Richard Mateer is a die-hard basketball fan. The Boca Raton, Fla., lawyer loves the game so much that when the National Basketball Association awarded a franchise to the Miami Heat in 1988, he jumped at the chance to purchase six front-row courtside seats for all regular season home games. The price: $45 per seat, or $270 per game.

The 1988 NBA franchise award was conditional in that the team had to secure more than 10,000 season ticket holders. To ensure that, Mateer also was required to buy another $3,000 worth of season tickets each year for seats located in the upper section of the old Miami Arena.