Miami Heat See Huge Spike in Ticket Sales This Season, But NBA Sales Overall are Down

This shouldn't be much of a surprise considering the team went from a one-man show to the sports world's favorite three-headed demon, but the Miami Heat have seen the greatest boost in ticket sales so far this season across the league. What is surprising is that the NBA as a whole has seen overall ticket sales decline. Though, television ratings are up 30 percent over last year.

Business Insider crunched the numbers on changes in attendance.

Last season, the Heat sold an average of 17,730 tickets a game, which put them at a middling average of 90.4 percent capacity. This year the team is selling almost 2,000 more tickets a game, with an average of 19,760. That's an average of 100.4 percent capacity, and a 9.9 percent increase over last year.

Unsurprisingly, that gives the team the distinction of seeing the biggest gain in ticket sales this season. A few teams beat out the Heat for overall ticket sales and capacity, but that may be a matter of arena size and ticket policy.

The other big winner in ticket sales so far this year are the Orlando Magic. They're the only other team in the league selling on average more than 1,000 tickets for games than they did last year.

Though, league-wide ticket sales are down. NBA games are selling almost 200 tickets a game less than they did last year, and capacity is down an average of 1 percent.

If you're wondering, the Cavaliers saw no change in ticket sales now that LeBron is gone. Their average so far this year is exactly the same as it was last season.

Interestingly, the AP reports that television ratings are up for the NBA, and not just on the strength of Heat games (though it helps):

Television ratings for games on ESPN and TNT are up more than 30 percent so far this season compared to last year.

Sure, the Heat are drawing big audiences after a summer of free agent intrigue concluded with LeBron James and Chris Bosh joining Dwyane Wade in Miami. Ratings for Heat games on ESPN have increased 69 percent from last season. But take out the five matchups involving Miami, and the network's NBA coverage is still up 23 percent from a year ago.

Maybe we could blame the decrease in attendance and increase in ratings on frugal fans, but the economy is slowly getting better. Plus, Florida is still in the thick of the recession, but our teams seem to have no trouble selling tickets this year.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kyle Munzenrieder