LeBron buzz hits Cleveland and brings cash slam dunk

CLEVELAND -- Today is not just a new day in Cleveland. To hear locals tell it, a new era is dawning.

The return of the King -- as LeBron James is known here -- has energized a place once called "the mistake by the lake."

Having traded Miami for Cleveland, James himself can feel the buzz.

"It is an exciting time for our city it is an exciting time for the people here and they should look forward to it," James said.

David Gilbert of Destination Cleveland says they sure should.

"Every game is bringing thousands of people in, spending their money, every game," he said. "When those dollars are spent it creates jobs. Everyone of these new hotels, new restaurants, they all create jobs."

All 41 Cavalier home games this year are sold out. Last year, five were.

Cleveland merchants are heralding the return of LeBron James all the way to the bank. CBS News

With James, 30 of their games could be televised nationally. Last year without him, it was only one.

Secondary market tickets for tonight's home opener went from nearly $300 for the cheapest to $4,000 for the most expensive.

A recent survey said having No. 23 back in a Cavs' uniform will generate $215 million annually for the franchise and the city.

Clothing store manager Laura Kubinski said there's been a run on LeBron t-shirts. There were people waiting to get in to her store.

"We had a line, yes," she said. "And within the first hour we had $3,000 in the store.

By tonight, Jonathan Sawyer's Greenhouse Tavern will be filled.

"A ton more people from around the country will see our restaurant, will talk about our restaurant and will have the opportunity to dine in our restaurant," said Sawyer. "It's us against the world here and when you have somebody like that...and that influential, leave your city and then return as a prodigal son, I mean, i'm getting goose bumps just talking about it. "

There's a lot of that going around here now.

  • Dean Reynolds
    Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.