NBA dunk contest winner driving G-League team ticket sales

After dazzling fans by winning the NBA Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend, Mac McClung is starting to drive ticket sales in the G-League.

McClung returned to action with the Delaware Blue Coats, the Philadelphia 76ers’ G-League affiliate, on Wednesday night.

And it was a hero’s welcome.

The Blue Coats announced 1,697 fans were in attendance for their home matchup against the Motor City Cruise. The crowd came to see McClung and celebrate his outstanding All-Star weekend performance.

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Blue Coats president of business operations Larry Meli confirmed to USA TODAY Sports that ticket sales revenue has increased five times greater than average. 

‘Our first game back from the break and that attendance was three times what it is during a weeknight game,’ Meli said. ‘We certainly have a new and wider audience that is engaged and coming to our games in Delaware.’ 

According to Front Office Sports, ticket prices ranged from $11 to $64 in some areas of Chase Fieldhouse in Wilmington, Delaware.

Fans in attendance showed their support with special signs. Some of the best signs read ‘McClung for President 2023’ or simply had a photo of a goat (in reference to Greatest of All Time). 

Meli mentioned that fans were in attendance from throughout the Tri-State area. He predicted a sellout for Friday’s game against the Motor City Cruise. In the past four years, the Blue Coats have averaged at least 10 sellouts per season. 

‘We will end the season strong,’ Meli said. ‘We anticipate these final six (home) games to be either sold out or at capacity.’

McClung will be eligible to join the 76ers at any point due to his two-way contract. He can spend 45 days with the 76ers while playing the bulk of the season with the Blue Coats.

The Blue Coats will continue to build interest in the organization. There are plans to create opportunities for season-ticket holders and spotlight McClung on social media. 

‘It means a lot to this community to have somebody that they can say ‘hey he’s our guy’ and they can take pride in that,’ Meli said. 

The Blue Coats’ next game will be on Friday against Motor Cruise. McClung is averaging 18.4 points on 56.2% shooting this season.

‘I wanna be in the NBA,’ McClung said after Wednesday’s game. ‘I want to make an impact. Can’t have nights like tonight but I’m just waiting my turn.’

This post appeared first on USA TODAY