While it might not attract as many fans as the NFL, the NBA is quickly growing into a monster in its own right. Over the last year, the average NBA franchise’s value has risen to $1.1 billion. That’s a ridiculous increase of 74% in such a short amount of time. In fact Forbes states that it’s the largest one year gain since they’d started evaluating the four major U.S. sports back in 1998. There are now 11 NBA franchises worth over $1 billion. Compare that to only three years prior and you can see just how much the NBA is growing.
The league recently signed expanded contracts with Walt Disney and Time Warner. The deals should be worth around $2.66 billion a year. Just to put that into perspective, this would pay out almost triple of the previous contract. It’s no surprise that TV networks are jumping at the opportunity to associate themselves with the NBA. The Finals this past year were the most watched since 1998, and had the highest ratings since 2001. What’s more, the recent NBA draft drew in 3.7 million viewers on ESPN, which makes it the most watched NBA draft on record.
As it continues to grow larger inside the United States there is a ton of potential for Basketball outside of the country as well. There were 101 foreign players from 37 different countries on opening day rosters last year. That’s a lot of people outside of the U.S. who’ve made it into the NBA. While none of these players were from China, there are over 300 million people playing the sport over there according to the Chinese Basketball Association. Perhaps China could turn into a potential candidate for an NBA franchise in the future. Commissioner Adam Silver already said that he wants to launch four franchises in Europe. That’s not too much of a surprise considering the league’s international revenue of $350 million last year. A number that’s been growing annually at 18%.
30 Milwaukee Bucks – $600 Million
29 Minnesota Timberwolves - $625 Million
28 New Orleans Pelicans - $650 Million
27 Philadelphia 76ers – $700 Million
26 Charlotte Hornets - $725 Million
25 Memphis Grizzlies – $750 Million
24 Sacramento Kings – $800 Million
23 Detroit Pistons – $810 Million
22 Atlanta Hawks – $825 Million
21 Indiana Pacers – $830 Million
20 Utah Jazz – $850 Million
19 Denver Nuggets – $855 Million
18 Orlando Magic – $875 Million
17 Washington Wizards – $900 Million
16 Phoenix Suns – $910 Million
15 Cleveland Cavaliers – $915 Million
14 Toronto Raptors – $920 Million
13 Oklahoma City Thunder – $930 Million
12 Portland Trail Blazers – $940 Million
11 San Antonio Spurs – $1 Billion
10 Dallas Mavericks – $1.15 Billion
9 Miami Heat – $1.175 Billion
8 Houston Rockets – $1.25 Billion
7 Golden State Warriors – $1.3 Billion
6 Brooklyn Nets – $1.5 Billion
5 Los Angeles Clippers – $1.6 Billion
4 Boston Celtics – $1.7 Billion
3 Chicago Bulls – $2 Billion
2 New York Knicks – $2.5 Billion
1 Los Angeles Lakers – $2.6 Billion
The Lakers are another team that have missed out on the playoffs these last couple years. But unlike the Knicks, the Lakers have a long history of winning, which makes their recent struggles all the more strange. Obviously every franchise can’t consistently stay a contender throughout a prolonged period of time and there’s always a point where teams drop off the radar and have to rebuild. Maybe this is what’s happening to the Lakers. Two seasons ago, their monstrous 270-game sellout streak, which lasted them some seven years, came to an end. It could be the first of many changes Lakers fans might have to get used to in the near future.
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