Reuters

(Reuters)

Kobe Retirement Lifts Ticket Sales for Lagging Lakers

By Lifestyle and Budget FOXBusiness

Tickets to the Los Angeles Lakers’ final home game of the 2015-16 NBA season are exploding in value Monday after team legend Kobe Bryant’s poetic announcement of his impending retirement from basketball. Fans can expect to pay a high price to see Bryant’s farewell tour despite the Lakers’ dismal record and Bryant’s ongoing on-court struggles.

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As of now, Bryant’s final home game will take place on April 13, 2016, when the Lakers face off against the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center. The average asking price for a ticket to the game stood at $1,388.50 on the secondary market as of Monday morning, according to TiqIQ, a ticket price aggregator. That’s a 190% increase from ticket prices in less than 24 hours since Bryant’s retirement announcement. Bryant revealed his decision in a poem posted to the Players’ Tribune late Sunday.

Basketball fans hoping to join legendary actor and Lakers fan Jack Nicholson at courtside will have to pay a premium. Courtside seats for Bryant’s last home game are selling for more than $11,700, making them the most expensive ticket of the night. Even the game’s cheapest tickets are selling for more than $550, while full suite ticket packages are going for over $22,000.

And there’s no relief in sight for the would-be witness to NBA history. Tickets will likely get “more expensive” as the season progresses because the Lakers are rapidly falling out of contention, according to Chris Matcovich, TiqIQ’s Director of Data and Operations. Currently, the Lakers are dead last in the Western Conference standings with a 2-14 record. Bryant’s last game could represent the team’s only meaningful game of the season.

The impact of Bryant’s announcement on ticket prices wasn’t limited to the Lakers’ final home game, as several of Los Angeles’ upcoming opponents have also seen a spike on the secondary market. The average price for a ticket to the Lakers’ away game against the Milwaukee Bucks on February 22, 2016, has jumped 89% since Sunday, while the average price for an away game against the Philadelphia 76ers in December jumped 78%, according to SeatGeek.

Bryant has played 20 seasons in the NBA, all as a member of the Lakers. He’s a five-time NBA champion and a 17-time NBA All-Star.

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