Posted January 23, 2013

Knicks, Lakers top Forbes’ franchise values list and cross $1 billion mark

Ben Golliver, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks
New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers topped Forbes' franchise values list

The Knicks saw their franchise value increase by 41 percent over last year. The Lakers saw an 11 percent increase. (Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

The Knicks and Lakers are the NBA’s most valuable franchises in 2013, according to an annual Forbes study, worth more than $1 billion each.

Those valuations represent significant increases over 2012. The Knicks are valued at a league-high $1.1 billion after being valued at $780 million last year. The Lakers’ value has increased from $900 million in 2012 to $1 billion in 2013.

Forbes credits the new collective bargaining agreement that resulted from the 2011 lockout with helping spike franchise values across the board.

The NBA locked out its players in the hopes of constraining their salaries, boosting profitability and raising franchise values. A year later, owners should be ecstatic with the results.

The average NBA team is worth $509 million, a 30% increase over last year. The increase is due to higher revenue from television, new and renovated arenas, and the NBA’s new collective-bargaining agreement, which reduced player costs from 57% of revenues to roughly 50%. The labor deal also increased the amount of money high-revenue teams provide low-revenue teams.

Shifting the split of Basketball-Related Income from a 57/43 split for the players under the old collective bargaining agreement to roughly 50/50 was the central issue of the 2011 lockout. Each percentage point in the split was reportedly worth roughly $40 million per year, so the transfer of wealth from players to owners is enormous. The conclusion at that time was that the new split would essentially idiot-proof NBA ownership: almost no matter how well the team performed or what size market it played in, an owner could be virtually guaranteed profitability given the cut in player expenses.

According to Forbes, 22 of the 30 NBA teams showed a profit in the first year of the new deal. Last year’s Forbes study reported that only 15 of the 30 NBA teams showed a profit.

The Bulls ($800 million), Celtics ($730 million) and Mavericks ($685 million) fill out the top five most valuable franchises in this year’s rankings. Here’s a look at how each ranked compared to 2012.

The NBA's most valuable franchises saw huge increases in their worth this year. (Data via Forbes)

The NBA’s most valuable franchises saw huge increases in their worth this year. (Data via Forbes)

Here’s how the remaining teams came out: 6. Miami Heat ($625 million); 7. Houston Rockets ($568 million); 8. Golden State Warriors ($555 million); 9. Brooklyn Nets ($530 million); 10. San Antonio Spurs ($527 million); 11. Sacramento Kings ($525 million); 12. Oklahoma City Thunder ($475 million); 13. Phoenix Suns: ($474 million); 14. Orlando Magic ($470 million); 15. Portland Trail Blazers ($457 million); 16. Cleveland Cavaliers ($434 million); 17. Utah Jazz ($432 million); 18. Los Angeles Clippers ($430 million); 19. Denver Nuggets ($427 million); 20. Philadelphia 76ers ($418 million); 21. Toronto Raptors ($405 million); 22. Detroit Pistons ($400 million); 23. Washington Wizards ($397 million); 24. Indiana Pacers ($383 million); 25. Memphis Grizzlies ($377 million); 26. Minnesota Timberwolves ($364 million); 27. New Orleans Hornets ($340 million); 28. Atlanta Hawks ($316 million); 29. Charlotte Bobcats ($315 million); 30. Milwaukee Bucks ($312 million).

Forbes also released a list of the NBA’s top-earning players on Wednesday.

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