SBD/Issue 31/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NBA Expects Gate Revenue Drop As Season-Ticket Renewals Dip

Stern Says NBA Will Have Decent
Attendance, But Decreased Revenue
The NBA is "bracing for an expected dip in gate revenue as it opens the 2009-10 season with a drop in season-ticket renewals and with all but two of the league's 30 teams holding or cutting ticket prices," according to John Lombardo of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. NBA teams last year had an "overall season-ticket renewal rate" of 80%, but this year's renewal rate "stands to be a few percentage points lower." NBA Commissioner David Stern said the league will be in the "mid-to-high 70[%] range, which is down a bit." Stern: "We will have decent attendance but a decrease in revenue." NBA Senior VP/Team Marketing & Business Operations Chris Granger said sales "during the past six weeks this year are outpacing sales from the same period last year so we are closing much stronger." Granger: "People have been delaying buying right up to the season and I think we still have some juice left in the system." Lombardo notes sales of new full-season tickets are "matching last year's pace." Meanwhile, the Heat and Trail Blazers have "announced variable pricing plans that set ticket prices to the day of the game and the quality of the opponent," and other teams are "expected to follow suit" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/26 issue). Stern said the league's "biggest task is to make sure that our television ratings continue to grow and that our revenue declines in the smallest possible way." Stern: "We think there is a good reason to hope that (the) decline, despite ticket price discounting and cutting, is going to be under" 4% (REUTERS, 10/23).

IMPACT ON TEAMS: In Oklahoma City, Mike Baldwin noted the NBA salary cap was "reduced for the first time in years to" $57.7M, and "early estimates are the cap could decrease again to as low as" $51M next season. Stern: "Our teams are going to have to make adjustments because it will limit what they have to spend for free agents" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 10/25). The AP's Paul Weber noted a survey of the 30 NBA franchises indicated that the "still-scuffling U.S. economy may keep some NBA teams from starting the season with a full, 15-player roster." The survey indicated that "nearly half the league plans to start with 15 players" when final rosters are announced today, but others will "carry the minimum 13 or leave one spot empty." No teams "outright" said that their decision "would be driven by the economy, but the bottom line is clearly an issue." Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban in an e-mail said, "NBA teams are businesses like every other in this country. Times are tough and I expect many if not most teams to carry fewer than 15 players on their rosters." NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter said that the union is "waiting to see whether NBA teams really keep rosters leaner this season or whether it's simply talk." Hunter: "Obviously it's a concern for us as a union because we want to employ our guys" (AP, 10/23). Meanwhile,'s Mark Montieth noted the economy is an "issue for every team, but some face serious problems." Montieth: "More than ever, moves are being made for financial rather than basketball reasons. Cutting payroll has become as much of a goal as improving talent" (, 10/23).

STAYING WARM: Stern Friday said that he "would like to see New Orleans in the rotation" of cities for future All-Star Games. In New Orleans, John Reid noted city officials are "pushing to host the game in 2014," but Stern said that the league "probably will wait on the Hornets getting a lease extension before giving the Crescent City serious consideration." Stern added that NBA owners, licensees and int'l broadcast partners "have a preference for warm-weather cities to host the event." Stern: "We haven't ruled out cold-weather sites; although you can begin to see a pattern emerging: Arizona, Texas, California, possibly Florida, and before that New Orleans. So you can see we seem to be migrating to a warmer-weather rotation" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 10/25).

Return to top
Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug