- Darren Rovell, ESPN.com Sports Business reporter
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Cleveland embraced the return of the "King" as expected, as the Cavaliers had all but sold out of season tickets less than eight hours after LeBron James announced he would come back to accomplish some unfinished business with the team.
A Cavaliers source confirmed to ESPN.com that the team capped season-ticket sales at slightly more than 12,000 tickets Friday, leaving roughly 8,000 tickets per game to be used for group sales and ticket plans.
Shortly before 12:30 p.m. ET, when James' decision was revealed, the Cavaliers' ticket phone lines were so jammed that the team began rerouting lines in the office to be used for ticket sales. The Cavaliers sell season tickets only over the phone.
Prior to Friday, fans who were interested in buying season tickets had to put down a deposit of $200 per seat. Once James announced his intentions, the Cavaliers upped the deposit to a flat $500 fee, which would come out cheaper than the previous required deposit if someone ordered more than two tickets.
Team owner Dan Gilbert didn't use James' arrival to immediately line his pockets. Ticket prices for season tickets stayed the same, although individual tickets are expected to be priced dynamically as they have been in the past. Gilbert's company owns an electronic ticketing company called Flash Seats.
"I'm certain they're going to sell out the season before the season tips off," said Mark Klang, owner of Amazing Tickets, the largest ticket broker in town. "My phone is off the hook for the opener, and the schedule isn't even out."
After James arrived in Miami four years ago, the Heat laid off many of their ticket sales staff once season tickets were sold out.
Cleveland embraced the return of the "King" as expected, as the Cavaliers had all but sold out of season tickets less than eight hours after LeBron James announced he would come back to accomplish some unfinished business.