The Golden State Warriors have the third-most valuable brand in the NBA, according to Forbes’ 2017 NBA team valuations. At $2.6 billion, the franchise has increased in value by thirty-seven percent from just last season, a league-best increase. This season marks the first time the franchise has ranked in the top three; only the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, at $3.3 billion and $3 billion, respectively, have more valuable brands.
Golden State has engineered a meteoric rise in its play over the past four seasons, with a second-round appearance in 2014, the franchise’s first title in 40 years in 2015, another Finals appearance last year, and of course this season the team’s four All-Stars have led the way to the best record in the league by a mile. Stephen Curry is the back-to-back NBA MVP, arguably the face of the NBA, setting records and changing the game with his wizardry. Klay Thompson, his fellow Splash Brother, is one of the best two-way players in the game and arguably the NBA’s best three-point shooter not named “Stephen Curry.” Draymond Green is a walking triple-double, a defensive monster, and one of the most indispensable forces in the NBA. And of course, the new addition, Kevin Durant is a former league MVP, scoring champion, and one of the best offensive players in NBA history. Such high-quality team play and players results in more eyeballs on television and in-arena; the Warriors had the league’s highest average cable rating last season. With more eyeballs comes higher ticket prices, even more sellouts and a bevy of new sponsors – ultimately resulting in a sterling bottom line.
Additionally, Forbes mentioned the franchise’s planned Mission Bay arena “fuel[ing] ... the increase” in value; construction recently began on the $1 billion Chase Center, scheduled to open in downtown San Francisco in 2019.
According to Forbes the Warriors had the third-largest profits in the NBA last season (despite paying $14.8 million in luxury tax bills). Record gate receipts – including a staggering $40 million during the Finals last season, before the NBA took its cut – were instrumental in that regard; the Warriors renewed 99.5% of their season-ticket holders for this season.
The Warriors are part of a trend in rising value across the whole of the league, a time of tremendous financial prosperity for the entire NBA.
The NBA’s total revenue increased thirteen percent from last season – currently a record-high $5.9 billion. The mean value of a league franchise is $1.36 billion, up nine percent from 2016 and a figure that has soared “3.5-fold over the past five years.” Key agreements that boosted league and franchise revenues included the NBA’s landmark $24 billion media rights deal with ESPN/ABC and Turner that began at the start of this season, as well as the new collective bargaining agreement, which establishes seven years of labor peace between the league and NBPA. The NBA has also rapidly advanced international operations and initiated a significant number of substantial international opportunities.
When Joe Lacob and Peter Guber purchased the franchise in 2010, they did so for a then-record-setting $450 million. Now, the value has skyrocketed to $2.6 billion; soon, it may very well hit $3 billion.