LeBron’s Return to Cleveland Brings Ticket Prices to $758Mason Levinson
Ticket prices for LeBron James’s first game back with the Cleveland Cavaliers are selling for an average of $758, the most for a National Basketball Association regular-season game in at least five years.
Tickets for tomorrow’s game at Quicken Loans Arena against the New York Knicks are going for 14 times the $53 last season’s home opener averaged on the resale market, according to ticket-price aggregator SeatGeek. It’s higher than all but four National Basketball Association games since 2010, and each of those games took place in the finals.
James, a native of Akron, Ohio, played his first seven NBA seasons in Cleveland before joining the Miami Heat in 2010. The team reached the NBA Finals in all four of his seasons there, winning two titles, before James returned to Cleveland this offseason.
His homecoming will generate as much as $215 million annually in new and redistributed money for the team and Cleveland, boosting tourism, taxes, and service industry spending, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.
“Looking at how LeBron’s absence has affected the market in Miami, the average ticket price for the Heat’s opener against Washington on Wednesday is $86, down 72 percent from the 2013 opener against Chicago ($308),” Connor Gregoire, an analyst for New York-based SeatGeek, said in an e-mail.
The only games with a higher resale price than Cleveland’s home opener since SeatGeek began tracking prices in 2010 were Game 4 between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers in 2010 ($1,165); Game 7 between the San Antonio Spurs and Heat in 2013 ($1,014); 2010 Game 3 ($913); and 2014 Game 5 between the Heat and Spurs ($853).
Two All-Star Games, in 2011 and 2013, also drew higher prices.
The Cavaliers, who missed the playoffs with a 33-49 record last season, are favored to win their first NBA title next June, with 5-2 odds from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. The Spurs, who defeated the Heat in the finals last season, are second favorites at 3-1, meaning a successful $100 bet on the Spurs to win their sixth title since 1999 would net $300. The Heat have 40-1 odds.
The face value for Cavaliers season tickets typically range from $15 to $185, excluding courtside seats, according to Gregoire.