Business Week examines what signing LeBron James could mean to the city where he signs:
An NBA team is virtually the only landscape in team sports where one player can make enough of a difference to propel a team into a playoff berth, not to mention single-handedly increase ticket sales. So a lot of effort goes into the recruiting of the NBA’s best, including sending private jets so they can travel in style and comfort, star-studded wining and dining, and promises of access to the best homes, schools, and exclusive clubs in a community. This summer represents a once-in-a-generation harmonic convergence of talent on the free-agent market, and teams are positioning themselves to capitalize.
Television rights holders are paying close attention as well—should James & Co. land in Chicago, for example, WGN-TV, the regional home of the Bulls, will be able to increase dramatically the amount it charges advertisers in anticipation of sky-high TV ratings.
While the Bulls have squeaked into the playoffs the last two years only to be bounced in the first round — this past season by James’ Cavaliers — they would instantly be favorites to reach the Finals next season, which would mean a lot more money into the pockets of various Chicago entities, including WGN-TV, CSN Chicago, vendors who work games, souvenir sellers, and many other associated businesses.