Not only do the Milwaukee Bucks currently own the league’s worst record, they’re also the NBA’s least valuable franchise, according to a Forbes Magazine report released Wednesday.
Despite turning an $11 million profit in 2013, the Bucks rank last on the list with a total value of $405 million. By comparison, the New York Knicks – the number one team – are valued at $1.4 billion after bringing in a record $96 million last season. Not surprisingly, the Los Angeles Lakers checked in at number two with a value of $1.35 billion, despite shelling out nearly $30 million in luxury taxes. The Bulls ($1 billion), Celtics ($875 million) and Nets ($870) rounded out the top five.
Brooklyn’s case is especially interesting, as the franchise’s recent facelift – complete with a move to the Barclays Center – has resulted in a drastic increase in value. Over the past year the Nets’ value rose by 47 percent, due in large part to the rebranding efforts of owner Mikhail Prokhorov. But the Nets are on the short list of teams that operated at a loss last season. Despite bringing in $190 million in revenue, the team’s outrageous payroll more than offset its earnings. This season, according to Forbes, the Nets’ $101 million payroll – plus a probable luxury tax bill of around $80 million – is expected to net the franchise at least $50 million in losses.
The Hawks, 76ers and Timberwolves also experienced deficits in 2013, though none lost more than $3.8 million.
In the case of the Bucks, the franchise’s value is limited by a number of factors; most notably, a 26-year-old arena in desperate need of renovations. In the offseason, the BMO Harris Bradley Center was deemed “unfit” for the league by Adam Silver. Its luxury boxes received a $3 million upgrade, but a drastic renovation – or an entirely new arena – will be necessary in the very near future if the city desire to keep the team. The Bucks’ lease runs through 2017 and the team holds limited stake in suite, merchandize and concession sales, according to Forbes.
Overall, the league’s value continues its sharp, upward climb since soon-to-be-ex-commissioner David Stern took over 30 years ago. The NBA’s 30 teams are worth a combined $19 billion – a stark contrast from the $400 million valuation in 1984. On average, an NBA franchise is now worth $634 million, a 25 percent leap over last season.