The Knicks have been ranked the most valuable team by Forbes, raking in $3 billion. The publication credits the team’s television deal and a renovated Madison Square Garden with the highest suite prices in the league, which made the team’s value jump 20% to $3 billion.
The team is also the fourth most valuable among U.S. sports franchises, with Dallas Cowboys (at $4 billion) being No.1, New England Patriots (at $3.2 billion) at No. 2 and New York Yankees (at $3.2 billion) at No. 3, according to Forbes.
The Knicks bumped the Los Angeles Lakers out of their top spot, with LA coming in on the list at $2.7 billion. The rest of the top five were the Chicago Bulls (at $2.3 billion), Boston Celtics (at $2.1 billion) and the Los Angeles Clippers at $2 billion.
The Knicks’ current owners bought the team, the NHL’s Rangers, Madison Square Garden and the MSG Network for $1.1 billion in 1994.
The Golden State Warriors, which reportedly saw the most impressive rise in value, was purchased by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber for a then-record $450 million in July 2010. The Dallas Mavericks also saw a substantial return on investment, as the team was bought by Mark Cuban in 2000 for $285 million and is now worth $1.4 billion, according to Forbes, a 250% jump over the last 16 years.
For long-term owners, the return has been tremendous, with Laker’s owner Jerry Buss having bought the team in 1979 for $16 million. By 1990, the team was said to be worth a league-record $200 million.
Another New York team is in the top 10, the Brooklyn Nets, standing at $1.7 billion. Though the team has reportedly struggled to draw fans to Barclays (as attendance ranks among NBA’s lower numbers in the 2015-16 season), the franchise extended its local cable TV deal with the Fox-owned YES Network before the start of the season part of a pact deal that has the potential to increase its rights fee to an annual average of around $40 million, according to the Sports Business Journal.
The New Orleans Pelicans stands as the least valuable on the list, standing at $650 million. However, Tom Benson, the league’s owner, is not so far from doubling his investment since buying the team for $338 million in 2012.