NY Knicks retain top spot as most valuable NBA team: Forbes

By Frank Pingue
Reuters
Jan 27, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) dunks against Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson (0) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 27, 2019; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Mario Hezonja (8) dunks against Miami Heat guard Josh Richardson (0) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - The New York Knicks are the NBA's most valuable team for a fourth consecutive year, according to an annual list published by business magazine Forbes on Wednesday.

The Knicks have not made the playoffs since 2013 but their value rose to $4 billion, up 11 percent from a year ago, due to a series of new revenue streams made possible by a renovation to Madison Square Garden.

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The Los Angeles Lakers ($3.7 billion), reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors ($3.5 billion), Chicago Bulls ($2.9 billion) and Boston Celtics ($2.8 billion) rounded out the top five, Forbes said in a statement.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, faced with a long-term rebuild after losing three-time NBA champion LeBron James to free agency last offseason, were the only franchise to lose money on an operating basis and decrease in value.

The Cavaliers slipped 10 spots to 25th on the list and are now worth $1.28 billion, down 4 percent from last year.

According to Forbes, the average NBA franchise is now worth $1.9 billion, up 13 percent over last year, and three times the amount from five years ago.

To explain the jump in average team value, Forbes said each of the NBA's 30 franchises received more than $110 million last season from equally-shared revenue like national media, sponsorships, licensing and international streams.

"In the beginning of the decade, more than half of the NBA teams were losing money, and now the average operating profit is double the level it was two years ago," said Forbes' senior editor Kurt Badenhausen.

"Teams have benefited from the NBA's $24 billion TV contract with TNT and ESPN, which kicked off with the 2016-17 season, as well as the collective bargaining agreement reducing the share of revenue players receive."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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