The NBA is still rattling from the reverberations of the news that LeBron James, two-time NBA champ and four-time league MVP was going home. James, the league’s top player was returning to Cleveland after what was arguably the worst break up in pro sports.
It took four years and four humiliating seasons for Cleveland for the two to finally reunite, but now it appears the past is forgiven. And for good reason. One, James might just pull it off. He just might be the chosen one to bring a Professional Sports Championship to the sports success starved city of Cleveland and the State of Ohio for the first time since the Browns did it in 1964.
The other good reason is simple. The man is a cash cow. A charismatic, controversially polarizing figure that people pay top dollar just to see. Besides the poetry in motion, high flying, gravity defying leaps to the rim, or the oft-times awkward product pushing commercials, LeBron is just good business. It’s the human quality he embodies. The internal struggle and clash of Superman and Super boy. LeBron has to work to achieve success. For a man blessed with the ability of an ancient Greek god, the struggle and strive for greatness and the quest to wrap unfinished business in his hometown is simply, superb theater.
Less than eight hours after James announced he was coming back, ESPN reports the Cavaliers had “all but sold out of season tickets.”
And the NBA knows that. Cleveland will play the most nationally televised games of any NBA team. And every game home and away will be sold out.
In the Cavaliers home opener against the New York Knicks, Cleveland.com reports, “Ticket scalpers were asking $400 to $500 for tickets that would usually cost $20 to $30. Other scalpers just laughed when asked the price to get in The Q tonight.”
Bloomberg says, “No single business will see more growth as a result of James’s arrival than the Cavaliers, who haven’t had a winning record or made the playoffs since his departure in 2010. Immediately after James’s announcement, the franchise became the betting favorite to win its first NBA title, and sold out its season tickets in less than 10 hours. The team probably will see increased ticket revenue, sponsorships, merchandise sales, and when its 10-year television deal expires in 2016, media income.”
According to CNBC, “After posting one of the worst seasons in the NBA last year, the Cavs are now dominating on nearly every sales front… Despite a decision by the team not to hike prices, the secondary market for tickets is soaring. The average price of a home game ticket this season is a whopping $388.” Those figures according to secondary ticket aggregator TiqIQ. They represent a 224 percent jump from the same period last year.
CNBC says it is the most expensive sum for any team in the league, $80 higher than the second-most-expensive team, the New York Knicks.
That’s the LeBron effect.
Check out more about Lebron James’ brand on the next page …