Pelicans Ticket Prices Spike With Word Of Zion's Possible Debut
Pelicans F Zion Williamson appears likely to make his debut next Wednesday against the Spurs at the Smoothie King Center, and average ticket prices for that game on secondary market have "risen by 1,000 percent" since the news broke yesterday, according to Jeff Nowak of NOLA.com. TicketIQ data showed that tickets yesterday morning were listed for sale as "low as $9 on SeatGeek," but ticket sales for the game were "paused on the site shortly after the news." By the end of the day, the lowest available tickets "sat at $60 each" (NOLA.com, 1/15). In New Orleans, Rod Walker wrote with Williamson's "long-awaited NBA debut" coming up, fans should "credit the Pelicans for not rushing him back just to drive up the TV ratings." Williamson's debut comes at the "most opportune time, right when things were slowing down on the New Orleans sports scene" (NOLA.com, 1/15).
GAME CHANGER: YAHOO SPORTS' Vincent Goodwill wrote Williamson's absence has "arguably been the biggest" of any NBAer this season, and the league "needs him to step off the sidelines and onto the floor." There is "no denying that Williamson is a big piece of the NBA's present and future." Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said, "The league does need him. Because he's a great personality, a great feel for the game. And he's a different kind of player." Goodwill noted Williamson is a "new face" of Jordan Brand, a "potential magnetic star for the shoe company to relaunch for the next generation." While he is "still a raw talent with plenty of room to grow," Williamson is a "box-office commodity." An Eastern Conference exec said, "As big as he is on the basketball side, with the season tickets they've sold, their marketing, their grassroots marketing, he's bigger on the business side. He changes the perception of the franchise" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 1/15). ESPN’s Mike Golic Jr. noted the NBA was "banking on" Williamson to help boost its ratings this year. He said, "We remember how many Pelicans games were put in primetime slots, were put in those watchable spots, because they anticipated him being there.” ESPN’s Trey Wingo: “Go on out there Zion, we’ve got sagging ratings and people aren’t watching. … Go save the league.” ESPN's Mike Golic: “This is a shot in the arm that NBA ratings need” ("Golic & Wingo,” ESPN Radio, 1/16).