Impact of LeBron Leaving Cleveland Would Ripple Far Beyond the Court

James’ departure could cost the franchise and the city hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Cavs aren’t the only ones with a vested interest in keeping LeBron James in Cleveland.

According to an analysis by Harvard economics professor Daniel Shoag, James playing on the Cavaliers increased the revenue at eating and drinking establishments within a one-mile radius of Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland by 13 percent, and it boosted employment by 24 percent.

While those numbers won’t immediately flatline if he does leave town—as he’s rumored to be considering—they’ll certainly take a major hit if James takes his talents to another locale.

The value of the Cavaliers franchise—which has had 203 consecutive home sellouts since James returned to Cleveland in 2014—will also take a big hit if No. 23 leaves town.

The first time James left town in 2010, the value of the franchise fell from $476 million to $355 million in a single year. Should that same 25 percent drop happen again, Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert stands to lose more than $300 million this time around.

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