According to Forbes, the Golden State Warriors are now the league’s most valuable franchise, worth an estimated $7 billion. It’s good to be Warriors majority owners Joe Lacob and Peter Gruber. But is their business acumen the reason for all the financial success or is it the sublime play and global popularity of Stephen Curry?
Which Team Is NBA’s Most Valuable Franchise?
For the first time in 20 years, a team not named the New York Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers is the NBA’s most valuable franchise. This is noteworthy as league commissioner Adam Silver weighs the proper timing for expansion, the new television rights broadcast deal, and a new collective bargaining agreement.
Fresh off the franchise’s seventh championship overall and fourth in the Curry era, this is what Lacob and Gruber hoped for when they purchased the team back in 2010 for $450 million. That’s a ridiculous return on investment in just 12 years.
Which NBA Team Generated Most revenue In 2021?
Last season the Warriors generated the most revenue in the NBA at $765 million after paying their revenue-sharing check. They also had the most operating income at $206 million.
Lacob and Gruber opened the state-of-the-art Chase Center in downtown San Francisco in 2019 as the home of the Warriors with the hopes of an only of its kind entertainment center. Like every other business, COVID-19 interrupted those plans and they were unable to generate the type of revenue originally forecasted.
Last season was the first year the Warriors played at Chase with no fan restrictions and at full capacity. As local governments began to ease restrictions on public events, the business side of the Warriors franchise went full throttle in securing sponsorship and partner deals.
The Warriors made a whopping $150 million from arena sponsorships and advertising, double any other team, and raked in more than $250 million from premium seating, outpacing every other team in the league by a wide margin.
How Did Golden State Surpasses Knicks and Lakers As NBA’s Most Valuable Franchise?
Sponsors, advertisers and any other business entity looking to spend money to generate brand awareness and ultimately drive bottom line production don’t just hand money over. They wan to be sure of their ROI.
The Warriors played 41 of their 82 games on ESPN, ABC or TNT last season, the most in the league. All 22 of their postseason games were also on national television. They are the league’s biggest draw.
The on-court play is excellent, as evinced by their fourth title in the past eight seasons. They played in the NBA Finals in six of those seasons.
Wardell Stephen Curry is the biggest reason why. Since 2015 Curry has played at an MVP level, minus the 2019 season when he was injured. His style of play enraptures the senses and blows the mind. His limitless range makes it seem as though anything is possible on the court.
That leads to wins. Lots of them, and popularity.
Diehard NBA fans may not clamor for Curry and the Warriors but the casual fan does, and that’s who drives the revenue of the league.
Stephen Curry’s Global Popularity Drives Golden State Money Train
Ask someone who isn’t completely oblivious to sports if they’ve ever heard of Nikola Jokic or Giannis Antetokounmpo, winners of the past four league MVPs, and you’ll likely get a no. But ask if they’ve heard of Curry. You’ll almost certainly get a yes.
If the NBA is a television drama with an ensemble cast, he is the first name at the top of the first call sheet.
The Warriors are off to a slow start this season, under .500, and Curry will be sidelined into the new year with a shoulder injury. They still play 42 of their 82 regular season games on national television.
As Curry and his core championship teammates Klay Thompson and Draymond Green age out and new younger players become the core of the team, will the success earned during the Curry years on the business side maintain?
Time will tell.