NBA's Golden Age: League sets attendance record, merchandise sales boom

The NBA has never had a hotter, more popular product.

NBA's Golden Age: League sets attendance record, merchandise sales boom

NBA's Golden Age: League sets attendance record, merchandise sales boom

That's saying something, considering the league went through a great era back in the 1980s and 1990s thanks to some legends named M.J., Magic and Bird.

But the sheer numbers the league is posting these days makes a strong case for that argument. Thursday, the AP reported NBA attendance for the 2017-18 season topped 22 million for the first time (22.1 million, to be exact), marking the fourth year in a row the league has set an attendance record. Further, the average attendance at games, 17,987, also set a record.

By comparison, during the mid-1980s to early 1990s, when Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson were at or near their prime, the league's average attendance fluctuated between 11,000 and 15,000 fans per game.

The AP also reported that online merchandise sales for the 2017-18 season set a record and were up 25 percent from the previous year.

It's not exactly news to say this is a great time to be an NBA fan, player, team owner, or anyone else associated with the league. The league's staggering nine-year, $24 billion TV deal that runs through the 2024-25 seemed excessive to many observers when it was announced in 2014, but it now seems the networks got a great deal.

With transcendent stars like LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, etc. at their peak, there's no shortage of marquee talent to interest fans. There are bitter rivalries (Cavaliers-Warriors again in the NBA Finals, maybe?), outspoken coaches, and more.

The NBA playoffs start now. Buckle up.


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