For the first time in franchise history, the Phoenix Suns were awarded the number one pick in the NBA draft. With it, they drafted highly revered Arizona freshman Deandre Ayton, a first team All-American and Freshman of the Year candidate. In addition to Ayton, the Suns added three other young players to help them advance in the league.
The addition of these new pieces – especially Ayton – will likely help the Suns advance in the Western Conference, but will it also affect ticket and merchandise sales?
Suns President and CEO Jason Rowley told CBN that ticket sales have already seen a dramatic year-over-year rise. Compared to this time last year, ticket sales are up 300 percent, according to Rowley.
As the Suns improve with the growth of these players, the team will get better contracts with television networks to broadcast their games during primetime hours. Although the Suns had just four televised games last season, that figure will likely increase in the coming years. Rowley explains that following the draft, “Local television ratings will expect a climb drastically, and national interest will pick up as well.” He notes that although broadcasting schedules are set at the beginning of the year, changes can and likely will be made.
Additionally, merchandise sales will almost certainly increase. The NBA reports that in 2018, five of the top 15 jersey sales came from rookies, sophomores, or third-year players. This trend will likely extend to the Phoenix Suns this season as Deandre Ayton jersey sales jump.
With all this in mind, the growth of the Suns will likely take time. Rowley explains that although the #1 pick generates a lot of excitement around the team and city, the business results are “not quite as immediate as you may think. All these sales take a bit of runway to occur.”
Nevertheless, the results of the 2018 NBA draft are exciting for the Suns. The loyal fanbase may become even stronger if Ayton and company live up to their hype, and the Suns organization will see that reflect in their revenue stream.