If you had won Powerball last week, you'd only be able to buy half of the Knicks.
Proving once again it's great to be a filthy rich sports owner, Forbes released its valuations for NBA teams and named the Knicks as the most valuable, worth a whopping $3 billion and "up 20 percent and fourth most among U.S. sports franchises behind only the Dallas Cowboys ($4 billion), New England Patriots ($3.2 billion) and New York Yankees ($3.2 billion)."
Despite their recent malaise, the Lakers slotted in second with a $2.7 billion valuation followed by the Bulls ($2.3 billion), Celtics ($2.1 billion), and Clippers ($2 billion). In all, Forbes says "13 teams are worth at least $1 billion, up from just three two years ago."
The five franchises rounding out the bottom were Charlotte ($750 million), Minnesota ($720 million), Philadelphia ($700 million), Milwaukee ($675 million), and New Orleans ($650 million).
Forbes outlines how the NBA and its 30 franchise have been flooded with money in recent years, driving up valuations thanks to a new television contract with ESPN, Nike's deal to be the league's official apparel maker starting in 2017, new multi-million dollar corporate partnerships, and regional sports network deals that are handsomely paying teams like the Knicks, Mavericks, and Hawks for the rights to air the bulk of their games.
The average NBA franchise is now worth $1.25 billion, up 13% over last year on the heels of a 74% gain the previous year after the national media deals were completed.
If you were hoping the league could avoid another work stoppage like 2011, this isn't great news since the players gave up a lot of money in the most recent collective bargaining agreement. Under the current deal, the players receive 51 percent of basketball-related income, a six percent drop from the previous agreement after some owners complained about money. The CBA runs through the 2020-21 season, but both sides have an opt-out clause that can be exercised on or before Dec. 16, 2016.
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