* Merchandise: Since the start of the playoffs, business is up 80% for the league's online outlet and 15% at the NBA's merchandise store in Manhattan.
Locally at the Team L.A. merchandise shops, foot traffic at the Universal CityWalk outlet is up 400% to 500% this month with 1,200 to 1,400 customers a day, according to Sean Ryan, merchandising vice president for AEG. At the Staples Center store, it's up 300%, drawing an average of 800 to 1,000 visitors. Last Saturday at Staples Center, a non-game day but the day after the Celtics qualified to join the Lakers in the Finals, roughly 2,000 people went through the store.
"Our total in May equals the total for the last four months," Ryan said.
Among the items being offered for the Finals is a leather jacket featuring both the Lakers and Celtics that sells for $1,500. Ryan said he has ordered several dozen.
* Online: The NBA's official website has attracted 1.2 billion visits this season, up 60% from a year ago.
"The Finals are the icing on the cake," said Steve Grimes, who heads the league's online operation. "In the past, the traffic would go down as the playoffs proceed and teams are eliminated, but we haven't seen that this year."
Yes, it's big, but, at least in Boston, people shouldn't get carried away, said longtime Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan. It's not as if it's baseball's Red Sox or football's Patriots, neither of whom had won championships during the previous seasons of this rivalry.
"The Red Sox are No. 1 in this town and the Patriots are 1A," Ryan said.
"This Celtic team has at least put itself in the discussion, earned itself a seat at the table, but it is clearly No. 3. It's not the same as it was in the '80s. It doesn't have quite the same sizzle. Thank goodness it's the Lakers they are playing. If not, you would have to cut back everything that's going on by 20%."
In other words, don't look for anyone in Boston to pay $27,000 for a seat.