Is Dan Gilbert’s Hate On LeBron James An “East Coast-West Coast” Ploy To Sell Tickets?

LeBron James in Cleveland

Photo: TNT

On one hand, Cleveland Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has every right to be emotional about losing star player LeBron James to the Miami Heat.On the other, his outbursts have led to insanely strong ticket sales for a super-starless basketball team.

I have no idea whether Gilbert has mens rea. But this whole LeBron thing feels like it was modelled after the extraordinarily successful “East Coast-West Coast” PR stunt which ignited hip-hop album sales from primal passions of geographic loyalty.

Why else would the Cleveland Cavaliers have the second highest average attendance in the NBA to date?

Call me a cynic, but when LeBron left Cleveland, I guarantee the owners and sales execs were in a room brainstorming how they would hedge THE loss. Marketing is based on psychology, and I think the entire circus over a free market move by an entertainer seems a bit over the top to worry about with all the economic troubles in Cleveland.

If you’re in Cavs marketing or ticket sales, it makes perfect sense to coral fan anger by asking fans to show LeBron they love the Cavs with or without him. How do you show LeBron? Buy tickets.

Whether I am right or wrong, Gilbert seems to be raking in the dough despite a lower quality product than last year. Puff Daddy must be proud.

This post originally appeared on Wall St. Cheat Sheet and is republished here with permission.

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