Forbes released its annual valuations of the National Basketball Association’s 30 teams. The New York Knicks remain in the top spot for the third consecutive year. The team is now worth $3.6 billion, which is a 9% value increase from 2017. The New York Knicks continue to profit from the $1 billion renovations to Madison Square Garden, which produced new revenue opportunities from sponsorships and seating.
The 2018 Top 10 Most Valuable Teams in the NBA.
The Los Angeles Lakers remain in second place with a value of $3.3 billion, up 10% from 2017. Rounding out the top five are the Golden State Warriors (No. 3), Chicago Bulls (No. 4) and Boston Celtics (No. 5). The Golden State Warriors’ revenue has soared with three straight trips to the NBA Finals and will is expected to grow further with the opening of their new home, Chase Center, in 2019.
The league’s 30 teams generated $7.4 billion in revenue last season, up 25% from 2017 and another record high for the league. The average NBA franchise is now worth a record $1.65 billion, up 22% over last year, and more than triple the figure of five years ago. Every NBA team is valued at $1 billion and up for the first time ever.
The average franchise earned $52 million, a 68% increase, as the league enjoys the new $24 billion TV deal with ESPN and TNT that kicked off during the 2016-17 season. Three teams, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors, earned more than $100 million, while the Cleveland Cavaliers (No. 15) was the only franchise to lose money on an operating basis due to its significant payroll and luxury tax bill.
“Investor interest in the NBA is enormous right now,” said Forbes’ senior editor Kurt Badenhausen, “thanks to the league’s strong current economic environment, as well as the international growth prospects, which are the best of any major U.S. sports league.”
Methodology: Revenues and operating income are for the 2016-17 season and net of revenue sharing and arena debt service. Team values are enterprise values (equity plus net debt) of team based on current arena deal (unless new arena pending). Operating income is earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.