NBA Playoffs 2017: Who’s Confident and Who’s Happy to be There

By Joe Baur,

It’s mid-April, which means the 2017 NBA Playoffs are underway — two and a half grueling months of basketball. Some fans of the top seeds might tune out until the Conference Finals, because, and no offense to the bottom of the brackets, the first round generally plays out as expected. After all, the eighth seed has only knocked out the first seed twice since the first round went to best of seven.

We dug into the data and saw some differences between fan bases possibly looking into a trip to the NBA Finals and others seemingly just happy to be there. Using Google Trends, Milwaukee came up with the most search interest in the 2017 NBA Playoffs. History says a sixth seed doesn’t have much of a shot at winning a championship unless, of course, you have Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler on the hardwood.

(Bucks fans across Wisconsin can expect to pay about $136/night for their hotel for Games 3 and 4.)

Here are the top 10 fan bases most excited about the 2017 NBA Playoffs.

Team
Milwaukee Bucks
Cleveland Cavaliers
Golden State Warriors
San Antonio Spurs
Oklahoma City Thunder
Portland Trailblazers
Indiana Pacers
Utah Jazz
Houston Rockets
Memphis Grizzlies
Search Period: April 6 – 13, 2017

When we looked into fan bases searching for the 2017 NBA Finals, Milwaukee was dropped like a rookie trying to block a driving LeBron. Cleveland won that search, meaning Cavs fans must be confident in Coach Lue’s strategy of prioritizing rest over the top spot in the East.

Cleveland’s then followed, unsurprisingly, by Golden State and San Antonio. If you’re feeling really cocky, then you already know that StubHub has NBA Finals tickets available for those teams starting at $380, $612, and $420 respectively. (Tickets for Game 1 of the first round start at $38, $111, and $25 #priorities.)

Here’s the full breakdown of the top 10 markets already searching for the NBA Finals.

Team/Market
Cleveland Cavaliers
Golden State Warriors
San Antonio Spurs
Columbus, Ohio (Cavs territory)
Honolulu (¯\_(ツ)_/¯)
Oklahoma City Thunder
Las Vegas (Gamblers?)
Sacramento Kings
Hartford, Connecticut (March Madness withdrawal?)
Atlanta Hawks
Search Period: April 6 – 13, 2017

We’ll continue monitoring hotel prices as things get more interesting in May and June. Again, this isn’t March Madness. Cinderella stories are few and far between, so we’re not entirely surprised to see hotel prices within a mile of some of these arenas being rather affordable. Anecdotally we’re seeing about $150/night with some weird exceptions, like Game 2 in Washington D.C. against the Atlanta Hawks — $941. (I get being excited to be back in the playoffs, but holy expletive!)

In fact, Cavs and Pacers fans could travel with a buddy and watch at least the first four games in-person for about $400 total ($159/night on average for Games 1 – 4 within a mile of the respective arenas). That’s still less than what Toronto Maple Leafs fans are paying for a single lower bowl ticket — and they’re at the bottom of the bracket.

Feature image courtesy of Keith Allison CC BY