NBA and NHL Playoffs On Pace For Most Game Sevens In History

May 3 2014, 12:48am CDT | by

When it comes to the postseason, nothing is more exciting than an elimination Game 7.  If the measure of a post-season’s quality is the number of Game 7s, we’re on pace for the most exciting post-season in modern history. For a list of average prices for all game sevens in round one, visit the TiqIQ blog. In their opening rounds, both the NBA and NHL had three Game 7s scheduled on the same day for the first time.  With the Nets game six win at Barclays Center and the Mavericks win at American Airlines arena, the NBA now has five game sevens on the schedule over the next two days. Since the NBA changed the quarterfinals to a seven-game series in 2003, only two post-seasons have had more than three total Game 7s.  Depending on the outcome of tonight’s final game, there could be a total of six….just in round one.  While the NBA is going seven at an unprecedented clip, the NHL is also doing its best to keep up. On Wednesday, the NHL had its first three-Game 7 night since 2003.  To put all of these Game 7s into perspective, the most combined NHL and NBA Game 7s in one year was 12 back in 1994.  So far 50% of NHL and NBA Series have gone seven, and at the current pace there would be 15 by the time two champions are crowned. If the Rockets win tonight, they’ll play the sixth game 7 at the Toyota Center.

One bi-product of Game 7 excitement is high ticket prices. Along with TV ratings, Game 7 prices may be the best indicator of how badly fans want to advance. Based on that measure, Thunder fans want it the most, with a 70% premium over the series average. Of all the games currently scheduled, Pacers fans are the most indifferent, with a 13.36% premium.  You can also get into that Game 7 for $29, which is 71% lower than the average get-in price for the NBA Game 7s.  Since 2003, 16% first-round series have gone seven.  For 2014, we’re already at 37.5% and that could get as high as 75%.

Compared to NBA Game 7s, 29% of all NHL series have gone seven over the last 11 years. That means this year’s pace is just slightly ahead of the average. In the NHL, given the relative lack of scoring and opportunity for luck, upsets are much more common than the NBA.   Over the last 11 years, 35% of lower seeds have won a first-round series and five of those lower seeds have reached the Stanley Cup finals.  In 2012, the 8-seed Kings beat the 6-seeded Devils in the Stanley Cup Finals.  The NBA, however, is a very different story.  With an average of 70-100 shots taken every game, it’s much harder for luck to play into the outcome of a game.  As evidence of that, since 2000 there have only been two teams below a five seed have won the NBA finals, and only 20% of 5-8 seeds have won a first-round series. Only one of those teams went on to win a second series– last season’s Memphis Grizzlies. The only notable case of a lower seed making the NBA Finals was the 1998-99 Knicks, who made it as an eight-seed then lost to San Antonio in five games.

The biggest difference this season in the NBA the consistent quality levels in both the East and West. In the East, that quality is low, and with Indiana’s second-half slide, the only elite team in the East is the Miami Heat. The Western Conference is the opposite, with a consistently high level of talent. While the West has always been the more competitive conference, this season almost every team is a legitimate contender.

Amidst all this Game 7 excitement, the only outcome that seems certain is that the Heat emerge victorious in the East.  Along with the Wizards, they dominated their first round opponents with little to no drama.  It’s no coincidence then that the Heat were only one of two teams that had an average price on the Secondary market below face price.  While most fans would prefer the easy route to glory, ticket prices are the best evidence that it’s much more exciting, and expensive, to see your team get there the hard way.

 
 

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