Speculation among NBA fans has reached a fever pitch as free agent LeBron James decides whether to re-sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers or continue his stellar career with a new team. In his seven NBA seasons, LeBron James – the 25 year old all-world small forward for the Cavs – has already been named NBA Rookie of the Year, a six-time NBA All-Star, and the NBA’s Most Valuable Player of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.
A FanSnap analysis of 2010 NBA ticket data from the open market where tickets are bought and sold suggests more than a rooting interest is at stake. FanSnap is the most comprehensive ticket search engine in the U.S., displaying ticket data from every major ticket marketplace and every major ticket broker who sells direct online. Of the 60+ most trusted ticket sites online that FanSnap searches, 45 sites made a market in NBA tickets this past season.
LEBRON IS THE BIGGEST FRANCHISE PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE, LET ALONE THE FREE AGENT MARKET
When LEBRON comes to town, market prices GO UP an average of 180%
When KOBE BRYANT comes to town, market prices GO UP on average of 130%
When CARMELO ANTHONY comes to town, market prices GO DOWN on average of 5%
When DWYANE WADE comes to town, market prices GO DOWN on average of 24%
One could argue that the cache of the Lakers as such a storied and winning franchise provides an additional boost to fan demand to see Kobe and the Lakers when they come to town — making the LeBron effect even more impressive.
CLEVELAND LOVES LEBRON
Cleveland fans of course supported LeBron and the Cavaliers, who had the best regular season record in the NBA this past season, as ticket market prices for home games averaged $130, second only to the Lakers at $243, despite the fact that Cleveland is the 18th largest media market.
Examining market price averages is one useful way to examine the market trends and help quantify relative fan demand for events. It is important to note, however, that FanSnap regularly finds market prices for comparable tickets varying by 25%, 40%, 60% or more at any given time. Also, all market prices quoted include both the ticket price and the commission charged by the ticket site, so fans can compare tickets from several sites all at once, ‘apples to apples.’
WHEN LEBRON COMES TO TOWN, MARKET PRICES GO UP 50% OR MORE
A comparison of the average ticket prices on the open market, one gauge of fan demand, for the teams most likely to sign LeBron shows that when LeBron played road games against those teams, market prices for those tickets leapt strongly vs. the two games prior and after that game, ranging from a 55% lift in Miami to a 311% bump in Chicago.
|Team||Avg Home Ticket Market Price vs. LeBron James||vs. Teams Just Prior/After LeBron Comes to Town||% Increase||$ Increase|
This trend is consistent across the league for King James visits.
LEBRON GOING TO THE BULLS?
An alternative way to understand the ‘LeBron effect’ is to compare those same ticket market prices for LeBron’s road games against those same opponents’ vs. their respective season average ticket market prices. The same effect holds, as ticket market prices for those games vs. LeBron and the Cavaliers range from an 18% lift in Miami to a 226% bump in Chicago. No matter how you look at it, Bulls fans like LeBron the most.
|Team||Avg Home Ticket Market Price vs. LeBron James||2010 Season Avg. Market Price for Tickets||% Increase||$ Increase|
WHEN LEBRON MISSED A GAME IN CHICAGO, MARKET PRICES DROPPED 79%
It’s clear that when the Cavs travel, ticket demand in the away cities increases, but is there a difference in ticket demand if LeBron is in the lineup? In one late season example, LeBron and the Cavs played in Chicago twice. On 3/19/10, with LeBron in the Cavs lineup, ticket market prices averaged $411. The Cavs played the Bulls in Chicago again on 4/8/10 — this time without LeBron. Ticket market prices for that game averaged $87. LeBron drove ticket market prices nearly 5x!
FanSnap is a free ticket search engine with more than 13 million sports, theater and concert tickets to 75,000 events. FanSnap highlights the Best Value Tickets(sm) at any given moment and displays tickets listings from dozens of ticket sites by the row so fans can easily compare tickets.
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