SBJ/January 16-22, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Thunder, others cited for top NBA tix sales

The NBA awarded 12 teams for having full-season-ticket sales of at least 10,000 at their annual marketing meetings held Jan. 9-10 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The dozen teams hitting the league sales benchmark is up from 10 teams last season. In addition, the league recognized seven teams for having season-ticket renewal rates of more than 90 percent.

League officials would not disclose the specific rank in sales, but teams this year reaching 10,000 in full-season-ticket sales are the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, New York Knicks, New Orleans Hornets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic and Portland Trail Blazers.

NBA Ticket Sales
Teams with 10,000 in
full-season-ticket sales


Boston Celtics

Chicago Bulls

Dallas Mavericks

Golden State Warriors

Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Clippers

Miami Heat

New York Knicks

New Orleans Hornets

Oklahoma City Thunder

Orlando Magic

Portland Trail Blazers

Source: SportsBusiness Journal research

New to the list are the Warriors, Clippers and Hornets. The Hornets benefited from a marketing push to reach 10,000 season-ticket sales as the NBA-owned team positions itself to be sold, while the Clippers marketed behind Blake Griffin and the team’s recent acquisition of Chris Paul. The Warriors’ business is surging under the efforts of a new ownership group led by Joe Lacob, which spent the past year overhauling the franchise.

Among the NBA leaders in full-season-ticket sales are the Thunder, with 14,000 full-season tickets sold, 1,000 more than last season.

“We have had a 92 percent season-ticket renewal rate running in Oklahoma City and we have maintained that base,” said Brian Byrnes, senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Thunder. “Clearly, we have had the opportunity to grow on the success of our team over the past two years and we have been strategic in converting single-game buyers into season-ticket buyers.”

The seven teams recognized for having season-ticket renewal rates of more than 90 percent are the Bulls, Heat, Knicks, Magic, Thunder, Mavericks and Blazers. The league last year also had seven teams with season-ticket renewal rates of more than 90 percent.

The leaguewide season-ticket renewal average is now between 80 percent and 85 percent, the same as last season to date despite the five-month lockout that hindered teams in their offseason marketing efforts.

“It was definitely different selling this year than in the past because of the uncertainty of the start of the season,” said Alex Martins, CEO of the Magic. “But in Orlando, there has been no residual effect from the lockout and from the late start.”

The gathering also looked at Web traffic, and the top three teams recognized for having the top traffic and page views on their team websites are the Heat, Lakers and Magic. The Magic is new to the list this year.

More than 250 league and team executives from all NBA teams attended the meeting, along with a separate track held for NBA team presidents. Commissioner David Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver also addressed the executives at the meeting.

“The agenda has different tracks including sales, ticketing, digital and sponsorships,” said Chris Granger, executive vice president of the NBA’s team marketing and business operations division.

Teams also discussed season-ticket renewal strategies for next year. Many teams will begin rolling out season-ticket renewal packages for next season in February, about the same time as last season. No decisions have yet been made on whether teams will raise prices for next season.

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