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Cavs among NBA elite in sales, retention
Published January 18, 2010
The NBA handed out sales awards during its annual marketing meetings held recently in Brooklyn, N.Y., to eight teams having full-season-ticket sales of at least 10,000.
Last year, 11 teams were recognized for hitting the 10,000 full season sales mark, a benchmark sales goal set by the NBA.
The teams this year reaching 10,000 in full-season-ticket sales are the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz.
The Lakers and Jazz have made the list for three consecutive years, a nod not only to their strong on-court performance, but also to the strength of their sales staff.
New to the list this year are the Cavaliers, Knicks and Magic. Dropping off the list are the Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, New Orleans Hornets, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors.
Eight teams were recognized for having sold at least 2,000 new full-season-ticket packages this year, another league sales benchmark. Those teams included the Cavs, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Knicks, Magic and San Antonio Spurs. The Magic sold the most new full-season tickets with 5,017 as the team prepares to move into its new arena next season.
Last year, seven teams sold more than 2,000 new full-season-ticket plans. Those teams were the Celtics, Warriors, Rockets, Hornets, Thunder, Magic and Trail Blazers.
Three teams — the Celtics, Lakers and Cavaliers — were recognized for having at least a 90 percent season-ticket retention rate, while the Bulls, Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, New Jersey Nets and Washington Wizards were recognized for selling at least 3,000 group tickets per game. The Bulls, Pistons and Wizards are repeat winners in the group sales category.
With most teams holding or dropping ticket prices this year to counter the recession, the league is expecting a single-digit drop in the paid gate, according to Chris Granger, NBA senior vice president of team marketing and business operations, who refused to disclose specific gate revenue. Team sponsorship revenue is expected to be flat this year.
“Our teams have been resilient,” Granger said. “We are doing better than expected and we are buoyed by individual game ticket sales while our group ticket revenue is up double digits.”
Through Jan. 13, the NBA is averaging 17,202 fans a game, down 1.2 percent to date from last season.
The marketing meetings took place on Jan. 11-12, with next year’s ticket pricing a key part of the agenda. The league leaves pricing up to the teams, but many use the marketing meeting to help determine their pricing strategy.
“The key thing you will see next year is a greater blend of pricing in the arena, with some sections priced up and some down,” Granger said. “It is all about scaling your building.”
The Chicago Bulls lead the league in attendance with an average of 20,644 fans a game, while the Memphis Grizzlies are last in the NBA with an average of 12,677 fans per game through Jan. 13. The Detroit Pistons have seen the biggest drop at the gate through Jan. 13, with a 16.1 percent decline in average attendance to 18,524 fans a game. The biggest percentage increase through Jan. 13 comes in Minnesota, where the Timberwolves have seen their average climb 8.8 percent to 14,552 fans a game.