Defending NBA champion Golden State topped Forbes magazine’s list of the most valuable NBA franchises released Thursday, with the Warriors coming in at $7 billion to dethrone the New York Knicks.
The Warriors’ valuation jumped 25% from a year ago after a 2021-22 season in which Golden State generated the most revenue at $765 million and the largest operating profit at 206 millions of dollars.
Golden State doubled any rival club by pulling in $150 million from advertising and arena sponsorships at the $1.4 billion Chase Center in San Francisco and led the NBA with $250 million in revenue of premium seats in its first full season at the facility due to Covid-19 issues in the previous two campaigns.
It didn’t hurt that the Warriors won their fourth NBA title in eight seasons.
It’s the first time a team other than the Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers has topped the Forbes list.
The Knicks, leaders the last seven times the NBA list was compiled by Forbes, ranked second at $6.1 billion, followed by the Lakers at $5.9 billion, the Chicago Bulls at $4.1 billion. dollars and the Boston Celtics at $4 billion.
The Los Angeles Clippers were sixth with $3.9 billion, nearly double the $2 billion owner Steve Ballmer paid for the club in 2014. They will enter an arena under construction with a new rights deal denomination of 500 million dollars.
The average NBA team is worth $2.86 billion, a 15% increase from last year, with league-wide revenue hitting a record $10 billion after service arena debt. Operating profit reached a record $2.7 billion, while sponsorship and advertising revenue reached a record $1.35 billion.
Only one NBA team, the Brooklyn Nets, lost money last season, with operating profit down $34 million. The Nets still rank seventh on the NBA’s value list with $3.5 billion.
The NBA team with the biggest year-over-year increase in value was the Phoenix Suns, which jumped 50% to $2.7 billion to rank 13th on the overall value list. They were $1.8 billion in 2021.
Suns owner Robert Sarver said last month he would begin the process of selling the Suns after an independent investigation revealed racist and misogynistic remarks and bullying. Sarver was suspended for a year and fined $10 million, but many top players felt the penalty was too light.
With the Suns up for sale, the likely sale price should shatter Ballmer’s buyout price from eight years ago as an all-time NBA record whenever a deal is reached.
The New Orleans Pelicans were ranked the least valuable NBA franchise at $1.6 billion, still a 5% jump from last year, with the Memphis Grizzlies just above them at $1.65 billion. Others in the bottom five included the $1.8 billion Indiana Pacers at No. 26, the No. 27 Charlotte Hornets at $1.7 billion and the No. 28 Minnesota Timberwolves at $1.67 billion.
The growth in media rights comes with the NBA’s next US TV deal starting in the 2025-26 season and the price is expected to double the current $2.66 billion per year from ESPN and Turner Sports.