The value of an NBA team is calculated by combining what they do on court and outside. Being a franchise means business, and 10 teams have perfected the art of combining image and prowess to fatten their bank accounts. Billionaire owned teams are effective playing and conducting business. It is no secret that many NBA franchises are on the market, probably owing to the economical unpredictability, team form, poor management tactics and decisions made years ago that come back to haunt you. While the NBA franchises continue to alter their financial decisions to stay profitable, very few succeed and the ones that do are doing it amazingly. Here are the top 10 richest NBA teams as of 2017.
List of Top 10 Richest NBA Teams 2017
10. New York Knicks
The Madison Square Garden Company owns the New York Knicks. The company acquired the team for $300 million in 1997, a hefty sum back then. Current revenue stands at $307 million, talk about giving the Lakers a run for their money. The Knocks have zero debt and operate on an income of $108 million. The Knicks fork out $88 million to pay their players. The Garden receives $128 million a year at the gate with an average $28 per fan income. Only the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls have more viewers than the Knocks, with the show’s viewership plummeting 37% coming into the 2014/2015 season. Whether this is a dip in popularity, time will tell. One thing is for sure, the team is far from registering financial distress.
9. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers, Co-owned by the Jerry Buss family and Philip Anschutz, made their mark in the world of basketball in the mid-2000’s, backed up by the one and only Kobe Bryant (retired 2016). The Lakers was initially acquired for $20 million by Jerry Buss in 1979, Philip Anschutz bringing in an additional $268 million 11 years later. Just saying that the Lakers have 16 championships to their name is an understatement. They did it with style, and they have money to show for it, a lot of money. Current revenue stands at $306 million with an operating income of $133.4 million. Kobe left earlier this year leaving the team with player expenses in the region of $76 million. The Lakers’ fans contribute generously to the team’s finances, $46 to be precise. The team’s poor run of form in the past two seasons does not hinder them from being the most profitable team in the division.
8. Chicago Bulls
Chicago basketball’s pride and joy the Bulls was acquired by billionaire businessman Jerry Reinsdorf back in 1985 when the team was worth $16 million. Michael Jordan and 6 championships later, the franchise is now worth billions of dollars. Current revenue stands at $228 million with operating revenue of $67.6 million. Jerry hates debts and that is why the Bulls have just 2%. The Bulls are a marvel to watch, their fans bring in $20 each and gate receipts stand at $72 million with an average attendance of over 23,000 per season. Player expenses are in the region of $87 million and given they are the third most valuable team, this is quite cheap. (I stand corrected).
7. Boston Celtics
The Celtics have owners in Robert Epstein, Wycliffe Grousbeck, Irving Grousbeck AND Stephen Pagliuca who took over ownership of the team back in 2002 for $360 million. The green and white army has 17 championships to date. It does not stop there, operating revenue currently stands at $181 million, with player expenses and gate receipts of $69 million and $56 million respectively. These figures are surprising given the hard work these players have been put through over the years. Although, who is to say they cannot go for an 18th title this season?
6. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers have an owner in billionaire Mr. Steve Ballmer. He bought the franchise just two years ago for 2 billion dollars. With revenue of over $176 million, the Clippers are now turning the heat up at the Staples Center. The Clippers might not have a lot of operating income to spare, $20 million to be precise, but they have zero debts. It takes $92 million to keep the likes of Chris Paul on the team, but with gate revenue in the region of $59 million coupled with an average $19 per fan income, this should not be hard to achieve. The Clippers’ current deal with Fox is set to expire, and Steve Ballmer is not one to wait around for a new deal to come by. He is exploring the possibility of airing the team’s own games under their own network.
5. Golden State Warriors
Joe Lacob and Peter Guber purchased the Warriors in 2010 for a whopping $450 million, a move that would change the team’s fortunes, on and off the field. With 4 championships to date, the Warriors net revenue currently stands at $201 million and any sports financial advisor will tell you given their history, this is quite impressive. Operating income is a mere $57.6 million and it costs the two co-owners $80 million to keep MVP Stephen Curry and crew happy. Investors are not happy with a 13% debt percentage, but with gate receipts amounting to $79 million, this is not a worrying percentage, yet. Revenue per fan stands at $36 million and with Green and Curry currently playing like its 1999, the Warriors fans will just keep on giving.
4. Brooklyn Nets
They might not have won a championship yet, but the Nets have cash. Billionaire owner Mikhail Prokhorov has no problem investing heavily on the team though. When he took over the team 6 years ago for $365 million, the team’s fortunes were about to take an 180. The Nets’ current revenue stands at $220 million and player expenses almost hitting a hundred million dollars. The Nets are currently operating at a loss, with income standing at $5.7 million. Perhaps a gate revenue of $63 million and $17 per fan income, this might change soon.
3. Houston Rockets
When billionaire investor Leslie Alexander took over the Rockets’ ownership back in 1993, it was quite seen as quite a positive move by players and fans alike. $85 million was quite a bargain at that time, given the Rockets had a poor financial backing with heavy debts and player expenses they could barely meet. Fast forward 2016, the team is now worth a billion and a half dollars, with revenue in the region of $237 million. Operating income currently stands at $74.6 million, and it costs Leslie $85 million to pay James Harden and company. With a metro area population of 6.3 million, the Rockets can count on their fans to contribute $31 each and add to the already 2 championships the team has collected so far.
2. Dallas Mavericks
Mark Cuban purchased the Dallas Mavericks in 2000 for $280 million and this is obviously a huge bargain given they are now well over the billion dollar mark. Current revenue stands at $177 million with an operating income of $24.3 million. Their debt value stands at 8%, not bad for a team with just one championship to their name. gate receipts amount to $45 million annually, and with a metro area population of 6.9 million people, it is not hard to see how they gather $18 in revenue per fan.
1. Miami Heat
Heat owner Micky Harrison bought the franchise in 1988 and paid just $33 million for it. Of course, back then this amount of money would buy 3 tier 2 teams in the Association. Current revenue stands at $180 million with an operating income of $18 million. With a debt value of just 7%, the Heat are doing quite well for themselves. Player expenses stand at $89 million and with this hefty amount, the fans can be sure of one thing, Micky is not settling for just 3 championships. The Heats fans contribute $24 each to the franchise as income, and with a metro-area population of 5.6 million, it is safe to say the revenue stream is well secure.
These above are the Top 10 Richest NBA Teams 2017. The Knicks remain the most profitable team in the Association, while the Lakers continue to shoot blanks. Although, a pretty good financial backing, set to change once the Kobe Bryant hangover wears down. 2017 will be an interesting year for the NBA. Will the New Orleans Pelicans finally get their dwindling financial status right? Will the Cavaliers, currently 12th, finally make the top 10 list?