Ticket demand, anticipation grows as LeBron nears Kareem

Feb 6, 2023, 12:37 PM | Updated: Feb 7, 2023, 2:39 am

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts after being called for a foul in the second half...

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts after being called for a foul in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans in New Orleans, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023. The Pelicans won 121-136. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Courtside seats 166 and 167 at the arena where the Los Angeles Lakers play their home games are pretty much as good as it gets.

The people occupying those chairs when LeBron James breaks Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA scoring record will have an up-close view, with their feet on the very hardwood where the history-making shot happens.

History, in this case, comes with a cost.

On Monday, those seats for Tuesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder could have been had for $75,000 — each. Total price for the two seats with Ticketmaster fees: $181,500. And there’s no guarantee James will even break the record Tuesday; in fact, at his current scoring pace, he would be just shy of the mark when the Thunder game ends.

Which is why those same seats are even pricier Thursday for the Lakers’ next game against the Milwaukee Bucks — the two teams Abdul-Jabbar played for during his Hall of Fame career. For that game: $242,000, including the fees. But history suggests prices will come down; industry experts have long said extravagantly priced tickets rarely fetch the giant number listed.

Don’t be mistaken, though. The best seats will still cost plenty.

“For the game on Thursday, we did sell a pair of tickets, courtside seats, for $24,000 a ticket, $48,000 total,” said Kyle Zorn, a brand manager at the online ticket marketplace TickPick. “I feel like people are betting on the storyline that he does it against Kareem’s former team, but he could easily score 36 points Tuesday and then the market for the game Thursday could completely crash.”

Whenever the record falls — maybe Tuesday, maybe Thursday, and it’s doubtful the chase goes past that unless James isn’t playing for some reason — it will be an event.

The NBA has already changed the national television schedule for Tuesday, rearranging things to get the Lakers-Thunder game into the second slot of the usual TNT doubleheader for that night — with Commissioner Adam Silver saying the league wanted to make sure it got as many eyeballs on the record-breaking moment as possible.

The Lakers will be back on TNT against the Bucks on Thursday, plus have another national TV audience awaiting Saturday when they visit Golden State on ABC. Those were previously scheduled that way, no rearranging required.

Silver said the NBA will pay tribute when James passes Abdul-Jabbar’s total of 38,387 points, with likely a larger-scale celebration of the record at All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City later this month.

“There’s no doubt we will stop that game and make sure we record for history, the ball, the basket, the uniform,” Silver said. “We’ll stop and make sure that we’ve done our jobs as the archivists of the NBA. At the same time, there’s that balance that they will be playing against a team that will very much want to win that night and not be distracted. Most likely we will do something in the moment.”

Common sense will likely prevail there: If James gets the record with a minute to go in a close game, for example, the NBA probably won’t interrupt the proceedings with a lengthy stoppage. If it happens early, a brief halting of play wouldn’t be unprecedented.

But for those who want to see it all happen in person, whether that’s from courtside seats or the upper levels of the arena, it’ll still cost a pretty penny.

Speaking Monday, and with the market likely to fluctuate until game time, Zorn said the cheapest get-in-the-door price for Tuesday’s game was around $176 — about half what it was a week ago, with most people guessing the record falls against the Bucks — and $796 for Thursday’s game.

“It’s weird how prices for the game on Tuesday have decreased so significantly, as if it’s like a guarantee that he’s breaking it on Thursday,” Zorn said.

Many price points are likely out of reach for most fans. Then again, if there’s a Thunder fan in L.A. who really wants to see their team, they might just want to wait for March 24. The Thunder will be back that night.

Cheapest ticket right now for that game — about $60.

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

3 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

3 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

3 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

3 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

3 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

3 months ago

Ticket demand, anticipation grows as LeBron nears Kareem