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Benching the NBA’s superstars has significant impact on the price of secondary tickets, game attendance, and TV ratings, and results in millions of dollars in welfare losses | PRNewswire

“Research shows there is evidence that ticket prices fall when star players don’t play, especially for some of the most popular superstars like Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, and Anthony Davis,” says Scott Kaplan, who presented his paper detailing the economic impact of NBA superstars at the 2019 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. “These unforeseen absences leave fans watching a game of much lower quality or having to sell their tickets for a much lower price than they paid for them.”

To measure this impact, Kaplan studied listed price changes in the secondary ticket marketplace associated with a specific superstar’s absence for a game. He discovered that when star players were benched, the ticket value decreased 9%-24%, or $9.00-$33.00 per ticket. Over a season, this can lead to millions of dollars in welfare losses.

Kaplan found that the percentage of decrease in ticket value depended on the benching of certain players, like Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, who exhibited much larger away game absence effects, while others like Anthony Davis and Kristaps Porziņģis experienced much larger home game absence effects. Further, the negative impact of a superstar absence was much smaller for games played in larger markets.

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Benching the NBA’s superstars has significant impact on the price of secondary tickets, game attendance, and TV ratings, and results in millions of dollars in welfare losses.

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