For the first time since 2001, the Knicks have a waiting list for season tickets … and they have LeBron James to thank.
In the days leading up to “The Decision,” the Knicks sold 4,000 new season ticket subscriptions to over-eager fans anticipating his move to Manhattan. However, when LeBron eschewed Broadway for South Beach, all those newly-minted season ticket holders were left with only two games — not the 41 they were hoping for — featuring LeBron. The result is a secondary market inventory glut unlike any other in recent sports history.
There are currently 356,000 Knicks tickets available for sale this season across different sites like Stubhub, eBay and Ticketsnow. This equates to an average of 6,535 available tickets/game, or 33% of all available seats. This is 40% higher than the Heat’s 23%.
In the ticket market, the highest-demand teams also have highest quantity of tickets available in the secondary market, as the possibility of profits turns likely attendees into would-be sellers. This year, the Knicks, Heat, Celtics, Bulls and Lakers lead the league in available tickets per game. The Celtics and Lakers both got to the Finals last year. The Heat got LeBron and the Bulls are up-and-comers in a great sports town. The Knicks, on the other hand, will be lucky to capture the 8th seed in the East.
Over the last 10 years, fans have been the beneficiaries of the dynamically priced secondary ticket market, pocketing billions in profits for games where demand outstripped supply. This has largely been at the expense of teams, who have not captured as much of that market-based upside as they would like. As the result of “The Decision,” however, we’re seeing the opposite situation play out, one in which fans are bearing most, if not all, of the downside risk.
Freed from the burden of having to fill seats every night, the Knicks are now spending their marketing dollars to revitalize one of the most iconic brands in all of sports. They’ve also got several thousand fresh season ticket holders who will be paying close attention to their investment, and maybe even attending a few games along the way.
As for the long-term outlook, if the Knicks can make a run at the playoffs, some of the new season ticket holders may find their mercenary allegiance morph into actual fandom. Additionally, with over 6,000 tickets available to any homegame — many priced well below face value — estranged fans who once rooted for Ewing, Starks and Oakley may decide to give the Knicks a second look.
If the 2010-11 Knicks can play like a prototypical Mike D’Antoni-coached team — high scoring, fast-paced, exciting — those old fans may find a reason to come back on a more regular basis.
On the back of a busted trade (in the Wall Street sense), the Knicks potential path to redemption is fitting for a team that plays all their homegames in Manhattan. If A’mare Stoudemire can lead them to the playoffs, it won’t exactly be the Promised Land, but it will be a good start. It may also turn the “The Decision” trade from a quick flip into a buy-and-hold.
For data and listings to any Knicks Game, visit TheKnicksBlog Tickets, powered by TiqIQ.
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