With NBA (National Basketball Association) game tickets now averaging about $60 a ticket for a half-way decent seat, it’s no wonder a lot of families have given up on professional basketball games as a fun family outing. Think about it, one could easily drop a couple hundred bucks for a family of four to attend an NBA game. Well, lets say you compromise and sit in the nosebleed section, even then it would be hard to get by with spending less than $150 considering parking fees and the high cost of refreshments, and you know you can’t leave there without buying little Johnny a souvenir. How many families do you know can afford to drop a couple of hundred bucks on a game?
Well, have you ever heard of the CBA (Continental Basketball Association)? If you haven’t don’t feel bad because most people haven’t. In actuality, the CBA has been around longer than the NBA. It started in 1946 and is the oldest basketball association in the world. For you historians, it was originally known as the Eastern League or Eastern Basketball Association, but in the late 70’s was renamed as the CBA. Unfortunately, the CBA is a hidden gem. Some CBA players have become NBA players but most of the good players end up playing overseas in the leagues in South America or Europe. The games can be very exciting and lots of fun because these guys are good! It’s a higher level than college (known as semi-professional or minor league basketball), but not quite at the level of the NBA.
Now let’s do a comparison. Again NBA tickets range from $10 (truly the nosebleed section, I’m sure the players look like ants from this venue) to $700+ for the best seats. CBA tickets range from $5 (not really nosebleed because they play in smaller stadiums) to $50 a ticket for the floor seats. Think about this, you can get season tickets to CBA games for less than $300. NBA season tickets average a couple thousand dollars.
CBA teams are usually in smaller to mid-size cities – for example the Rockford Lightning (team in Rockford, IL with a population of 150,000), the Michigan Mayhem (in my hometown of Muskegon, MI, we are a small town with a population of about 50,000), Gary Steelheads (in Indiana, somewhat of a suburb of Chicago) and Yakima Sun Kings (in Central Washington with a population of 70,000+). Unfortunately, they are not nearly as financially stable as NBA teams. Rumor has it that both the Rockford Lightning and the Michigan Mayhem have thrown in the towel and will not be back next year. I really hope this is not true as my husband and I have just been thrilled with the Mayhem being a part of our town. There is a new team from California being added next year and three more teams in the next couple of seasons. The biggest obstacle I see for the CBA is keeping teams alive and helping younger teams such as the Mayhem to get through the early years.
Nevertheless, if you live anywhere near these teams, I hope you’ll give the CBA a chance. I know that you will not be disappointed. By the way, just as with the NBA, CBA teams have dancers and half-time entertainment, so you won’t miss out on that fun.