StubHub Second Annual NBA Preview: Lakers Demand Skyrockets with LeBron Arrival

Published October 3, 2018

StubHub Second Annual NBA Preview: Lakers Demand Skyrockets with LeBron Arrival
The LeBron effect is real, James dominates the fashion game on eBay

After a red-hot summer offseason of big-time trades and free-agent signings, anticipation for the NBA’s 2018-19 season is higher than Zach LaVine’s vertical jump. With only two weeks until tip-off, we crunched the numbers to find the top-trending teams, hottest-selling games and most popular NBA merchandise heading into the season.

Top highlights include:

  • The Los Angeles Lakers are StubHub’s #1 most in-demand team for the second year in a row.
  • LeBron James’ Lakers jersey is the top-selling NBA jersey on eBay this offseason.
  • The Western conference outsells Eastern conference on StubHub, for the first time in five years.
  • The Christmas Day game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors is among StubHub’s top-selling matchups of the season.

At StubHub, we’re excited to enter our first season as the official ticketing partner of the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans join the Philadelphia 76ers and Cleveland Cavaliers as StubHub’s official NBA partners. Tickets for all NBA teams are available now for the 2018-19 regular season on StubHub. Read on for more in-depth highlights in the comprehensive preview below. All data is current at the time of publishing on October 2, 2018.

See Past NBA Preview: 2017

To kick off the preview, let’s look at StubHub’s top 10 most in-demand teams heading into this season:

When we take a look at how teams are trending based on sales on eBay, the list looks like:
ebay Top NBA Teams.jpg
Now let’s look at Lebron’s effect on eBay’s Lakers merchandise sales:
lebron stat.jpg
eBay Top Selling NBA sneakers.jpg
LeBron James Takes Lakers’ Demand to New Heights
The Los Angeles Lakers are StubHub’s most in-demand team heading into the season, for the second year in a row.

  • The LeBron Effect: Demand for Lakers tickets increased by 427% over last season on StubHub.
    • Lebron’s Lakers jersey is the top-selling NBA jersey on eBay this offseason.
      • More than 12,000 jerseys have been sold since LeBron signed with Los Angeles on July 2, that’s nearly 200 per day.
    • LeBron is also dominating the sneaker game. Sales of his Lebron 15 signature shoe on eBay doubled that of Kyrie Irving’s Kyrie 4. His new Western Conference rival Stephen Curry came in at number four on the best-selling rankings.
  • Owning Both Coasts: The Lakers outsell the Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks, StubHub’s next top-selling teams, by 130% and 160% respectively.

“The overwhelming demand for Lakers tickets and the jersey sales on eBay is a testament to the value of star power on a team, with fans excited to see LeBron in his new home,” said Scott Jablonski, StubHub’s general manager of NHL, NFL & NBA. “It’s not often that we see a 427% spike in demand for a team that already led sales the season before. There are only a handful of athletes in the world who can make an impact on ticket demand like Lebron can.”

“At eBay, we most recently saw teams in the East drive the most sales for all NBA merchandise from June through August 2018,” said Sam Bright, eBay vice president of Soft Goods, North America. “LeBron’s move to Los Angeles certainly ignites iconic rivalries, and we look forward to seeing which coast moves the needle across fan sales at tip-off.”

Additional Top Trends

  • No Burnout for the Champs: Demand for Golden State Warriors tickets puts them higher on the list this year at the #2 position.
    • Demand for the team has increased by 70% since last season, maintaining a consistent draw no matter how many times they make it to the championship game.
  • Portland’s Push: It is the first time the Portland Trail Blazers make the Top 10 list.
    • The team makes the largest jump up the list to #7 from #19 last season.
    • Demand for Blazers tickets increased by 270% over last season thanks to an early season home matchup against the Lakers.
  • We The North: The Toronto Raptors continue to make moves up the top 10 list, landing at #6 this year, up one spot from last year.
    • The team sees a 152% increase in demand from last season.

Breaking down demand by conference, we see an unusual shift in demand:
For the first time in five years, ticket sales for Western Conference teams outsell Eastern on StubHub.

  • Demand for the Western conference is up by 154% compared to last year.
  • The Western conference is outselling the Eastern by nearly 80% thanks in large part to the four western teams that make StubHub’s Top 10 list.
    • Combined sales for the top Western teams (Lakers, Warriors, Trail Blazers, Clippers) nearly double the number of sales from the six Eastern teams (Knicks, Celtics, Nets, 76ers, Raptors, Heat) in the top 10.

Now that we looked at the top teams and conference history, let’s see what matchups are driving the most demand this season:


Lakers Home Opener and Christmas Day Game Top the List

  • LA Domination: The #1 selling matchup is the Lakers home opener against the Houston Rockets which sees three times the sales of last year’s Lakers home opener.
    • Seven out of the top 10 games feature the Lakers. For four of those games, Lakers are the visiting team.
  • Christmas on the Court: Christmas Day NBA games see an upward sales trend with a 50% increase for the five matchups compared to last year.
    • This year’s best-selling Christmas Day game is Lakers at Warriors, which outsells last year’s most popular Christmas Day game by nearly 120%.
  • East Coast Rematch: At #5 on the list is a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics.
    • The matchup sees a 50% increase in demand compared to the last time the two teams met in the regular season.

“The Christmas Day NBA game has become a tradition for basketball fans,” said Jablonski. “We’ve seen the holiday matchups grow in demand each year, including a 50% increase in sales for the games this season.”

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