Draymond Green’s Game 5 suspension set the NBA world ablaze with conspiracy theories and high-priced ticket demands. Golden State held a 3-1 lead before the NBA announced that Green would miss the next game after officials reviewed an on-court scuffle with LeBron James and handed him a flagrant foul, bringing his total postseason count to suspension-level and taking him out of a pivotal Game 5. The scuffling and jawing back and forth probably wasn’t enough to warrant a flagrant and a suspension, but opinions aside, Green’s actions definitely was a guaranteed payday for the NBA.
Two court-side seats for Game 7 sold for $49,500 a piece on online ticket giant StubHub on June 17, a record for the website. According to fortune.com, ad revenues from Game 6 and Game 7 could total $80 million based on estimates from last year. Advertising revenue for six NBA Finals games last season totaled $223.9 million and that number will likely be crushed by this season’s totals. Those totals would’ve likely fallen short had Golden State’s best defender not been suspended for a vital home game. Advertising website adage.com predicted that a Game 7 last season would’ve netted 32 million viewers but Golden State ended the series in six games, winning 4-2.
This year’s Finals was billed all offseason as a rematch between Golden State and Cleveland, and although the individual games haven’t been close, the series has been chock full of drama so far. Never in Finals history have two teams been tied in points heading into Game 7 and rarely have we seen such a vital player suspended in the heat of the series. Conspiracy theories have added up since Green’s suspension. And, while the league will never admit to purposely trying to prolong the series, the fact remain that the NBA stands to profit greatly from a decisive final game on Father’s Day.