Then too, paying to watch basketball at Staples is much more expensive than watching it at the old Sports Arena. The average ticket price last year for a Clippers seat during the inaugural year at Staples Center jumped 38 percent to $43.89 from $31.75 at the Sports Arena, according to Team Marketing Report, a Chicago-based sports marketing firm. This year, prices have nudged up just a touch, to $44.81. But a look at Team Marketing's fan cost index which details the overall cost for a family of four to buy tickets, pay for parking, and grab some food, drink and memorabilia shows a mild drop, to $265.73 from $275.55, as the team dropped prices on some souvenirs. By comparison, a similar package for a Lakers home game rose 4.5 percent to $446.74, the second most expensive deal in the NBA.

"(Clippers) caps were $20 last year, this year they're $12," said Team Marketing Report editor Matt Freedman. "Programs were $10, now they're $8. Any and all of the above can contribute to the fan cost index declining."

Team Marketing also puts together a frugal fan index, detailing the cost for four people to buy the cheapest tickets available, and buy food and drink but no souvenirs. Using that guide, four people can go to a Clippers game for as little as $77.

But unlike the Lakers, the Clippers go out of their way to try and accommodate their fans. Capacity seating at Staples for a Clippers game is 18,964. (The Lakers seat 18,997 due to a slightly different seating arrangement, and have sold out seven of their eight home games.) But the Clippers sell another 1,500 or so standing-room-only tickets for $10 apiece, which helps boost the box office when the Lakers and their bandwagon drop by.


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