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Ticket demand high for the NBA Finals — and so are the prices

Despite the frenzy of Heat vs. Spurs, tickets to Games 1 and 2 didn’t dry up in a matter of minutes. The least expensive seats to see the NBA Finals were still available on Tuesday, hours after going on sale.

But if standing room only and nosebleed seats aren’t your thing, be prepared to shell out the big bucks.

Prices for precious floor seats are going through the roof.

The explanation: Ticket demand from international buyers is high due to interest in Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, two top foreign-born players for the Spurs, according to a Miami ticket broker.

"Usually the Spurs are a bad draw for us," said ticket broker Michael Lipman, whose White Glove International handles requests from high-end clients — everyone from Arab sheikhs to Justin Bieber. "But I’m getting slaughtered from professional athletes — people with relationships with those guys — from around the world. I just sold some courtsides for $17,500."

As in per ticket.

Ginobili hails from Argentina. Parker was born and raised in Europe.

Not that folks in South Florida aren’t buzzing about LeBron James and Co. There’s still plenty of clamor locally for the Heat even though this is the third straight year they’re playing in the Finals.

As such, even the cheap seats aren’t cheap.

When the Heat put tickets on sale to the general public at 2 p.m. Tuesday, prices ranged from $155 for standing room only up to $890 for those in the lower section.

Game 2 on Sunday is proving to be a tougher — and pricier — ticket than Game 1 on Thursday.

"It’s probably going to be about a $200 to $250 ticket for upper level on Thursday," Lipman predicted. "And Sunday, watch out. They could go up to $400 and $500."

Even if you’re not going to the games at AmericanAirlines Arena, there are other ways to catch the action and share in the enthusiasm with other, like-minded fans, without spending a fortune. Sports bars are typically the surest bet for that.

Places like Bru’s Room in Pembroke Pines are turning into Heat hangouts.

"The whole series with the Pacers was pretty busy," said Diego Aleman, who is general manager at the sports bar and restaurant. "This will be busier."

Aleman said when the Heat faced the Indiana Pacers in the deciding Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Monday, the place was packed by 5:30 p.m., three hours before tipoff.

For those pursuing tickets, though, there are plenty of options. Secondary sellers are listing seats online, though at inflated prices higher than face value. One company, GatorLocator, has created an iPhone app that allows fans to purchase tickets, as well.

If all else fails, there are always scalpers.

And if quiet and creature comfort are more important than basketball bedlam, there’s always your living room couch.

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