When LaVar Ball announced that he was going to start his own professional league for prospects looking for an NCAA alternative — the Junior Basketball Association — there were plenty of skeptics and questions.
Most notably, would anyone actually go to the JBA games?
LaVar’s JBA was going to need to attract basketball talent that was worth paying for, and outside of LaMelo Ball, no top-150 prospect signed with LaVar’s league. Still, that didn’t stop LaVar from charging exorbitant ticket prices for games in 10,000-plus-seat arenas instead of high school gyms.
With two weeks until the Session 1 JBA opener in Ontario, Calif., that strategy isn’t looking good. The Ticketmaster seating chart for the opening session revealed that less than 1,000 seats have been marked as sold. Only the lower bowl is available.
The sessions that don’t include LaMelo — like the June 26 event at the 10,387-seat Wintrust Arena in Chicago — have fared far worse early at the box office. Just 68 seats have been marked as sold.
For the JBA’s inaugural season, its ticket prices have rivaled the non-premium costs of most NBA teams. Many G League teams charge $ 10 for seats and offer a significantly better quality of basketball. A July Los Angeles session, which should feature LaMelo, is also struggling.
Every other JBA seating chart that was hosted on Ticketmaster revealed that at least 90 percent of seats were marked as available.
Just as LaVar does with Big Baller Brand products, he is essentially asking fans to overpay for the sake of overpaying.
But at least in the case of Big Baller Brand, those consumers get a tangible product in return. That’s not the case with the JBA.
Unless there is a significant price decrease (or tickets straight-up being given out for free), the JBA will likely play to near-empty arenas for its first season.