Mired in a miserable season with the NBA's worst record and a roster of D-Leaguers, the Cavs are still making money hand over foot. Season ticket holders had to lock in by May 2010, way before LeBron's decision, so the Cavs still have over 10,000 season ticket holders paying for a putrid product. They also have a lucrative TV contract with FSN Ohio that pays $25 million a year. (Incidentally, that's worked out OK for FSN Ohio even with the horrible team — the Cavs' local TV ratings are still top-ten in the league.)
But the big question is what happens next year? How many season ticket holders will the Cavs lose, even with a potential No. 1 pick coming to town?
CNBC interviewed Mark Klang, the self-proclaimed biggest season ticket holder for the team and a local ticket merchant, and his guess seems realistic.
50%. That's the number. Klang says even that is optimistic.
Mark Klang, who says he is the Cavaliers biggest season ticket holder in terms of number of tickets, is predicting that, at best, 50 percent of season ticket holders will renew given the prices the Cavaliers have given season ticket holders for next season.
The prices, which were sent to current season ticket holders in late January have not been publicized have been reduced from no change to up to 20 percent.
The lower level center court seat, which teams usually don't have a problem selling to corporations, is being reduced from $158 a game to $155 a game. Klang, a ticket broker who says he currently owns 300 season tickets which he pays close to $1 million for, says his lower level baseline seats are being held at $140 each per game. The Cavaliers have more than 100 different price points due to seat location and season ticket holder history.
“Gilbert has that hustler sense to him, that’s how he was raised,” Klang, owner of Ohio-based Amazing Tickets, told CNBC. “It’s tough for him to admit when his product isn’t good, so it’s just not his mentality to own up to it. He believes there is an entertainment value to the team and there is when they are winning, but there’s clearly not when they aren’t.”
Keep in mind that Klang has an obvious angle in wanting the Cavs to reduce ticket prices even more — if they do, he might be able to unload his bounty of ducats for something close to what he paid for them.
There's more fluff to be had in the CNBC piece and some quotes from Cavs PR mouth Tad Carper, who says something to the effect of, "Dan Gilbert is the awesomest guy in the world and the Cavs are better entertainment than watching an elephant juggle three Lithuanian midgets." If you like that kind of regurgitated flattery, head on over for a full dose of it.
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