The NBA’s Most Valuable Teams 2023

Less than four years ago, the entry price for an NBA expansion team was $2.5 billion. Once the league signs off on its next round of central media rights deals, that number will balloon to $4 billion to $5 billion.

Today, the average NBA team is worth $3.85 billion, an increase of 35% from a year ago and 75% higher than in 2019. And with the league set to rake in some $13 billion this season (before debt payments and revenue sharing), 23% more than last season, valuations are still heading skyward.

One of the NBA’s growth areas is sponsorships, which inched up last season but could see double-digit growth during the 2022-23 campaign due to the league’s new in-season tournament and more jersey patch deals, like the once recently inked by the New York Knicks.

And while the Denver Nuggets may have captured the NBA title last season, no one is close to usurping the Golden State Warriors, who are the league’s most valuable team for the second consecutive year at $7.7 billion, up 10% from a year ago. The Warriors generated $765 million in revenue (net of arena debt service and revenue sharing during the 2022-23 season), 48% more the any other team. The Knicks ($6.6 billion) and Los Angeles Lakers ($6.4 billion) are the other teams worth more than $6 billion.

The surge in values this year was driven by the two sales of NBA teams during the past 12 months—the Phoenix Suns sold for $4 billion to Matt and Justin Ishbia in February, and in August, Michael Jordan sold the Charlotte Hornets for $3 billion to Rick Schnall and Gabe Plotkin—as well as 25% of the Milwaukee Bucks at a $3.2 billion valuation by Jimmy and Dee Haslam in April. (Marc Lasry’s minority stake sale to the Haslams was included because the new owners will rotate with majority owner Wes Edens as governors of the team.)

The three transactions are among the top four all-time NBA sale prices and underscore the lofty multiples of revenue buyers are willing to pony up to own a team. The Suns went for 13.2 times revenue, second to the 13.7 revenue multiple that Steve Ballmer paid for the Los Angeles Clippers in 201. Meanwhile, the deals for the Bucks and Hornets were valued at 9.7- and 11.2-times revenue, respectively. By contrast, Robert Sarver paid 3.6 times revenue for the Suns in 2004, Edens and Lasry paid 5 times revenue for the Bucks in 2014 and Michael Jordon paid less than twice the revenue for the Hornets (then the Bobcats) in 2010.

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