Photo of Lebron James shooting a jumpshot at Quicken Loans Arena versus the Los Angeles Lakers.

Image Credit: Erik Drost (CC BY 2.0)

Lebron James’ departure from the Cleveland Cavaliers was guaranteed to have an effect on the team’s ticket sales and attendance. It was inevitable. However, many basketball fans didn’t expect his departure to resort to the Cleveland Cavaliers offering upper level tickets for a mere $2. The story made national headlines after TMZ took a snapshot of the ticket listings for an upcoming game vs. the Brooklyn Nets on Flash Seats, a popular digital ticketing system.

According to Flash Seats, an app owned by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, those ticket prices were for the remaining tickets at 90 minutes before tipoff. That means there is a large inventory of tickets that Cleveland area fans just aren’t buying anymore. Ticket prices on secondary ticket market websites like StubHub and Vivid Seats told a similar story and priced the upper level tickets for the Cavaliers-Nets game at less than $10 per ticket. How are ticket prices determined for NBA games by these large ticket retailers? In short, they use algorithms that are able to calculate demand based on the opponent, day of the game, game importance, etc. The Lebron-less Cleveland Cavaliers are currently 0-5 and haven’t been this irrelevant since Lebron’s playing days with the Miami Heat.

However, when Lebron James and the Los Angeles Lakers take on the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena on 11-21-2018, the cheapest upper level ticket is priced at $110. According to another Yahoo article, NBA teams don’t make as much money off of their single-game attendances as one might think. The main component to the NBA’s revenue include corporate suite sales, concession sales, apparel, and television deals. Like the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Miami Heat experienced a dip in attendance and ticket sales when Lebron returned to Cleveland for the second time. The Los Angeles Lakers also experienced some less than stellar days after the retirement of Kobe Bryant. As the saying goes, what goes up – must come down.


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