The formality of Kobe Bryant announcing this season will indeed be his last sent ticket prices skyrocketing Sunday night. The announcement, published in the form of a poem on The Players' Tribune website, injected millions of dollars into the resale ticket market across the country.
"Within 10 minutes of Kobe's announcement, we had thousands of inquiries and sales," said Harris Rosner, owner of Los Angeles-based VIP Tickets.
"This is definitely bigger than a guy like [Derek] Jeter and it's bigger than [Michael] Jordan in the sense that Jordan was always so wishy-washy no one ever knew if it would really be the end," said Patrick Ryan, co-owner of Houston-based ticket brokerage, The Ticket Experience.
The cheapest ticket to Tuesday night's game in Philadelphia between the Los Angeles Lakers and the 76ers, two teams with no more than three wins between them in 34 tries, tripled to $60 in minutes. Bryant was born in Philadelphia, lived for several years in Italy and then returned to Pennsylvania, where he played high school ball.
Ryan's company took the inventory it had been selling of all Lakers road games to wait for the market to settle. But those who kept tickets on sale in the hours after the announcement saw a brisk rise in interest and transactions.
"I had it priced as my second-highest game of the year after Golden State," said Mark Klang of Amazing Tickets in Cleveland, which sells Cavs tickets. "But things were really slow."
Then the announcement came, and all of the sudden, Klang started getting calls about the Feb. 10 game against the Lakers.
"I think I've sold almost as many seats to this game as I sold since the day the schedule first came out," Klang said.
Klang said he didn't raise prices, but with the Lakers at 2-13, he was about to lower them.
Ryan said some brokers started to push prices up earlier in the month when Kobe Bryant's wife, Vanessa, showed up to Madison Square Garden to see him play against the Knicks. Resale prices have already jumped 25 to 30 percent from that mark, and Ryan said that in some markets, Bryant's retirement will warrant another uptick of 50 to 100 percent.
"He put on a show in a lot of these cities, and his saying this is his last allows teams and fans to say goodbye," Ryan said.
For tickets not already sold, some brokers expect teams to include the game against the Lakers to help sell five- to 10-game ticket packages, which will allow teams to cash in on the demand.
In the two hours after Bryant's announcement, the cheapest ticket to what would be his final game -- April 13 versus the Utah Jazz at home in the Staples Center -- went from $125 to $400.