Sports ticket pricing is increasingly sophisticated, and the Kings are in the forefront. Dale Kasler The Sacramento Bee
Sports ticket pricing is increasingly sophisticated, and the Kings are in the forefront. Dale Kasler The Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Kings

Forbes: Kings value surpasses $1 billion, ranks 15th among NBA franchises

By Matt Kawahara

mkawahara@sacbee.com

February 15, 2017 02:54 PM

UPDATED February 15, 2017 06:55 PM

Forbes released its annual list of the NBA’s most valuable teams Wednesday morning with the Kings valued above $1 billion for the first time.

The Kings are worth $1.075 billion, according to the publication, a 16 percent increase over last year and more than twice what a group led by principal owner Vivek Ranadive paid for the team less than four years ago. Ranadive’s group bought the Kings for $534 million in May 2013.

The Kings, ranked 15th on this year’s list, are part of a leaguewide trend. Forbes valued the average NBA franchise at $1.36 billion, with 18 teams worth more than $1 billion. Five years ago, the Lakers were Forbes’ most valuable team at $900 million.

Forbes attributed the upsurge to the NBA’s lucrative media deals with ESPN and TNT, a seven-year collective-bargaining agreement reached in December and increased opportunities for the league in international markets.

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For the Kings, their value was boosted by the October opening of Golden 1 Center, built for $557 million and billed as one of the most technologically advanced facilities in sports.

Forbes also reported the Kings’ operating profit at $18.4 million, compared with a league average of $31 million per team, which it deemed a record high.

Valued at $300 million just five years ago, the Kings have risen along with the rest of the NBA despite a lack of on-court success. The Kings have not posted a winning record since the 2005-06 season and since then have lost 65 percent of their games (301-559).

Value, though, does not necessarily come from winning. Forbes’ most valuable teams this year are the New York Knicks ($3.3 billion) and the Los Angeles Lakers ($3 billion). The Knicks last made the playoffs in 2013 and are mired in controversy between their management and both current and ex-players. The Lakers are headed for their fourth consecutive losing season.

The Golden State Warriors, who have appeared in two consecutive NBA Finals, rose to third in the Forbes rankings at $2.6 billion, marking an NBA-high 37 percent increase in value over last year.

The Kings entered Wednesday’s road game against the Warriors on a four-game winning streak and 1 1/2 games behind Denver for eighth place in the Western Conference.

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Kings ransom

A recent history of the Kings’ estimated value/ranking by Forbes:

Year: Value, rank

2017: $1.075 billion, 15th

2016: $925 million, 18th

2015: $800 million, 24th

2014: $550 million, 16th

2013: $525 million, 11th

2012: $300 million, 23rd

2011: $293 million, 24th

Kings 2017 value at a glance:

Principal owner: Vivek Ranadive

Purchase price/year: $534 million/2013

Estimated value: $1.075 billion (15th)

Revenue: $164 million

Operating income: $18.4 million

Debt/value: 47 percent

Player expense: $84 million

Gate receipts: $31 million

Wins-to-player cost ratio: 78

Revenue per fan: $41

Metro-area population: 2.2 million

2017 Forbes NBA value rankings:

1. New York Knicks, $3.3 billion

2. Los Angeles Lakers, $3 billion

3. Golden State Warriors, $2.6 billion

4. Chicago Bulls, $2.5 billion

5. Boston Celtics, $2.2 billion

6. Los Angeles Clippers, $2 billion

7. Brooklyn Nets, $1.8 billion

8. Houston Rockets, $1.65 billion

9. Dallas Mavericks, $1.45 billion

10. Miami Heat, $1.35 billion

11. Cleveland Cavaliers, $1.2 billion

12. San Antonio Spurs, $1.175 billion

13. Toronto Raptors, $1.125 billion

14. Phoenix Suns, $1.1 billion

15. Kings, $1.075 billion

16. Portland Trail Blazers, $1.05 billion

17. Oklahoma City Thunder, $1.025 billion

18. Washington Wizards, $1 billion

19. Orlando Magic, $920 million

20. Utah Jazz, $910 million

21. Detroit Pistons, $900 million

22. Denver Nuggets, $890 million

23. Atlanta Hawks, $885 million

24. Indiana Pacers, $880 million

25. Philadelphia 76ers, $800 million

26. Memphis Grizzlies, $790 million

27. Milwaukee Bucks, $785 million

28. Charlotte Hornets, $780 million

29. Minnesota Timberwolves, $770 million

30. New Orleans Pelicans, $750 million