- Searches for travel to Cleveland peaked at 192% above average on day of LBJ’s decision
- Seattle fans are the most excited about the move, with searches for air travel to Cleveland up 390%
- Miami had very few searches (under 100 a day)
On July 11th, Ohioans celebrated as LeBron James made his much anticipated announcement as to where he would be playing the 2014-2015 season, ultimately choosing to return to Cleveland. In the days following his decision, domestic travel interest to Cleveland has increased 72% for the dates of the 2014-2015 NBA season (Oct. 28th - Apr. 25th). On the day of July 11th, travel searches went up 192% compared to the 5 days leading up to the announcement, and July 12th searches held at 110% higher than pre-announcement levels.
Figure 1: CLE as a percentage of all domestic destinations for dates surrounding the July 11th announcement.
The city with the biggest spike in travel interest to Cleveland was Seattle, where searches for flights increased 390%. Seattle has been team-less since 2008, when the Super Sonics were moved and became the Oklahoma City Thunder. Recently, Microsoft’s Steve Balmer lost a bid to bring the Milwaukee Bucks to Seattle, and Adam Silver has also confirmed the league has no plans to expand into the city.
Figure 2: Cities with the highest increase in searches to CLE following the July 11th announcement. (Note: Miami, which had an increase of 245%, was excluded due to very low search volume.)
To see prices for flights to Cleveland, check out the Hopper Flight Explorer.