Last year, with a brilliant strategy, the Cleveland Cavaliers, despite losing LeBron James, were able to still finish third in NBA attendance, averaging over 20,000 tickets sold per game. But this season, the Cavs have fallen all the way to 20th in attendance, averaging just 16,000 per game.
Darren Rovell of CNBC erroneously blamed this drop-off on the team cracking down on ticket brokers (via Twitter)…
Cavaliers got to the abysmal 30% season renewal rate because they canceled out of state accounts owned by ticket brokers
While this may explain part of the drop-off, it is not the biggest reason.
Back in 2009-10, the Cavaliers required season-ticket deposits for the following season if fans wanted priority seating during the 2010 playoffs (remember, the Cavs were among the favourites at the time to win the title). And the Cavs also required fans to renew their season-tickets four months before “The Decision.”
So many Cavs fans purchased season-tickets for the 2010-11 season in hopes of seeing a title in 2010. And at the time, there was still a lot of hope that LeBron would re-sign with the Cavs. There was very little incentive for those same fans to renew this year.
It was a brilliant, if not shady, business move on the part of the Cavaliers, in which they were able to capitalise on LeBron for an entire season after he was gone. But now, two years removed, they are finally feeling the sting at the box office.
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