By Ben Klayman
DETROIT (Reuters) - Most of the National Basketball Association's 30 teams either kept their average ticket prices unchanged or reduced them this year as the weak U.S. economy continued to affect North American professional sports leagues.
The average ticket price went down 2.5 percent to $48.08, a year after it fell 2.8 percent to mark the first decline in eight years, according to Team Marketing Report, which compiles such data for all the major North American sports leagues.
North American sports leagues have been pressured over the last few years as the recession and slow recovery led companies and fans to curtail spending on tickets and concessions.
While average prices for the National Hockey League, National Football League and Major League Baseball all rose this year, 18 baseball teams, 15 football teams and 11 hockey teams cut ticket prices or kept them unchanged, according to TMR.
In the NBA, 19 teams cut prices, while six kept them flat. Only five teams increased prices on average, led by the Orlando Magic, up 6.7 percent to $43, TMR said. The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers' average price rose 2.1 percent to a league-leading $99.25.
The New York Knicks had the second-highest average price at $88.66, unchanged from last year, but its Fan Cost Index (FCI) -- the cost of taking a family of four to a game -- led the league at $505.64, TMR said.
The overall average NBA FCI -- which includes the cost of four tickets, two beers, four soft drinks, 4 hot dogs, parking, two game programs and two caps -- rose 1 percent to $289.51, TMR said.
The NBA teams with the biggest declines in average ticket prices were the Detroit Pistons (down 10 percent to $42.76), Sacramento Kings (down 9.9 percent to $51.80), Charlotte Bobcats (down 9.9 percent to $29.96) and the Washington Wizards (down 9.9 percent to $24.52), TMR said.
The NBA team with the least expensive average ticket was the Memphis Grizzlies at $23.18, which was down 3.9 percent from last year, TMR said. Memphis also has the lower FCI at $173.72.
(Reporting by Ben Klayman in Detroit; editing by Gunna Dickson)