NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The National Basketball Association season tipped off on Tuesday night but for many players and fans alike, LeBron James' homecoming in Cleveland when his Cavaliers take on the New York Knicks will officially signify the return of basketball.
Thursday night's game has been talked about for months and as James suits up in a Cavs uniform for the first time since 2010, it will likely be the most-watched game of the season. With so much hype and excitement built up since LeBron announced his return to Cleveland in July, it will also be the most expensive home opener across all four major professional U.S. sports on the secondary market in the last five years.
According to TiqIQ, the average secondary price for Cavaliers tickets for the home opener at Quicken Loans Arena is $778. LeBron will get his first regular season look at his new team, which also features superstar recruit Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving alongside veterans Mike Miller, Shawn Marion and Anderson Varejão. The Cavaliers schedule will carry with it high ticket price premiums both at home and on the road all season long. On many NBA teams' home schedules this season, Cleveland will be the most expensive opponent.
LeBron also took part in the second top-priced home opener when the Miami Heat hosted the Knicks in November 2012 at American Airlines Arena. That game had an average price of $645 on the secondary market, more than 17% cheaper than Thursday's game in Cleveland. The King certainly elicits huge secondary numbers, and his success on the court has backed up the exorbitant ticket prices his teams have produced.
An National Football League game between the Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints at the Superdome in September of 2010 serves as the third highest-priced opening home game within the last five years. That game saw the Saints beat the Vikings 9-14 in the Week 1 matchup, with an average price of Saints tickets listed at $553 on the secondary market. The game's high secondary price was largely due to it being an NFC Conference Game rematch from the 2009 postseason, wherein the Saints took down Brett Favre's Vikings in a thrilling overtime victory. The Saints would then go on to beat Peyton Manning's Colts in Super Bowl XLIV, generating high demand for tickets for their home opener in 2010.
Focus shifts back to the NBA as the fourth and fifth most expensive opening games at home over the last five years belong to the Knicks in 2011 and Heat in 2010. Despite the Knicks failing to find a considerable amount of postseason success since their last trip to the Finals in 1999, they consistently garner high secondary market prices each year at Madison Square Garden. The team opened its season in 2011 against the Boston Celtics, as Knicks tickets an average secondary price listed at $515.
No stranger to top-priced games, LeBron's first game in American Airlines Arena as a member of the Miami Heat in 2010 had an average price of $509 on the secondary market. The Heat would play Dwight Howard and the Magic and would cruise to a 26-point victory as the era of the Big-3 era began.
Below is a complete look at the top ten most expensive home openers in the last five years according to TiqIQ, which also includes two NHL games hosted by the Maple Leafs in 2014 and Bruins in 2011.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.