Target is known for being easy on its shoppers’ pocketbooks. The same principle also applies to the sports arena that bears its name, the Target Center. A new study reveals that Minnesota Timberwolves tickets are among the most affordable in the NBA, according to Value Penguin, a website for consumer resources.
According to the study, the average family in St. Paul or Bloomington would have to work 5.0 hours to afford the entire experience including three game tickets, parking, food, and drinks. The Wolves had the third-cheapest experience, bested only by the Charlotte Hornets and Washington Wizards.
The average ticket at the Target Center costs $37.27, right on par with the league average. At that price, fans can sit on the ends of the lower level or within the first few rows at center court on the upper level, according to current Flashseats listings.
Value Penguin interviewed Timberwolves Vice President of Communications, Brad Ruiter, to see how ticket prices are determined.
“We live in a market with many entertainment options… We need to be creative about keeping our options accessible for families, and that includes every aspect of the Target Center experience — not only the ticket, but concessions, merchandise, and parking.”
The Twin Cities make up the 16th largest media market. However, it is the smallest market to have all six major professional sports leagues including the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB, WNBA, and MLS. The Wolves season overlaps portions of every season except for the WNBA, but that competitiveness doesn’t hurt the team, says Ruiter.
“It’s tough to classify other sports as ‘competitors’… Success for one usually means the area fan base is invigorated and inclined to show support for all. That said, our pricing is dictated by market size in relation to other teams in the league.”
Value Penguin’s rankings come just a week after Forbes released its annual valuation of NBA franchises. The Timberwolves were ranked as the second-least valuable franchise, in front of only the New Orleans Pelicans. Minnesota was in the red in operating income as recently as 2014, but has made money in each of the last three seasons.
The affordability combined with a recent return to the black in operating income shows that the team is still climbing to its apex. The Wolves young talent appears ready for a championship run despite the league’s longest current playoff drought of 12 seasons.
For perspective, the Golden State Warriors operating income has increased 234 percent since their first playoff appearance in the Steph Curry era following the 2012-13 season. Today, the current average ticket price sits at $80 per seat at Oracle Arena.
With that in mind, Ruiter says that business isn’t finished for the team.
“Admittedly, we have some work to do to achieve a full arena, but our prices do strike a nice balance.”
Who is ready to tip the scales in Minnesota?
Brad Omland is a writer and editor for Howlin’ T-Wolf. Follow him on Twitter: @bradradio.