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Where to Sit for a Basketball Game - A Comprehensive Guide

Published Oct 16, 2018

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When attending sporting events everyone wants to make sure that they have the best seat in the house, but what does that mean exactly? Is it better to be as close to the field or court as possible? What are some of the advantages or disadvantages of sitting a little higher up.

All sporting venues are not created equal, but here at RateYourSeats.com we try our best to give you a comprehensive guide as to where to sit for different sporting events. For a basketball game there definitely are better places to sit than others, but it all depends on what you’re looking for.

Aren’t all basketball arenas the same?

The easy answer is yes, all basketball arenas have different levels of tiered seating and you will always find a basketball court with two hoops on either end in the middle of the arena. But, each basketball arena has something that differentiates it from another arena. For example, the newest NBA arena, Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, exclusively host basketball games for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Marquette Golden Eagles, as far as live sporting events go. However, the Fiserv Forum also hosts concerts from various artists.

Fiserv Forum
An overview of the brand new Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.

When you compare the Fiserv Forum to another basketball arena, such as the United Center in Chicago, you will begin to see some major differences. The biggest difference is that in addition to hosting Chicago Bulls home games, the United Center also hosts the NHL Chicago Blackhawks home games. There are quite a few NBA arenas that also double as hockey arenas and it is important to understand the differences.

In NBA arenas that also host NHL games you might not be able to get as close to the action–unless you are seated courtside–as you would in arenas that only host basketball games. This is because the seats in the lower bowl of an NBA/NHL arena are not as close to the floor, making it easier to remove or add seats if needed for a hockey game. Basketball only arenas don’t have these issues and can typically get you closer to the action in the lower bowl than an NBA/NHL venue.

So where is the best place to sit for a basketball game?

This is where it gets interesting, because in order to answer this question you need to ask yourself what is important to you and what are you looking for? For some people it is important to be as close to the court as possible, while others might be more interested in amenities. Then you have people who might not necessarily care where they sit, as long as they have a good view. Here at RateYourSeats.com we will break down the pros and cons of different places to sit at a basketball game, and let you decide where you think the best place to sit is.

Best Seats for Being Closest to the Action: Courtside Center Court

Best for: Interacting with the players, Hearing teams talk trash and discuss strategy, Being as close to the action as possible.

No other professional sport lets you get as close to the action as basketball does. If you can afford a courtside seat than it is absolutely worth it because you could be just a few feet away from your favorite player. Sitting courtside is a great experience because not only are you sitting next to the players’ benches, but you are literally on the court level with the players watching the action unfold. Furthermore, during timeouts you will be able to hear coaches and players discuss strategy, and you just can’t get that with any other professional sport. Also, at most NBA arenas there will be some sort of special amenities offered with sitting courtside, which could include: complimentary food and beverage, in-seat wait service, and club access, to name a few.

Courtside Seats at Fiserv Forum
Sitting courtside gets you extremely close to the action, and basketball is the only sport that really gives you this kind of proximity to the players.

Few seats in an NBA arena can rival sitting courtside at center court, which is why sitting courtside is considered a once in a lifetime experience.

Best Seats for Bringing the Kids: Lower Level Behind the Baskets

Best for: Kids, Great atmosphere, Close to the action

When thinking about bringing the kids to a basketball game you want to make sure that they are entertained the entire time, because they might not always be engaged in the game. Believe it or not, the lower level seats behind the baskets are a great place to bring the kids. I have to confess that the view is not the best, but you are still close to the action and there are a lot of positives for bringing the kids to this section.

Sitting behind the basket can be good for the kids because there is always the chance that the players’ momentum could take them beyond the basket and the kids can see them up close and personal. Furthermore, in most NBA arenas these seats are right by the players’ tunnels and before and after games kids can reach out to the players in the hopes of getting a high-five or autograph.

Players' Tunnel at the United Center
Sitting behind the basket gives you the chance to see players as they come in and out of the tunnel, and it is a great place to try and get an autograph.

Another fun thing that most NBA arenas do is provide fans in these seats with inflatable noisemakers to distract opposing players at the free throw line. What could be more fun to a kid than screaming their head off and waving a giant noisemaker? Kids love it and it helps keep them engaged and feel like they are part of the game.

One last reason why these seats are great for kids is because the home team’s mascot often likes to hang out in these sections. For example, Chicago Bulls’ mascot, Benny the Bull, can often be seen hanging out in the seats behind the baskets interacting with kids and doing his famous popcorn spill.

Behind the Basket seats at the United Center
Sitting behind the basket is not the best place to actually watch a basketball game, but it is an ideal place to sit if you want to bring the kids.

These seats might not have the greatest view and could be a little pricey, but you can see why they are the best seats to bring the kids to.

Best Budget Seats in the Lower Level: Lower Level Corner

Best for: Budget seating in the lower level

If you happen to be on tight budget but still want to see an NBA game in the lower level there is no better option than the corner seats.

The corner seats tend to be the most affordable seats in the lower level because of the perception that they are not desirable seats. I’m here to tell you, that that could not be more wrong. The corner seats are between the sideline and the behind the basket and the view is actually better than behind the basket seats. The corner seats allow you to get a pretty good angle of all the action without having to adjust your head at all, and since you are not behind the basket you will still be able to clearly see if a basket is made or not.

