Crain's Cleveland Business (07/20/14) Kleps, Kevin
LeBron James' return to the Cleveland Cavaliers is proving to be a windfall for the team's ticket sales, with tickets resold on Flash Seats expected to be a particularly profitable area. “You're going from a product that was almost unsellable to a team with LeBron James,” says Amazing Tickets owner Mark Klang. A team source says the Cavs' self-imposed cap of approximately 12,000 season tickets had been reached less than eight hours after James announced his reinstatement. That is in sharp contrast to what Klang calls "abysmal" demand for Cavs tickets on the secondary market following James' 2010 decision to leave the team for the Miami Heat. SeatGeek analyst Connor Gregoire says in the wake of that move, the Cavs' secondary-market average fell from the National Basketball Association's third-highest in 2009-2010 to its 10th-lowest in 2010-2011. The average cost of a Cavs ticket on the secondary market declined 40 percent in a single season. The Cavs have divided single-game ticket sales into halves for the last two seasons, but Klang thinks demand is so high with James returning that the Cavs, if they do not opt for halving individual ticket sales, could sell out the entire season right away. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert also controls Flash Seats, which charges a 23 percent fee to buyers for every resold ticket. Gregoire calculates these fees alone could generate $5 million to $6 million.