It’s been a rough year for the NBA as a business. We started with Daryl Morey tweeting support to Hong Kong and pissing off NBA’s largest international partner. As the dust settled, Zion reaggravated his knee and sat out a lot of nationally televised games. TV ratings are down across the board, and the league office finally started to pitch playing fewer games in the regular season. How did it reflect on Forbes’ team valuation? Here are the key points:
- For the first time in history, the average NBA team is worth more than $2 billion
- The average NBA team value is $2.12 billion, up 14% over last year
- The Toronto Raptors (25%) and Warriors (23%) had the biggest value gains
- Six teams earned more than $100 million, led by the Los Angeles Lakers at $178 million
- OKC were the only team to lose money on an operating basis with a loss of $23 million thanks to a $61 million luxury tax bill on their high payroll
“Despite the noise around lower TV ratings and business problems in China, NBA franchise values continue to soar and are up 14%, compared to an 11% increase for NFL teams and 8% in Major League Baseball”Forbes senior editor Kurt Badenhausen
The key here is a stat by Nielsen: The NBA’s average viewership age is 43 versus 52 for the NFL and 59 for MLB. While TV ratings are down, streaming viewership is up 30% and will only continue to grow. The game also has the best position to grow in international markets. The NBA is available in 215 countries worldwide. This season started with a Greek MVP, Slovenian Rookie of the Year, French Defensive Player of the Year, and Most Improved Player from Cameroon.
Once again, the Knicks are at the top valued at $4.6 billion. Two more teams are in the $4 billion club: Lakers at $4.4 billion and Warriors at $4.3 billion. If you’re strapped for cash but would still like to buy an NBA team, your best bet, according to Forbes, would be the Memphis Grizzlies. Forbes valued them at $1.3 billion. You can find the full list here.