Lower Level Corner seats at Fiserv Forum
Corner sections at NBA arenas are vastly underrated, they are more affordable than Sideline seats and you still get a great view of the action.

The corner seats are very underrated. They are typically the most affordable seats in the lower level and the view is a lot better than most people might think.

Best Lower Level Seats that are not Courtside: Lower Level Sideline

Best for: Great Sightlines, Impressing a guest in Lower Level seats

The lower level sideline seats are the best seats on the lower tier of basketball arenas that are not courtside seats. As we mentioned before, courtside seats are probably the most expensive seats at a basketball game, but the sideline seats are great options that are a lot more affordable than courtside seats.

The best seats for any section at any basketball arena will be center court because that will give you the best vantage point for watching all the action without having to turn your head too much. With that in mind, you will want to get seats as close to the center of the court as possible.

Something else to consider while sitting in the lower level sideline seats is which row to sit in. Some might think that the first row is best place to sit in the lower level sideline seats, but there are some things to consider. Despite being in the first row you might have to deal with people walking in front of you, as most NBA arenas have an aisle between the first row of the lower level sections and the courtside/bench sections. Furthermore, your view could also be hindered by being almost level with the floor, and having the aforementioned courtside and bench sections in front of you–possibly obstructing your view.

Center Court Sideline seats at Fiserv Forum
This is in the 16th row of section 106 at Fiserv Forum, and you can clearly see the benefit of sitting a few rows up as this seat is the perfect view to see the entire court and never miss any of the action.

For the reasons stated above you might want to consider a few rows up, perhaps in the middle rows of the lower level sideline sections. If you recall, some NBA arenas also host hockey teams and sitting up in the higher rows is a benefit at hockey games because you will be able to see over the glass. The idea is similar for basketball games, you want to sit a little higher up so you can see above the courtside/bench seats, and get excellent sightlines for the action.

I would argue that you are better off sitting in a few rows higher up than sitting in the first row because you will have arguably the best view you can get at a basketball game. However, I will say that at some NBA arenas the lower rows in these sections could include some amenities such as in-seat wait service and club access. It really depends on if you value a better view and price over potential amenities.

Best Upper Level Seats at a Basketball Game: Upper Level Sideline

Best for: Budgets, Watching the action

Just because you are sitting up in the nosebleeds doesn’t mean that you can’t find a good seat. Keeping with the theme here, the best seats in the upper level are going to be found in the sideline sections, specifically close to center court. The Upper Level Sideline seats are going to be the most expensive in the upper level, but much more affordable than anything in the lower level.

Upper Level Sideline seats at AT&T Center
If you are sitting in the Upper Level at and NBA arena try to get a seat at center court. As you can see the view is great despite being so high up.

For fans on a budget that want great sightlines you can’t go wrong with getting some seats in the sideline in the upper level.

Best Budget Seats at a Basketball Game: Upper Level Corner

Best for: Budgets, Going with a Large Group

The most affordable seats at a basketball game are going to be found in the Upper Level Corner sections at most NBA arenas. The corner sections in the Upper Level will still give you a great angle to see all the action, and will be much better than sitting behind the basket in the upper levels.

Upper Level Corner seats at AT&T Center
The Upper Level Corner seats might be even better than Lower Level Corner seats, because the elevated seating provides excellent views and allows you to take in all the action.

Since these seats are the most affordable seats for an NBA game they are also great for watching a game with a large group of people. Tickets are almost always available in this seating area, so you can purchase plenty of tickets without breaking the bank.

If you are on a very tight budget the Upper Level Corner seats are your best bet and offer decent sightlines despite being so high up.

Best Overall Seats at a Basketball Game: Club Level

Best for: Impressing a guest, Upscale amenities, Private seating, Excellent sightlines

The best overall seats at a basketball game would have to be at the Club Level. Most NBA arenas offer some sort of premier seating and these are arguably the best seats in the house. While you will not be as close to the action as other sections in the arena, it is hard to find an experience that rivals sitting in the upscale sections.

Panoramic Club at Fiserv Forum
Club Level seats are the way to go while at an NBA game. You will not be disappointed with the comfortable seats and superior amenities.

Oftentimes these sections will have their own private suites with complimentary food and drinks, a private lounge area, and a private seated section that has unobstructed views and excellent sightlines. Obviously, you will want to get a suite closest to the center court, but any location at the Club Level will be the best seat in the house.

If you are able to, you should definitely sit at one of these seating areas at an NBA game because it is one of the best experiences in all of sports.

So, there you have it, a complete comprehensive guide about where-to-sit-for-a-basketball-game. Hopefully you will be equipped with a vast amount of knowledge the next time you are looking to purchase tickets to and NBA game. There are so many places to sit to watch a basketball game, but as you can see, some seats are better than others. Don’t agree with the recommendation or looking for advice at a specific arena? Tell us in the comments below!

See Also: 

Where to Sit for a Hockey Game

Where to Sit for a Football Game

Where to Sit for a Baseball Game

Where to Sit for an Indoor Concert

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