This story was updated on June 28, 2010, at 10:55 a.m. EDT to reflect the correct percentage increase in ticket prices when the Los Angeles Lakers play on the road.
On July 1, LeBron James becomes a free agent and the quest to obtain the NBA’s most sought after player officially commences. While the question as to where James will end up for the 2010-11 NBA season and beyond will be one of the hottest topics in the sporting world, the final answer will also have repercussions throughout the ticketing world due to the so-called “LeBron Effect.”
The LeBron Effect, according to ticket search engine FanSnap, refers to the ticket price percentage bumps the company noticed for away games in which James and his team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, played. On average, according to FanSnap’s Christian Anderson, the LeBron Effect accounted for a ticket price spike of 180 percent.
“LeBron is the biggest franchise player in the league,” Anderson told TicketNews. Following James, the next highest spike is 130 percent when NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers and star Kobe Bryant are playing on the road. After Bryant, Anderson says there is a steep drop-off in ticket price spikes.
James’ effect on ticket sales has been felt these past seven seasons in Cleveland, where ticket prices have averaged $130 per ticket. Despite being only the 18th largest NBA market, Cleveland’s ticket prices are second only to the Lakers’ average price of $243. With James clearly in the sights of several larger market teams (most notably the New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls), the LeBron Effect could become even more prevalent for home games in addition to away games.
One of the more intriguing aspects of the LeBron Effect appears to be the unbelievable ticket pricing jumps that occurred in Chicago when James played against the Bulls this past season. Shattering the average ticket price jump of 180 percent, tickets to the Chicago games jumped a staggering 311 percent in price when James was in the line-up. With Chicago considered one of the front-runners should James decide to leave Cleveland, the marriage of a large market and basketball’s biggest ticket draw could combine for huge ticket resale profits.
After Chicago, the next largest bump seen in one of James’ top potential stops is the New Jersey Nets, with a ticket price increase of 245 percent. With its location merely across the Hudson River from New York City, the resale profits would again be strong if James ended up with the Nets. With so much potential profit at stake, the future affiliation for LeBron James should not only be watched closely by the sporting world, but by the ticketing world as well.