Nov 6, 2023 - News

How the NBA's new bet is working so far

Jerami Grant #9 of the Portland Trail Blazers  holds a basketball with his fully extended right arm, going up for a shot in between David Roddy #21 and Jaren Jackson Jr. #13 of the Memphis Grizzlies, who are jumping with one arm outstretched on either side of Grant.

Trail Blazer Jerami Grant takes a shot during Friday's game against the Memphis Grizzlies at the Moda Center. Photo: Amanda Loman/Getty Images

The NBA's new in-season tournament opened this weekend — drawing over 18,500 fans to nearly fill the Moda Center on the tourney's kickoff Friday evening.

  • The Trail Blazers beat the Memphis Grizzlies 115-113 in overtime.

Details: All 30 NBA teams are participating in the tournament, which runs through Dec. 9 when the championship game will be played.

  • All tournament games, except the final, count toward regular season standings.

The intrigue: NBA officials designed the new tournament hoping it "can generate significant revenue in the next media rights deal, driving interest and viewership to buoy an increasingly staid regular season," per ESPN,

  • Coaches as well as players will get bonuses for advancing, according to ESPN.

By the numbers: Ticket sales through Oct. 17 — a week before the NBA season started — suggest significant interest.

  • Over half of NBA teams saw sales by that date rise at least 50%, according to StubHub — including the Blazers, with an uptick of 115% compared with 2022.

Yes but: Demand for Milwaukee Bucks tickets — Damian Lillard's new team — rose 130% over last year.

What they're saying: "Notable trades have led to surges in demand across the league," says StubHub spokesperson Adam Budelli, citing particularly Dame joining the Bucks.

The big picture: By mid-October, overall NBA ticket sales were up 60% compared with last year, according to StubHub.

  • The Oklahoma City Thunder saw the biggest increase year-over-year, jumping 240%
  • The Lakers, the Knicks and the Celtics had the most demand for tickets overall.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect the Trail Blazers beat the Grizzlies 115-113 (not 113-115) on Nov. 3.


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