By Chris Morris
May 31, 2018

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will face off in the NBA Finals for the fourth year in a row starting Thursday night. It’s a big money event for the league, the players, and bookies all over the country. Ticket sales and advertising make up a good bit of the overall revenue stream, but don’t discount the importance of merchandise sales.

Adobe Digital Insights has dug into data collected by Adobe Analytics to determine how much a playoff berth or a seat in the finals impacts sales of a team’s jerseys, banners, and other merchandise. And it’s a considerable lift.

First and foremost, a playoff spot is essential. Teams that fail to make the cut see merchandise sales fall 87%, while those who move into them see a 24% lift. And as the stakes get higher, so do the sales.

Initial playoff rounds see a typical 24% lift in sales. If a team makes it to the conference semi-finals, the revenue lift is 129%. A conference finals spot results in a 148% increase. And making the NBA Finals nearly doubles a team’s merchandising sales, with a 191% revenue bump.

As far as individual players, go, it’s no surprise that Lebron James stands to see the biggest increase on player merchandise. Kevin Durant is second, with Russell Westbrook coming in third. Kyrie Irving and James Harden will both see moderate bumps as well.

Of course, the league and broadcast network are the true big winners. The 2015 finals earned ABC a reported $223.9 million in ad revenues—and if the finals go to game seven, the ad rates skyrocket.

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