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Study: New York Knicks top NBA franchise valuation list at US$5.42bn

Golden State Warriors named second, with LA Lakers third in Sportico report.

19 January 2021 Ed Dixon

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  • Average NBA franchise worth nearly US$2.4bn
  • Cumulative revenue for league’s 30 teams down nearly 10% to US$8.3bn

The New York Knicks have been named the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) most valuable franchise in Sportico’s 2021 Franchise Valuations Report.

The study put the total value of the Knicks at US$5.42 billion, of which US$1 billion came from team-related businesses and real estate, with the remainder coming from team value.

The Golden State Warriors were second with a total value of US$5.21 billion, while defending NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers were third with US$5.14 billion.

Though missing out on overall top sport, the Warriors did post the highest revenue for 2019/20 with US$434 million, a year-on-year (YoY) fall of two per cent. On this front, the Knicks and Lakers were second and third, bringing in US$428 million and US$418 million respectively, both down nine per cent YoY.

Rounding out the overall top five, following a considerable drop, are the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics, who are worth US$3.4 billion and US$3.18 billion respectively.

Bottom of Sportico’s rankings were the New Orleans Pelicans, who were valued at US$1.35 billion. This put them narrowly behind the Memphis Grizzlies, who were pegged at US$1.36 billion.

From a percentage standpoint, the 2019/20 NBA champions the Toronto Raptors suffered the biggest revenue drop, falling 14 per cent from US$341 million to US$292 million YoY. Cumulative revenue for the North American basketball league’s 30 teams was US$8.3 billion, down by nearly ten per cent from the previous campaign, which was not affected by Covid-19.

Despite this, national revenues, which came predominantly from the NBA’s broadcast and sponsorship deals, as well as its licensing programme, dropped only two per cent. This was mainly thanks to the league managing to complete its season, doing so in a bubble environment at Orlando’s Walt Disney World

The data compiled by Sportico shows that the average NBA franchise is worth nearly US$2.4 billion. This is down two per cent as a direct result of Covid-19. Collectively, the fair-market value of the league’s 30 teams, including ownership’s stakes in real estate, regional sports networks and additional team-related holdings, is more than US$71 billion.

With the Knicks, Warriors and Lakers all topping US$5 billion in value, this gives them a greater fair-market value than any National Football League (NFL) team, except for the Dallas Cowboys at US$6.43 billion, based on Sportico’s football team valuations released last August.

Despite dreadful form on the court, including posting a losing record over 16 of the last 19 seasons, the Knicks still continue to strike lucrative commercial contracts, drawing on their enticing New York location.

“They’ve sold naming rights without giving up the name,” a sports banker told Sportico, on the condition of anonymity, referring to a deal where JPMorgan Chase & Co sponsors specific portions of the Knick’s Madison Square Garden home arena.

Such a deal is an example of how the venue’s two-year, US$1 billion renovation, which finished in 2013, continues to draw on New York’s rich corporate base to maximise revenue.

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