Thanks to a league-wide survey published by Business Insider in this article by Cork Gaines, we now have a collection compiled of the prices for a small draft beer in every NBA arena. The overarching conclusion reached: They're absurdly high.
If you've been losing sleep over the lack of comparative information on the cost of NBA suds, you can finally rest easy, armed with the invaluable knowledge that prices range from an almost-reasonable fee of $5 for the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs to a comically overpriced $9 for the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns.
However, if this particular issue had been keeping you up at night to begin with, you should probably start looking into some 12-step programs.
Look, everybody knows that it costs an arm and a leg to catch a buzz at almost any professional sporting event, but two aspects of the study stand out as particularly strange.
First, the disparity in price is striking. Forgive me if I'm mistaken, but I'm pretty sure a thimble full of Bud Light tastes the same in San Antonio as it does in New York. Although, if the Spurs run their beer taps as efficiently as their offense, their $5 drink probably reaches your hand at optimal temperature and with just the right amount of foam.
New York seems to have taken its pricing scheme from a theme park gift shop. Remember, they're charging nine bucks for a small beer. They probably request naming rights over your first-born kid for a large.
The second odd take-away from the list of various prices is there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason for the varied amounts. Sure, a few of them make sense, like how the major metropolitan cities tend to charge more because their customers have a little more to spend. But why does Phoenix charge the highest amount?
Is it because notoriously stingy Suns owner Robert Sarver knows his audience is so parched by the desert heat that they're desperate for hydration? Does he also keep bottles of water under lock and key?
Let's get back to the Spurs and Thunder for a minute. They've got the two best teams in the West! Shouldn't they, in theory, be able to charge a little more for their booze? Their ticket-holders are getting so much more on-court enjoyment for their buck as it is.
This is all just baffling.
Here's a novel idea: Tie the cost of beer directly to the team's record. That way, if I'm stuck watching the Philadelphia 76ers kick the ball all over the court for two hours, at least I'll be able to contract a quick and inexpensive case of liquid amnesia. As it is now, a beer in Philly costs almost eight bucks.
If I'm sitting through a Sacramento Kings debacle, the least the organization could do is make it dirt cheap for me to get royally bombed.
Prices for concessions corresponding to the success (or lack thereof) of the organization is not a new idea. Minor league baseball has used this system for years. They know they've got an inferior product, so they dispense their drinks at rock-bottom prices, so everybody has a good time in spite of the poor play on the diamond. All I'm saying is that the same principle could apply to the hardwood.
Hey, overpriced beer at NBA games isn't going anywhere. We all know that. Even so, it'd be nice if there was a method to the pricing madness.