For fans of the Los Angeles Lakers, attending a game at the Staples Center is always an event. The Buss family makes sure that the experience is fun and exciting even on nights when the purple and gold are not playing their best.
When you decide to venture away from the couch to catch a game in person, one of the first steps is to deciding where to sit. Surprisingly, there is an art to finding the best seat at Staples Center.
The most important consideration for fans is cost. There are two things to remember in selecting seats to meet your budget. First, the better the team the Lakers are facing the more expensive the seats are likely to be.
The fact is, no matter where you sit, you will pay more to see the Golden State Warriors than you will to see the Orlando Magic.
Thus, when money is a factor, do not be too concerned about seeing the best opponent, as the overall Staples Center experience is the same no matter what and often the games are closer and more exciting when the Lakers are playing a team that is comparable to them record-wise.
For example, the Phoenix Suns are not the biggest draw in the league, but their three games against the Lakers this year have been close and entertaining.
Second, what you spend will depend on where you sit. The closer the seats are to the court, naturally the more expensive they will be. But here is another tip: The seats located on the side of the court behind the teams’ benches are a little less expensive than the identical seats on the other side facing the benches.
If money is not a concern, having a courtside seat is the ultimate fan experience. The players are a few feet away, you get to experience the physicality and speed of the game up close, and you can even hear what the players are saying to one another while on the court.
The downside, of course, is that unless you are wealthy, buying a courtside seat is unrealistic. After all, there are only so many Jack Nicholson’s, Adam Levine’s and Justin Timberlake’s.
It should be noted that courtside seats are only on one side of the floor, as the announcers and both teams sit across the way on the other side.
Behind the seats and benches on the floor is what’s called the lower (first) level at Staples Center. It consists of sections that are numbered in the 100s. Many season-ticket holders sit in the lower level but there are always plenty of tickets left over to buy online.
One caveat, though: Although you are closer to the court, which has obvious advantages, the view is not as good as when you are sitting higher. If you want a slightly better view, stay in the lower level but choose a seat that is in row 15 or higher. Another advantage is that the higher the row, the more likely it is that you will save some money.
Section 119 is situated right behind the Lakers bench, if you want to sit close to the players. Section 102 is directly adjacent to the visitor’s bench.
Another tip, if you want to sit in the lower level, the seats at the ends of the court are also going to be less expensive than if you sit in the middle. The view is great when the action is on your side of the court but not so great when the players are at the other end.
The middle (second) level has two different options in the Premier sections and the 200 Sections. Sections 1-18 are part of the Premier level.
Many fans actually prefer this location to the lower level. For one thing, you are still close enough to the action to feel like you are in the thick of it but high enough to have a good view of the entire court. One perk is that this location comes with in-seat food and beverage service, preferred parking, and a separate VIP entrance which is less crowded.
Another notable advantage of sitting in a Premier section is that you have access to the San Manuel Club. The restaurant/bar features a gourmet buffet which is always first rate (you can also order off the menu if you prefer).
There is a very large bar with several big screen televisions. You do not need a reservation but should arrive at least 45 minutes before the game. You can usually get a table overlooking the court to catch the teams warming up and the pregame festivities while eating.
Stopping at the San Manuel Club before the game is a cherished routine for many Lakers regulars. It is pricey – about $50 per person – but if you are not deterred by the cost it is an experience you will want to try. Of course, there also are a slew of dining options in and around L.A. Live.
At both ends of the court on the second level are the section 200 seats. They are less expensive than the Premier sections and do not come with the amenities.
Attending a game at Staples Center can be costly, but it does not have to be. There are three levels of seats, and while good seats in the lower level generally sell in the range of $300 to $400 per ticket, and good seats in the Premier sections ogo from around $175 to $275 per ticket, if you are willing to sit in the upper (third) level, you can save a lot of money.
This may come as a surprise to many fans, but you can ordinarily get a good seat in the upper level starting at around $60 per ticket.
Sitting in the upper level at Staples Center does provide a view of the entire court but you are sufficiently far away that in many cases identifying the players on the court is often a challenge, especially if you are seated at or near the ends of the arena.
Still, many die-hard Lakers fans sit in the third level, and there are sure to be a lot of loud, passionate fans sitting around you. You still get the full Staples Center experience, and it is a lot of fun catching a game in person, even if it is from a distance.
Finally, Staples Center also offers luxury suites on the second and third levels. Most are owned by corporations and other big businesses. They are small rooms with snacks, a special food service, a television, and two rows that provide seating for 16 people.
Although most companies use the suites for their own employees and clients, some are available to rent for a special event like a birthday party, and it is not as expensive as you might imagine.
A word of warning, however, for the serious Lakers fan: The suites are often used more for socializing than for watching the game, so if you are seriously interested in catching every minute of the action a suite may not be the best option for you.
One thing that is ideal, however, is the special dessert cart they bring around at halftime which is only for people sitting in the suites. It is an amazing assortment of treats unlike anything else you will find in Staples Center (or at most fine restaurants).
In sum, whether you want to spend $50 or $5,000, there is a seat for you at Staples Center to enjoy a Lakers game of your choosing.
When you buy tickets online at one of the many available sites, there is usually a three dimensional seating chart that gives you a good opportunity to select the seat that is right for you.
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