The 2009 Draft Lottery gave the Los Angeles Clippers the first pick of the draft: Blake Griffin.
Griffin was immediately featured on the Clippers official team website as the new face of the franchise. Furthermore, the Clippers sold more season tickets in the two months that followed than they did the entire previous season. At long last there was hope in Clipper Land as a new era emerged for the Red, Blue and White.
In the two months that followed the selection of Blake Griffin, the Clippers sold an estimated 400 new season ticket packages. Clippers Sales Executive, Daniel De La Torre, estimated that over half the season ticket packages were purchased by ticket brokers.
Ticket brokers make a living speculating on the next hottest event. Needless to say, there was big business in Blake Griffin.
Just as the 2009 training camp went underway and Blake mania was rocking Southern California, disaster struck. Blake suffered a season ending knee injury.
Ticket brokers went into panic mode as the team suddenly became the same ole' Clippers. On the secondary market, tickets weren't selling and if they did, they sold for much lower than face value.
According to Jeff Greenburg of ASC Ticket Company, "38 of the 41 home Clipper games sold for a LOSS on the secondary market."
Things were so bad that the Clippers lowered their Premium Level season seats to around $22.00 per ticket to lure ticket brokers into buying large blocks of season tickets—just a fraction of the $90 per ticket they were charging before Griffin’s injury.
This season? Ticket sales are picking up and the majority of them are selling above face value.
The reason? Blake Griffin has become a one man show.
The Clippers are no longer offering their discounted $22 Premium Level Season tickets. In fact, they are completely sold out of season tickets in the Lower Ends, 200 and PR Levels.
Despite the Clippers' 1-13 start and 19-29 overall record, tickets are flying off the shelves. At this point last season, the Clippers had over 5,000 lower level season tickets available for sale. Right now, the Clippers have just 35, ranging between $95-145 per seat.
In the last month, the Clippers have sold out four games. Daniel De La Torre estimates that the Clippers have sold 750 season tickets in the past 3 months—a huge increase from the 200 season tickets sold in the entire 2009-2010 season.
Compared to the 2009-2010 season, Blake Griffin is healthy and playing at the highest of levels. The Clippers have enjoyed four sellouts in the past 25 days as Blake mania storms through Southern California.
Move over Lakers. The Staples Center is starting to get crowded!