if you want to go to a game. In fact, if you don’t care where you sit and just want to “get in” the door, you can find a ticket on the secondary market to see most of the teams in town for less than my dad paid for me to go to my first game 30 years ago.
Clippers (Staples Center)
Get-in price: $6-$35
Lowdown: After adding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the offseason, the Clippers became championship favorites in the eyes of oddsmakers. Depending on whom the Clippers are playing, however, you can see arguably the best team in the league and the best player in the NBA for just $6.
Best deal: If you want to welcome back Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari to Staples Center on Nov. 18 when the Oklahoma City Thunder face the Clippers, you can get in the door for $6.
Kings (Staples Center)
Lowdown: Many of the familiar faces from the Kings’ Stanley Cup title teams in 2012 and 2014 are still on the roster (Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter, etc.), but the team has fallen on hard times and is projected to be one of the worst in the NHL this season. You can usually find a ticket to a Kings game for less than it costs to park your car at L.A. Live.
Get-in price: $11-$35
Best deal: You can watch arguably the best team and the best player in hockey for $14 when Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers come to Staples Center on Nov. 21.
Ducks (Honda Center)
Lowdown: The Ducks are better than the Kings, but that might not mean much to you if you don’t live in Orange County. But if you’re in Anaheim, you can see Ryan Getzlaf, John Gibson and the Ducks most nights for less than the cost of general parking at Disneyland.
Get-in price: $13-$39
Best deal: Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals come to Honda Center on Dec. 6, and you can be in the building for $20.
Lowdown: This is the Rams’ last season at the Coliseum before they move into the new $5-billion SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. Given some of the ticket prices for the new building, this season might be the last best chance for some fans to see the Rams in-person before getting priced out.
Get-in price: $20-$75
Best deal: You can see Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 29 for $20, but if you want to watch all of the Rams’ prime-time home games to finish the season, the team has a good option. You can get the “Primetime Pack” for $200, which includes the Nov. 17 night game against the Chicago Bears, the Nov. 25 night game against the Baltimore Ravens, the Dec. 8 night game against the Seattle Seahawks and the Cardinals game.
Lakers (Staples Center)
Lowdown: Even when the Lakers had the worst winning percentage in the NBA over the last six seasons, it was expensive to get into Staples Center for a Lakers game. Now that they’re back in the championship mix with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Lakers tickets are again the hottest in town.
Get-in price: $55-$260
Best deal: The New York Knicks weren’t able to land a big-name free agent in the summer, but Lakers-Knicks games usually provide some of the best people-watching in town. You can get into Staples Center on Jan. 7 for that game for $58.
Chargers (Dignity Health Sports Park)
Lowdown: The Chargers are far from the most popular team in Los Angeles, but when it comes to the “get-in price” for their home games, no team in town is as expensive to see largely because their stadium capacity is 27,000, which is about one-third the size of the Coliseum. The cheapest ticket for Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers, for example, is $385.
Get-in price: $130-$385
Best deal: There are really no good deals if you want to see the Chargers play a home game in Carson. Even a general parking spot in the tailgating lot will cost you $100. That said, they’re probably going to be the most affordable option if you want to check out SoFi Stadium next season. The Chargers are selling season tickets next year for as low as $50 per game in Inglewood.