New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers Now Worth Over $1 Billion

by January 23, 2013

According to Forbes and its annual publication of NBA franchise values, the Knicks and Lakers have become the first  teams to be worth over $1 billion. New York is the richest team in the League, and over the 10 last years, the Boston Celtics are the ones who’ve seen their value increase the most. Over on the players’ side, Kobe Bryant is the one projected to rake in the most cash this season: “NBA commissioner David Stern was vilified by fans and players for his role in the lockout that erased 20% of last season. But Stern works for the owners, and it appears the commish, who is retiring in 12 months after 30 years in charge, is going out on top. Stern is worth every penny of his salary, estimated to approach $20 million. 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. The New York Knicks are the league’s most valuable team, worth $1.1 billion, reclaiming the crown from the Los Angeles Lakers, who topped last year’s list. The Knicks’ value rose 41%, mainly due to a $980 million renovation of Madison Square Garden that is expected to be completed this summer. The makeover resulted in an NBA-leading $243 million in revenue last season. The Knicks’ operating income of $83 million was the highest in the league for a third straight year. Another plus: better play. In 2012, the Knicks won a playoff game for the first time since 2001. […] The Lakers rank No. 2, worth $1 billion, up 11% from last year. The Lakers and Knicks are the first NBA teams to be valued at 10-figures. The Lakers’ revenue will surge this season with the start of their new 20-year, $3.6 billion television deal with Time Warner Cable. Two new regional sports networks, Time Warner Cable Sportsnet and Time Warner Cable Deportes, got off to fast starts, with Time Warner striking carriage deals before the season began with DirecTV, Cox, Verizon, AT&T and Charter at monthly rates approaching $4 per cable subscriber. […] The outlook for the NBA is strong, with stars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant in their prime and formerly weak franchises revitalized in the big markets of New York (Nets) and Los Angeles (Clippers). The NBA expects league-wide revenues to top $5 billion this year. The league’s $930 million-a-year deal with ESPN and TNT runs through the 2015-16 season and should more than double under the contract.”