NBA Arena Camera Policies

When I first started writing this blog post, I intended it to be a rant on the outdated SLR camera policies of venues around the United States, but as I got further along I decided that my post was rather negative so it turned into what will be a series of the major sports venue camera policies. In researching these policies, I have found that they differ from sport to sport. For example, the Pepsi Center has the same policy for NBA and NHL games, but it seems to be much less enforced when the venue is being used for hockey.

Despite this fact, here is the list of all 30 NBA teams policies. Most of this information is straight from the team and/or venue’s website. Other information was found firsthand on Internet forums discussing the topic.

As of the time of this writing, this information is current for the 2015-2016 NBA season.

Atlanta Hawks

Phillips Arena

Still cameras are permitted; however, video cameras and audio recorders are prohibited.

Boston Celtics

TD Garden

Sporting Events: Non-flash, still cameras without a detachable lens, may be used to take pictures of sporting events or events where house lights are illuminated during a performance. Cameras with detachable lens are prohibited from all TD Garden events. Any tripod or other photography equipment may not be used or placed in any area of the building without building issued media credentials.

Charlotte Hornets

Time Warner Cable Arena

Only small personal still camera equipment with a three inch lens or smaller may be brought into Charlotte Hornets Arena. Please note that for certain events cameras may not be allowed into the arena. Video, audio, and professional camera and recording devices are prohibited. Fans may not reproduce any film, digital, video or audio recording for commercial purposes without the express written consent of the Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Sting, Charlotte Hornets Arena and the NBA/WNBA.

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Chicago Bulls

United Center

Sporting Events: Non-flash, still cameras of any type may be used to take pictures of sporting events or events where house lights are illuminated during a performance as long as it does not interfere with other guests view. Any tripod or other photography equipment may not be used or placed in any area of the building without a building issued media credentials.
Video Recorders, Tape Recorders and Digital Cameras with recording capabilities are prohibited any time during an event. The United Center reserves the right to examine and prohibit use of any cameras that its personnel deems unacceptable.

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Cleveland Cavaliers

Quicken Loans Arena

The camera policy is determined by each show, and therefore varies from event to event. Cameras are permitted for Cavaliers games. If allowed, cameras will be inspected at designated turnstiles and must be no more than 6 inches in length and 4 inches wide across the lens. Anything greater than this is considered professional equipment and is not permitted in The Q. Call Event Information at (216) 420-2200 or toll free (800) 332-2287 to find out the camera policy for other events.

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Dallas Mavericks

American Airlines Center

Restrictions of still and video cameras vary by event. The event producers determine this policy and not American Airlines Center. Please check the event detail page under special information for the concert or family show that you are attending.
Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars allow cameras without flash at games. Professional cameras (cameras that have a lense 3 or 6 inches in length) are not allowed in American Airlines Center unless accompanied by proper media credentials for Dallas Mavericks and all concerts.

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Denver Nuggets

Pepsi Center

You are more than welcome to bring in a camera to the Nuggets games, however the NBA does prohibit the use of a video camera at NBA games.
Note: Being as I recently lived in Denver for 5 years and have attended many games at the Pepsi Center, I have never been questioned or searched entering the arena for a Nuggets game via the Blue Sky Grill entrance on the south side of the Pepsi Center. Once inside the restaurant, enter the court on the east side of the restaurant.

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Detroit Pistons

The Palace of Auburn Hills

Non-Professional Cameras are allowed for Pistons games.

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Houston Rockets

Toyota Center

Professional cameras are prohibited at all events in Toyota Center unless accompanied by an appropriate media credential. Cameras containing lenses ( not to exceed 4 inches in length ) with no flashes may be allowed for some events. Video cameras and audio recorders are prohibited in Toyota Center unless specifically approved. Please check in advance by calling 713-758-7200.

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Golden State Warriors

ORACLE Arena

Cameras with lenses less than 3 inches in length are permitted, but the use of a flash is not allowed. All types of video and audio equipment are not permitted in ORACLE Arena.

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Indiana Pacers

Conseco Fieldhouse

NBA policy strictly prohibits the use of still photos or video footage for commercial purposes without the express written approval of the NBA head office.
Non-professional still cameras (digital or film) are allowed at Pacers and Fever basketball games in Conseco Fieldhouse. Non-professional lenses are generally defined as lenses less than 6 – 8” in length, and black in color. Professional cameras (generally defined as a camera with a detachable lenses longer than 6 – 8”, or large lenses that are dark grey in color) are PROHIBITED.
Video cameras, and taking of video with other devices, are prohibited. We reserve the right to disallow cameras that, in the opinion of management will be used to produce professionally marketed images.
Tripods and other equipment that could pose a tripping hazard are not permitted.
Standing or positioning oneself in order to take pictures in a manner that obstructs the view or enjoyment of the event by others is not permitted.

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Los Angeles Clippers

Staples Center

No commercial or flash photography of any kind is permitted. Camcorders or any other audio/visual equipment are prohibited unless authorized by team/promoter or performer.

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Los Angeles Lakers

Staples Center

No commercial or flash photography of any kind is permitted. Camcorders or any other audio/visual equipment are prohibited unless authorized by team/promoter or performer.

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Memphis Grizzlies

FedEx Forum

Only small personal still camera equipment with a 3 inch lens or smaller may be brought into FedExForum. Please note that for certain events cameras may not be allowed into the facility. Video, audio and professional camera and recording devices are prohibited. Fans may not reproduce any film, digital, video or audio recordings of events for commercial purposes without the express written consent of the Memphis Grizzlies, FedExForum and the NBA.

