Real winners in Kobe’s retirement announcement? Ticket brokers
In years past, Kobe Bryant announcing his retirement would have sent opponents into the streets dancing. The way the future Hall of Famer is playing this season, however, it may be Lakers fans — and the team’s front office — who celebrate the news most.
But there is no doubt one group is thanking its lucky stars on the heels of the Black Mamba’s announcement Sunday that this will indeed be his last season in the NBA.
According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Bryant’s announcement had an immediate impact on ticket prices for Laker games throughout the season, and the impact was the same across the board.
"Within 10 minutes of Kobe’s announcement, we had thousands of inquiries and sales," Harris Rosner, owner of VIP Tickets (which has an office across the street from Staples Center), told Rovell.
Another broker not only likened Bryant’s upcoming farewell tour to those of Derek Jeter and Michael Jordan, he said this would be even bigger.
"This is definitely bigger than a guy like [Jeter] and it’s bigger than [Michael] Jordan in the sense that Jordan was always so wishy-washy no one ever knew if it would really be the end," said Patrick Ryan, co-owner of Houston-based ticket brokerage, The Ticket Experience.
Ryan added that in some markets, prices to see Bryant’s final appearance will jump 50 to 100 percent.
Of course, Ryan has a vested interest in drumming up interest in upcoming Laker games … particularly in light of their dismal 2-14 record.
In fact, the Lakers’ next game is at Philadelphia, against the only team with a worse record than Kobe’s Lakers, the 0-18 76ers. But Philly is also Bryant’s hometown, and even those tickets are taking off.
According to Rovell, the cheapest ticket to be found for Tuesday’s game tripled to $60 “in minutes.”
Even in Cleveland, the impact of Bryant’s announcement was felt, as Cavaliers ticket reseller Mark Klang told Rovell, "I think I’ve sold almost as many seats to this game [Sunday after Bryant’s announcement] as I sold since the day the schedule first came out."
According to Rovell, the cheapest ticket to the Lakers’ season finale, a rather unattractive matchup against the Utah Jazz on April 13, jumped from $125 to $400 once it became Bryant’s final game in the NBA.