Guest Post: Impact of Injuries on Ticket Prices

rockets_v_thunderToday’s post is courtesy of guest blogger Christi Goza. Ticket data to support this article provided by Razorgator.

Did Russell Westbrook’s Knee Injury Impact the Price of Oklahoma City Thunder Playoff Tickets?

Just prior to the start of the NBA Playoffs, Thunder Playoff tickets vs. the Houston Rockets were averaging $300 a seat , with Game 5 (if nec) at Chesapeake Energy Arena averaging $270 and Game 7 (if nec) averaging $459. Thunder ticket prices were fifth most expensive of the sixteen NBA Teams. Many felt the Thunder were destined for an NBA Finals rematch with the Miami Heat.

The morning of Game 2, ticket prices for Game 5 were averaging $297 and Game 7 $492 – both games had increased in price since the start of the Playoffs. It was later that evening in Game 2 Russell Westbrook tore his lateral meniscus. Following the team’s announcement that Westbrook would undergo surgery and would not play for the remainder of the 2013 NBA Playoffs, Oklahoma City Thunder ticket prices for Game 5 and Game 7 dropped 3% and 10% respectively. The cheapest seat in the house for a possible Game 5 (Home Game 3) fell 21%, from $90 to $71. The long term impact of the injury is also telling as potential Conference Semifinals tickets in OKC saw an average of a 6% decrease. Rockets fans had a different outlook as tickets following the Thunder’s announcement of Westbrook’s injury rose 15% for Game 3 in Houston.

 

NBA Playoffs Round, Game Avg. (Before) Avg. (After)  Delta
First Round: Thunder at Rockets – HG 1 – Game 3 $291.62 $334.30 14.64%
First Round: Rockets at Thunder – HG 3 – Game 5 (If Nec.) $297.00 $289.00 -2.69%
First Round: Rockets at Thunder – HG 4 – Game 7 (If Nec.) $492.00 $441.00 -10.37%
Conference Semifinals: TBD at Thunder – HG 1 (If Nec.) $638.00 $590.00 -7.52%
Conference Semifinals: TBD at Thunder – HG 2 (If Nec.) $674.00 $576.00 -14.54%
Conference Semifinals: TBD at Thunder – HG 3 (If Nec.) $665.00 $659.00 -0.90%
Conference Semifinals: TBD at Thunder – HG 4 (If Nec.) $684.00 $688.00 0.58%

In comparison, following Derrick Rose’s torn ACL in Game 1 of the First Round last year – Bulls tickets fell 5% for Game 5, 2% for Game 7 and an average of 11% for the Eastern Conference Semifinals Games in Chicago. And, although the injury didn’t take place during the postseason – when Kobe Bryant went down April 12 with a torn Achilles tendon, Los Angeles Lakers tickets took a similar fall. The Lakers had not secured a playoff spot at the time; however tickets for a potential first round series and semifinals were down 18% and 15% (in that order) following the Black Mamba’s season ending injury.

 

NBA Playoffs Round, Game Avg. (Before) Avg. (After)  Delta
First Round: 76ers at Bulls – HG 3 – Game 5 (If Nec.) $173.00 $164.00 -5.20%
First Round: 76ers at Bulls  – HG 4 – Game 7 (If Nec.) $191.00 $188.00 -1.57%
Conference Semifinals: TBD at Bulls – HG 1 (If Nec.) $212.00 $188.00 -11.32%
Conference Semifinals: TBD at Bulls – HG 2 (If Nec.) $220.00 $182.00 -17.27%
Conference Semifinals: TBD at Bulls – HG 3 (If Nec.) $208.00 $183.00 -12.02%
Conference Semifinals: TBD at Bulls – HG 4 (If Nec.) $227.00 $223.00 -1.76%

 

NBA Playoffs Round, Game Avg. (Before) Avg. (After)  Delta
First Round: TBD at Lakers – HG 1 (If Nec. – Date TBD) $390.84 $305.60 -21.81%
First Round: TBD at Lakers – HG 2 (If Nec. – Date TBD) $393.37 $330.04 -16.10%
First Round: TBD at Lakers – HG 3 (If Nec. – Date TBD) $451.46 $395.48 -12.40%
Conference Semifinals: TBD at Lakers – HG 1 (If Nec.) $1,260.08 $1,059.36 -15.93%
Conference Semifinals: TBD at Lakers – HG 2 (If Nec.) $1,250.01 $1,078.03 -13.76%
Conference Semifinals: TBD at Lakers – HG 3 (If Nec.) $1,306.18 $1,115.53 -14.60%

In last year’s AL Championship Series opener, Derek Jeter broke his left ankle in the 12th inning and would not return for the rest of the postseason. Different from the NBA teams’ tickets, New York Yankees tickets for a possible ALCS Game 6 and 7 at Yankees Stadium following a key player’s injury increased on the secondary market, rising 27% and 37%. Yankees World Series tickets for home games 1, 2, and 3 however, fell 6%, 22%, and 18% respectively.

 

MLB Playoffs Round, Game Avg. (Before) Avg. (After)  Delta
ALCS Game 6: Tigers at Yankees – HG 3 (If Nec.) $240.17 $305.40 27.16%
ALCS Game 7: Tigers at Yankees – HG 4 (If Nec.) $280.48 $383.42 36.70%
World Series: TBD at Yankees – HG 1 (If Nec.) $771.66 $723.01 -6.30%
World Series: TBD at Yankees – HG 2 (If Nec.) $884.97 $689.77 -22.06%
World Series: TBD at Yankees – HG 3 (If Nec.) $987.68 $806.64 -18.33%

Losing a star player to injury during the postseason not only hurts the team’s aspirations of winning a title but directly affects the potential revenue a team can earn. The impact is immediate as demand is affected by the fact that players that fans want to see are out of the lineup. Tickets further into the playoffs are also significantly impacted as fans lose confidence that their team will actually advance without one of its stars. Basketball tickets are particularly affected in a star driven league where the best players drive a team’s popularity and play a huge role in the success of their franchise.

Christi Goza is the Community and Social Media Manager at Razorgator and an alumni of the Graduate Program in Sports Management at Long Beach State.

2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Impact of Injuries on Ticket Prices

  • May 1, 2013 at 4:41 am
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    I’ve always maintained that one man doesn’t make a team – and that holds true in many ways – but your closing statement is true and no more clearly demonstrated than with David Beckham’s transfers from England to the US and now to France. Imagine the ticket price increases and relative decreases if the club he’s with used a secondary market platform?

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