As expected, the Miami Heat are boosting ticket sales for the home crowd, a trend which shows no signs of stopping.
Lena Siegendorf, VP of Miami-area Premium Seats USA, has seen sales only go up so far this season: “I think as far as tickets here locally, we haven’t seen a huge decline [in Heat ticket sales]. There still is a healthy premium.”
But the Heat are not only improving the home economy. It seems that almost anywhere the team plays this season, prices spike dramatically. According to data from ticket price forecaster SeatGeek, average sales for the Heat’s opposing teams drop markedly when games against the Heat are removed from the equation. A case in point: the Boston Celtics’ average ticket price of $163.92 falls to $95.28 without the benefit of games against the Heat. That adds up to a 72 percent increase in sales, the highest in the league when it comes to matchups with the Heat.
The Celtics are in good company. Also seeing big increases in average ticket sales due to games against the Heat are LeBron James’ former team the Cleveland Cavaliers (a 71 percent increase); the Heat’s opening day opponent the Houston Rockets (65 percent); and the Philadelphia 76ers (54 percent). A full eight of the League’s 30 teams experience a 50 percent or better drop in average ticket prices when games against the Heat are excluded.
Siegendorf’s figures show that this phenomenon seems to be particularly strong in the larger NBA markets around the country, with the Heat’s first games of the season against an opponent showing very strong demand.
SeatGeek’s “hottest” games list seems to bear this out, with five of the top sellers a “first” game between Miami and a host team: the Celtics on October 26, the Cavs on December 2, New York Knicks on December 17, Phoenix Suns on December 23 and the LA Lakers on Christmas Day. The only exception is Miami’s second visit to the Knicks on January 27, also currently a top ten seller.
In fact, the Heat’s away game sales show them to be a hotter commodity on the road than off. According to SeatGeek, the team’s average away game ticket price this season is $211.13, versus $199.33 at home. The next highest prices for away games belong to the Lakers, which run a distant second at $153.84.
This early in the season, however, Russ D’Souza, co-founder of SeatGeek, adds this disclaimer: “The secondary market ticket prices reflect the current demand which can change over time. We imagine that ticket prices will move as the season gets closer, and advise that fans check SeatGeek to know the best time to buy tickets.”
The Heat’s power to boost ticket sales almost wherever they go is considerable, but it seems unlikely to be the only force driving ticket sales this year. Season ticket sales are up all over the League, with more new season ticket purchases so far this season than the entire 2009-2010 season.
This year, seventy percent (21) of teams have sold 1,000 new season tickets or more, compared with just 37 percent (11) last season. This new total includes teams in smaller markets like the Sacramento Kings, who’ve actually experienced very little “Heat effect” this season, having their sales boosted only by nine percent by their matchups with the LeBron and his team.