Things have not been going well for fans of the New York Knicks recently to say the least. Already locked into their sixth straight losing season their 16th in the last 18 campaigns the Knicks also traded away their first home-grown superstar in decades with the hope of solving their issues through free agency.
But things are doing very well for Knicks owner James Dolan, all things considered. His franchise remained the most highly-valued in the league, according to Forbes, and is the first in the NBA to cross the $4 billion mark.
With a valuation that equals the New York Yankees, the Knicks now only trail the Dallas Cowboys ($5 billion) as the most valuable American sports franchise. The product on the court may not be great (yet), but Dolan’s billion-dollar renovation to Madison Square Garden is paying off, and the league’s second-biggest local cable deal helps the Knicks continue to print money.
Forbes released its annual valuation of the league’s 30 franchises with each team reaching at least $1 billion for just the second time. The average team is worth $1.9 billion, which is up 13 percent from last year and up 200 percent from five years ago. Every team improved from last season with the exception of the Cleveland Cavaliers, which of course, lost LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The league’s exploding revenues have largely been goosed by large TV deals. TNT and ESPN’s $24 billion TV deal is split evenly between the teams, and Forbes reports that teams received more than $110 million last season from various shared revenues such as sponsorships, licensing and national media.
There are several reasons for why teams improve in value so much. For starters, the less a team is valued, the easier it is for it to rise in value as a percentage, which is why seven of the 10 most improved teams are currently among the 12 lowest in value.
However, those key television deals are also major drivers of revenue. The Trail Blazers and Hornets both started new television deals last season that more than doubled in size, while the Bucks began a new TV deal and opened a new arena at the start of this season.