Basketball is one of the most popular team sports in America. The sport is also present in school curricula and is a favorite pastime in neighborhoods. In the last few decades, the sport has picked up immense popularity and has become a lucrative business. With sponsorships, advertisement deals and other income-generating transactions, it is no surprise that some of the world’s biggest sports clubs are basketball teams.
It is also not a surprise that the 10 richest basketball teams all come from the National Basketball Association (NBA) of the USA. Players around the world dream of being drafted into the NBA in the hopes of getting multi-million dollar contracts that only these teams can afford.
10 The New York Knicks
The New York Knicks come in first place as the richest basketball team in the world. The Knicks are currently valued at $4 billion with an operating income of $155 million. The investments made by the Madison Square Garden Company increased its value at more than 10 percent versus the previous year. An average of 19,000 spectators attend each Knicks game. Their tickets are also priced at double the league’s average ticket price, generating more income for the team that posted $443 million in revenues.
NBA superstars were brought into the team in the last few years, an investment that is paying off today.
9 Los Angeles Lakers
When you have the capacity to sign Lebron James, you have to be in the top tier of the richest basketball teams in the world. The Los Angeles Lakers has an operating income of $147 million and is currently valued at $3.7 billion. They are one of the most successful teams in the NBA as well, with 16 titles to their name. Some of the best players that basketball has seen, including Shaquille O’Neal, Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, Jerry West, and Kobe Bryant have played with the Lakers. The team breached the $1 billion value in 2013 and has since then never looked back. Annual revenues were up by double digits versus the previous years at $395 million, making them the second richest basketball team in the world.
8 San Francisco Golden State Warriors
The investment made by owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber the past years has made the Golden State Warriors champion contenders, and with winning games came the money. Currently valued at $3.5 billion, the Warriors have recently left Oakland Arena and will call Chase Center their home starting next season. The move has secured the team contracts from sponsorships and season ticket holders that would mean an additional income of around $2 billion. The franchise is one of the most successful in recent NBA history, and they certainly have the budget to keep superstars Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on their roster.
7 Chicago Bulls
The Chicago Bulls may not have been considered title contenders in the last few seasons but they still occupy one of the top spots in the world’s richest basketball teams. Even if attendance to games has decreased due to the team’s performance on-court, the Bulls are still valued at $2.9 billion, a 10 percent increase over the previous year’s valuation. They have an operating income of $115 million against a $287 million revenue so they are expected to make changes that will improve the team in the next season. With the drafting of Coby White and Tomas Satoransky, they may stand a chance of getting to the playoffs this year.
6 Boston Celtics
The Boston Celtics have been consistent in their financial standing, retaining the 5th spot as the richest basketball team in the NBA. They are currently valued at $2.8 billion, an increase of around 12 percent from the previous year’s valuation.
The stability of the team is a good indication of its ability to provide for its players and this is one of the things that free agents look for during the offseason. With the budget that they have, the Celtics are looking forward to a rebuilding season after losing some of its key players to trade and free agency.
5 Brooklyn Nets
Currently valued at $2.35 billion, the Brooklyn Nets may not be popular as title contenders but are nevertheless financially stable as a franchise. With Alibaba co-founder Joe Tsai as its owner pending the final approval of the team’s sale, they are expected to be in a better position to compete in the next years to come. This is supported further by the signing of marquee free agents Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant over the summer. This is expected to increase the value of the team more, and to post a greater year-on-year profit than the 2 percent change experienced versus last year.
4 Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets went on sale in 2017 for $2.2 billion and two years later, they are valued at $2.3 billion. The team saw a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2018 and are likely to compete at a high level again given the budget it shelled out to keep top stars James Harden and Chris Paul in the roster. Their annual player expense at $132 million is the league’s 6th highest budget for player payroll. But with current market value and stadium income, they can still breathe and be assured that they will be financially stable in the years to come.
3 Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks may have won only a single championship since its formation, but this has not deterred the franchise from improving its value and it has only increased in the last five years. The Mavs saw an 18 percent growth versus the previous year and are currently valued at $2.3 billion. Owner Mark Cuban has made changes since he bought the team in 2000 and his investment of $285 million for the purchase has certainly paid off. The Mavericks are looking to come back and be title contenders with the addition of Kristaps Porzingis to the roster that also includes young star Luka Doncic.
2 Los Angeles Clippers
While the Los Angeles Clippers are not favorites to be title contenders, their back office is doing quite well. Currently valued at $2.2 billion, they are still one of the richest basketball teams in the world. They breached the $1 billion mark in 2015 and have steadily gained momentum over the last four years. Although only 2 percent was posted as an improvement versus the previous year’s performance, they are still on good ground. Owner Steve Ballmer is preparing for more exciting and competitive seasons with the signing of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.
1 Miami Heat
On the court, the Miami Heat are not so hot. They are still fighting to be a title contender and get off the middle spot in the team rankings. Off the court, the Heat are doing well. Currently valued at $1.7 billion, they complete the list of the world’s top ten richest basketball teams. Even after Lebron James left the team in 2014, the financial status and team valuation have not been shaken much. Fans are looking forward to seeing more players who will have better chemistry on the court so that the Heat can return to being at the top of winning games this season.