The Knicks might not be platinum-plated playoff contenders, but as far as franchise worth goes, they are the NBA Champs. While management, luck and ownership has failed the Knicks at times over the past 20 years, New Yorkers and the way they value and support their sports franchises like no other place in the world, has kept the Knicks worth at a premium.
So don’t believe these lies NBA players and anti-New York social media types tell you when they say an “NBA player can get paid anywhere. He doesn’t have to play in New York.”
Well, that’s not exactly accurate. New York is still the stairway to financial heaven, fame and opportunity. According to the estimates Forbes released Thursday, James Dolan’s franchise is the most valuable in the NBA at $3 billion, rising from second last year behind the Lakers. It’s a 20 percent increase from Forbes’ 2015 estimate, and now about $300 million more than the Lakers.
Overall, the Knicks are the seventh most valuable franchise in the world behind the Cowboys ($4 billion), Real Madrid ($3.65 billion), Barcelona ($3.55 billion), Yankees ($3.4 billion), Manchester United ($3.32 billion) and the Patriots ($3.2 billion).
The Bulls are the third most valuable NBA team on the list at $2.3 billion. The Brooklyn Nets’ estimated worth is $1.7 billion.The Nets are another NBA money-maker siting off Atlantic Ave, in the heart of the Big Apple’s burgeoning downtown Brooklyn area.
Good thing for NBA salary caps, or the Knicks and Nets would both be perennial contenders for championships and would immediately turn into a "destination spot" for top notch free agents because if players could get paid whatever ownership wanted like in baseball, the game would be fixed for New York teams to always succeed, because they spend the most money and have the greatest resources, as well as the wealthiest fans overall.
Don’t get it twisted.
The influx of money from the $24 billion contract with ESPN and Turner broadcasting raised the value of every NBA franchise. However, the Knicks, despite missing the playoffs for a third consecutive year, benefited from a 31 percent boost in local TV ratings last season thanks in large part to the emergence of Kristaps Porzingis. So Phil Jackson didn’t get us in the playoffs, but he filled Dolan’s pockets and sparked a re-interest in the team within the city.
They were second overall — behind only the Golden State Warriors — in average audience size, according to the Sports Business Journal.
So you can't say people don’t watch the Knicks either, which has been a common opinion among New York haters and disgruntled hometown fans.
The valuation of the franchise was also boosted by the recent $1 billion in renovations at Madison Square Garden, which hosts a bevy of other sports, music and entertainment events throughout the year. The arrival of Phil's "Jackson Five" free agent collabo should increase figues next season for a team that posted the highest valuation ever from Forbes for an NBA franchise.
The Dolan’s money moves in one direction -- up. It’s only a matter of time before players start wanting to take their business objectives to a next level, beyond just having max contracts, and discover that balling in New York is the easiest and fastest way to make it happen.