With its agreement to sign superstar LeBron James Thursday night, July 8, the Miami Heat, which last season could not sell out home playoff games, suddenly became the center of the basketball universe and nearly tripled the value of its tickets on the secondary market.
During a televised announcement, James said he would join fellow free-agent superstars Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh on the Heat – the latter two announced their plan to play together earlier in the week – and set off a firestorm of ticket sales across the country.
“Yesterday [July 8] fans could buy [Miami] Heat season tickets for $3,238.61 on average,” Christian Anderson, spokesperson for ticket search engine FanSnap, told TicketNews. “Today, Heat season tickets average $8,249.99. That’s a two-and-a-half-times increase over night. Heat season tickets had been relatively flat for the last 10 days.”
On the Miami Heat’s Web site today, the team said it sold out its initial season ticket inventory, but planned to add more soon. Exact sales figures were not released.
“We’re so glad you’re interested in becoming a season ticket holder. We’d like to put you on our waiting list because over the past few days, we’ve sold the bulk of the seats from our available inventory. But in the next day or so, we’re going to release additional season ticket inventory,” the statement read.
“This is a global signing. The biggest demand for tickets have come from hip hop artists and pro football players,” Miami ticket broker Michael Littman, president and CEO of Tickets of America, told the South Florida Business Journal. “They are really lighting up my phone looking for courtside seats. We’re going to rival the LA [Lakers] in courtside star power.”
Joellen Ferrer, spokesperson for secondary ticket marketplace StubHub, told TicketNews that StubHub was seeing “increased activity for Miami Heat tickets” when Wade and Bosh agreed to sign with the team. “Immediately following LeBron’s announcement to follow suit, we saw a dramatic spike in page views, searches, and sales for season tickets. As expected, prices have increased alongside the heightened demand, with prices starting in the $3,500 range. Once schedules are announced, we will be sure to see continued demand.”
Heat tickets had been selling for about $2,000 each prior to James’ announcement. He flirted with signing with New York Knicks and Chicago Bulls, which also saw an increase in ticket sales on the speculation.
Unfortunately, for James’ former team, the Cavs, ticket sales on the secondary market have practically fallen off a cliff, according to Anderson. James, who grew up in Akron, OH, played for the team for seven seasons, and the teams’ owner, Dan Gilbert, who is a founder and principal investor in digital ticketing company Veritix, blasted James’ decision in an angry letter to fans on the team’s Web site.
“We’re now seeing Cavs season tickets averaging $935 or about one-third of what they were with LeBron,” Anderson said.
(The image accompanying this story is from CNNSI.com and Getty Images.)