Reigning NBA champion Golden State topped the list of most valuable NBA franchises released on Thursday by Forbes magazine, 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 greatest operating income at $206 million.
Golden State doubled any rival club by pulling in $150 million from arena advertising and sponsorships at the $1.4 billion Chase Center in San Francisco and led the NBA with $250 million in premium seating revenue in its first full season at the facility due to Covid-19 issues in the two prior campaigns.
It didn't hurt that the Warriors captured their fourth NBA title in eight seasons.
This marks the first time a team other than the Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers has topped the Forbes list.
The Knicks, leaders the past 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 and the Boston Celtics at $4 billion.
The Los Angeles Clippers were sixth at $3.9 billion -- nearly twice the $2 billion owner Steve Ballmer paid for the club in 2014. They will move into an under-construction arena with a new $500 million naming-rights deal.
The average NBA team is worth $2.86 billion, a 15% increase from last year, with league-wide revenue at a record $10 billion after arena debt servicing. Operating income was at 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 income down $34 million. The Nets still rank seventh on the NBA value list at $3.5 billion.
The NBA team with the greatest one-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 at $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 uncovered racist and misogynist remarks and bullying. Sarver was suspended for a year and fined $10 million but many top players saw that punishment as too light.
With the Suns up for sale, the likely selling price is expected to shatter Ballmer's purchase price from eight years ago as the NBA's all-time record whenever a deal is done.
The New Orleans Pelicans were rated 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 Indiana Pacers at $1.8 billion in 26th, the Charlotte Hornets in 27th at $1.7 billion and the Minnesota Timberwolves in 28th at $1.67 billion.
Growth in media rights is coming with the NBA's next US television deal starting in the 2025-26 season and the price is likely to double the current $2.66 billion a year from ESPN and Turner Sports.
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