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Miami Heat

American Airlines Arena

Video cameras are not allowed in the arena. The use of “non-professional” still cameras without flash is permitted during Miami HEAT Basketball games.
Note: I have read of a few personal stories of security letting in Nikon D300s and similar body cameras

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Milwaukee Bucks

Bradley Center

Still cameras are permitted in the Center for Milwaukee Bucks, Milwaukee Admirals and Marquette Golden Eagles games. In no instance may photography interfere with access ways, seat aisles, or other guests’ enjoyment of the event. These policies will vary by league rules and events. Video cameras are not allowed in the arena. Please call a few days in advance of the event to check the policy for special events.

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Minnesota Timberwolves

Target Center

The Minnesota Timberwolves and Target Center will allow the use of cameras with a lens no longer than three inches. If the camera has a zoom lens, the lens may not be longer than three inches when extended. Flash photography is prohibited. Disposable cameras are recommended. Film and disposable camera vending machines are located in the lower concourse behind section 136.
Prior to the beginning of the game, fans are welcome to take photos inside the arena. We ask you to be aware of your surroundings and extend courtesy to your fellow fans and not obstruct the view of the fans in their seats. Once the game begins, fans may take photos from their seats. Once again, we ask you to be aware of your surroundings and not obstruct the view of the court for other fans.

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New Jersey Nets

IZOD Center

Still cameras (non-professional) that do not obstruct views of neighboring guests. (Note that certain events do not allow cameras. Check the specific event information page for more info.)

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New Orleans Pelicans

New Orleans Arena

Video cameras, digital cameras, and audio or video recorders of any kind are not permitted in the New Orleans Arena unless approved in advance by show or building management.
Note: I found elsewhere that policies differ per game and to check the Pelicans calendar for individual game information.

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New York Knicks

Madison Square Garden

Video cameras, monopods, tripods, audio recording devices and cameras with telephoto or zoom lenses are not permitted inside Madison Square Garden at any time. This policy will be strictly enforced. You may bring in a disposable or 35mm camera (with no zoom or telephoto lens), however, for some events, cameras of any type and/or flash photography may be prohibited.

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Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma Ford Center

For most events, the use of cameras is restricted. FordCenter reserves the right to examine and prohibit the use of any camera that conflicts with the policy set by the event. Cameras with professional/detachable lenses are prohibited during all events. This includes lenses greater than 3.5 inches in length, telephoto or zoom lenses of any kind and interchangeable lenses of any kind. Monopods or tripods and flash equipment are also prohibited. And neither audio, nor video recording are permitted unless approved by the artist or event.

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Orlando Magic

Amway Center

Personal cameras are permitted in the arena as long as they do not have oversized professional zoom lenses that extend out beyond 6 inches in length. Small, personal hand held video cameras are permitted in the arena and can videotape pre-game, game, half time, and post-game activities. All professional cameras and video equipment (members of the media or free-lance journalists) must be credentialed through the Orlando Magic Communications Department by calling 407.916.2623.

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Philadelphia 76ers

Wachovia Center

Video & audio recording equipment is not permitted in the Wachovia Center.
Note: Not much information listen on the Wachovia Center or 76ers website regarding photography cameras, but I read a few testimonials that said all patrons with SLR cameras were sent back to the parking lot to leave their cameras.

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Phoenix Suns

US Airways Center

The Suns list their policy differently for each home game. All policies seem to default to 35MM, Instamatic & Disposable Cameras OK / No Video or Audio.

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Portland Trail Blazers

Rose Garden

The Rose Quarter camera policy may change on an event by event basis, please check the event details page for each event’s specific camera policy. The general Rose Quarter Camera Policy is: Non-professional cameras (those without detachable lenses) are permitted in the arena for Rose Quarter concerts, as long as no flash is used. Professional photography & audio recording is prohibited. Video cameras are usually prohibited, unless prearranged before the event. If you have a digital camera, the same restrictions apply. If your digital camera has any video recording capabilities and there is a no video recording policy at the event, your camera will not be permitted in the building. The same policy applies to digital video cameras that can take still photos. In no instance may photography interfere with access ways, seats, aisles or other guests’ enjoyment of the event. Tripods are strictly prohibited. Please check the event calendar on our website in advance to check each events policy, or check the policy signs when entering the building.
Still cameras (film or digital) are allowed inside the arena during the games. Camera flashes may not be used at any time during games. Video cameras are only permitted for the media or by special arrangements for those who have a family member performing at the game. You may bring a camera bag if it is not too large. Typically 45 linear inches (L+W+H) is the guideline. (Thanks to John Poitras, for this updated information.)

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Sacramento Kings

Arco Arena

Professional camera equipment and/or audio/video recorders may not be brought into the Arena without the express written consent of the Sacramento Kings.

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San Antonio Spurs

AT&T Center

All camera policies are event specific, so please call 210-444-5000 to verify prior to coming to the event. No professional camera/video equipment may be brought in for any AT&T Center event including “detachable” lenses, lenses that are longer than 3 inches or flashes. Patrons have the option to take any cameras that are not allowed in back to their car or they can check it in at Guest Services and pick it back up at the end of the event. Please note for “most” events the regular 35mm or digital/disposable cameras are allowed in as long as the lens is not detachable. This is not the case for “all” events.

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Toronto Raptors

Air Canada Centre

Camera flashes may not be used at any time during games. Video cameras are permitted, however NBA policy strictly prohibits the use of still photos or video footage for commercial purposes without the express written approval of the NBA head office.

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Washington Wizards

Verizon Center

Handheld cameras are allowed for basketball and hockey games.

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Utah Jazz

Energy Solutions Arena

The Jazz update their calendar with the arena camera policy on a game-by-game basis.

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Cover photo © copyright Paolo Rosa.

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