Every so often I get asked, who do you want to win game “X?” My answer is generally always the same, which ever team is best for business. I grew up a Warriors fan living in the Bay Area, so naturally, I would want to them win a long over due NBA title. But this got me thinking, from an autograph business perspective and on a nationwide scale, who would I rather see win, Cavs or Warriors? Let’s break down each player and their autograph value.
LeBron James bringing back an NBA title (heck any professional championship) would be HUGE for Cleveland area sports shops. Shirts and hats would sell very well. But I am more concerned about the autographs (items I sell most of). Yes, LeBron’s autograph would have a huge jump right after the NBA Finals is over (assuming he does a signing with Upper Deck – his exclusive memorabilia provider.
But there are a couple issues that will hinder LeBron’s autograph selling well. 1.) Price – jerseys and basketballs are going to be close to if not over $1,000. Huge chunk of change to drop on an autograph for the average collector. 2.) Availability – Upper Deck wholesales to just a few distributors, so only a lucky few will get their hands on his Cavs post Finals items. That means pricing will be higher (companies that sell Upper Deck items generally have huge overheard) and items will be scarce. Companies like Fanatics will certainly cash in, but smaller internet based companies like myself will not.
Matthew Dellavedova will be an interesting name to watch. He will certainly be doing some autograph signings should the Cavs win the NBA title. Exclusive deal with Fanatics most likely. Autograph would be fairly affordable ($50-$75 range). But outside of Cleveland, is he a seller? I’m not so sure. There certainly will be a big uptick in his memorabilia right after the Finals, but with a quick fall off after that. Just like Malcolm Butler and the Super Bowl interception.
Kyrie Irving would definitely be a great seller. Good price point, huge fan following. But his injury may prevent him from selling as well as memorabilia dealers would have liked. He is a Panini exclusive, so pricing will be fairly high, but like Upper Deck, they do manufacture some fantastic products.
One of the most interesting characteristics of the Warriors is they are based in the Bay Area. A fairly wealthy area. Just like when the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, Warriors autographed memorabilia will sell extremely well and fast.
Stephen Curry‘s signings in the Bay Area have lines that are sometimes 8 hours long. His appeal though is much bigger than the Bay Area. Under Armour has done a fantastic job promoting his brand. Fans connect with him unlike any other player currently playing. Winning the MVP award will push that level even higher. His autograph price is going up (around $500 for a jersey). Now that he can inscribe 2015 NBA MVP, fans will want his autograph even more.
Klay Thompson has an exclusive memorabilia deal with Fanatics. However, his pricing has remained rather affordable (around $100 an autograph). Huge fan following in the Bay Area. Also, he and Curry are known as the “Splash Brothers,” so dual signed items of them will be extremely popular.
While LeBron is certainly one of the most popular players in any sport, his autograph price and availability will hinder Cavs items being a great seller. The Bay Area wealth and connection/popularity of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson will push the Warriors autographs above the Cavs. The Warriors are the team memorabilia dealers should be pushing for to win the NBA Finals.