Kobe versus Curry: Let’s do the numbers on the dueling historic games

Marketplace Contributor Apr 14, 2016

Kobe versus Curry: Let’s do the numbers on the dueling historic games

Marketplace Contributor Apr 14, 2016

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Basketball fans found themselves having to decide between two historic moments Wednesday night — watching Kobe Bryant’s last NBA game ever, or watching the Golden State Warriors’ record-breaking 73rd win.

Both generated plenty of speculation and headlines, but at the end of the day, fans had to decide what was worth their attention. We pulled some of last night’s biggest numbers to see where they placed their favors:

People pay a lot to say goodbye

Both games were sold-out events, but average ticket prices for Bryant’s farewell were a far shot past the Warrior’s record-breaker. According to the Los Angeles Times, the average resale price for a ticket to the Lakers’ Wednesday night game was $1,014. StubHub said its most expensive ticket to see Bryant play one last time was purchased at $27,500.

On the other side of the state, resale tickets to the Warriors’ game averaged at around $550 with the most expensive ticket selling at $9,600.

This price hike for Kobe’s last game was largely anticipated, it followed a season long trend. This season was framed as the “Kobe farewell tour” and that was reflected in Lakers ticket sales. Last year, ESPN reported that prices for Lakers games immediately increased following Bryant’s retirement announcement.

ESPN got a much-needed win

When it rains it pours, uh, buckets. ESPN knew it would score big ratings when it penciled in Bryant’s last game for Wednesday night. But as the Warriors got closer to a remarkable, record-breaking 73rd win on the same night, Bristol had second thoughts. They ended up bumping the Lakers to ESPN 2. In the end, the Warriors edged out Kobe with an average 3.65 million viewers to the Lakers’ 3.46 million.

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Still, CNN notes Bryant attracted several thousand more viewers on ESPN’s streaming app and peaked higher than the Warriors game as Bryant closed in on 60 points. ESPN 2 punched way above its weight too, netting its most-watched regular season NBA game ever.

In the end, ESPN got a much-needed ratings win.

The clothes make the man?

The Lakers’ merchandise folks came ready for the big event. AEG Merchandise and Lakersstore.com introduced the “24 Collection” apparel line earlier this month specifically to celebrate Bryant’s last game. Included in the collection were 248 boxed jerseys retailing for $824, and 824 nonboxed swingman jerseys selling for $424. All 1,072 jerseys sold out, according to Staples Center. All told, the jerseys generated $553,728 in sales.

While ABC7 reported that the Warriors’ “73 Wins” t-shirts were sold out Wednesday night at Oracle Arena, no word from the Warriors yet about what that means in terms of sales, but a team spokesman did say there was a 40 percent increase, from an average game, in sales for Steph Curry’s historically popular jerseys.

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Donna Tam, Tony Wagner and Sarah Menendez contributed to this report.

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