Los Angeles Lakers: The NBA’s Most Valuable Franchise

by January 25, 2012

Move over New York Knickerbockers, it’s the Lakers’ turn to sit atop the list of the most valuable franchises in the NBA. According to Forbes: “Blockbuster television deals and a new collective bargaining agreement have lifted the value of the average NBA team to a record $393 million, up 6.5% over last year. No team has benefited more from the explosion in TV money than the Los Angeles Lakers, who have unseated the New York Knicks as the league’s most valuable franchise. The Lakers struck gold last year with a new 20-year television deal with Time Warner Cable worth an average of $200 million annually beginning with the 2012–13 season. The agreement drives the value of the Lakers up an NBA-high 40% to $900 million. Time Warner will create two new regional sports channels to feature the Lakers, one in English and one in Spanish. The Lakers have by far the biggest TV audience of any NBA club, averaging 271,000 households on Fox Sports West last season, which was 73% higher than the next-most-watched team, the Chicago Bulls. The NBA’s TV ratings soared nationally and locally last year, jumping more than 50% on regional sports networks for at least eight teams. TNT and Walt Disney‘s ESPN/ABC pay $930 million a year on average for rights to NBA games nationally. All three benefited from the hype surrounding LeBron James’ move to the Miami Heat, with ratings up 45% for games on TNT, 30% on ABC and 29% on ESPN. In an increasingly DVR-saturated environment, media companies will pay up for sports — it’s one of the few programming options left that guarantee a large number of eyeballs for advertisers.”