The Lakers got their (latest) marquee player with the Sunday signing of LeBron James and fans appear willing to pay up steeply for a chance to see the star forward try to restore the storied Los Angeles franchise’s mystique.
Lakers’ season tickets tracked on StubHub before the deal announcement Sunday were $3,499 each. Twenty minutes after the announcement those same seats were also the cheapest, but now at $5,800 each, according to ESPN.
One buyer paid $188,781 on StubHub, including fees, for four season tickets. The seats, which are 16 rows up and one section off center, are for regular-season games and do not include the playoffs, ESPN reported.
Single-game pricing is showing a similar jump. Secondary-market ticket prices for the home opener at Staples Center are nearing $1,800, according to TicketIQ.
James, 33, a four-time NBA most valuable player, has agreed to a four-year $154 million contract, his agent said. He leaves his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, where he played over two stints, to join a Lakers franchise that has won 16 NBA titles but is rebuilding after posting a losing record for five consecutive seasons.
Read: Here’s how good the Lakers are after adding LeBron James
Demand for a chance to see LeBron in L.A., even during the pre-season, also got a huge boost. Tickets for the Lakers’ pre-season opener on October 2, when they’ll play the Denver Nuggets at the Staples Center, are averaging a $447 asking price, with $115 the cheapest available, across several secondary-market ticket sites, according to data tracker TicketIQ. By comparison, the average ticket price on the secondary market for the Lakers’ 2017 pre-season opener was $141 and the cheapest ticket went for $21. That’s a one-year increase of 217% and 447%, respectively.
The previous high for a Lakers pre-season game at Staples was $208.
Projections by TicketIQ estimate the average asking price on the secondary market for LeBron’s home debut to fetch $1,761. That’s only a few hundred shy of Kobe Bryant’s final game in April 2016, when the average secondary-market ticket price was $2,003. LeBron is drawing prices that are in the same conversation as the L.A. finals prices in 2010.
As for Cleveland, ticket broker Mark Klang of Amazing Tickets told ESPN he anticipated that the tickets he held for next season would lose 60% of their value, the same loss as that experienced when LeBron left Cleveland the first time to go to Miami.