NBA lands nine teams on Forbes most valuable list while OKC Thunder rank 18th in NBA

OKC Thunder T-shirts at Chesapeake Energy (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)
OKC Thunder T-shirts at Chesapeake Energy (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images) /

The value of NBA teams is on the rise as nine teams join the top 50 in valuation among all sports franchise while the OKC Thunder rank 18th in the NBA.

In the recent Forbes release of the 50 most valuable sports teams, the NBA is showcasing just how popular a sport it has become. Although American football (NFL) remains the cream of the crop the NBA is making inroads. The OKC Thunder didn’t crack the list but where they do fall among their peers is impressive given their market size.

Forbes top 50 list:

Nine teams landed in the top 50 including the lackluster Knicks who ranked highest (fifth overall) as per Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes.

"NBA teams have made the most dramatic moves this decade. The New York Knicks headline nine hoops teams in the top 50 this year. Their $4 billion value, up 11%, ranks fifth among all sports teams. The Los Angeles Lakers ($3.7 billion) and Golden State Warriors ($3.5 billion) also cracked the top 10. In 2012, the Lakers were the most valuable NBA team at $900 million and ranked 35th out of all sports franchises. The Knicks were the only other NBA team in the top 50 in 2012."

The nine teams who made the top 50 list are:

  • New York Knicks (5th)
  • Los Angeles Lakers (8th)
  • Golden State Warriors (9th)
  • Chicago Bulls (19th)
  • Boston Celtics (22nd)
  • Brooklyn Nets (37th)
  • Houston Rockets (38th)
  • Dallas Mavericks (43rd)
  • LA Clippers (44th)

As per Badenhausen owning a major league sports franchise just moved into the category of billionaires (not millionaires anymore).

"The discount bin is empty when shopping for teams in the major sports leagues. Every NFL, NBA and MLB franchise is now worth at least $1 billion."

Where the OKC Thunder rank:

Diving deeper into another Badenhausen article featured in February 2019 in Forbes offers insight on the NBA specifically. Notably. these numbers may have shifted upward since February but for all intents and purposes, the list looks to be on par with the most recent Forbes article in terms of placement.

The OKC Thunder rank 18th among their peers with a valuation of $725 million. That’s impressive given OKC is the second smallest market in the Association.

At the time of his article, the Thunder were the only team who had yet to add a sponsor patch to their uniforms which will also lead to additional revenue now that they’ve added the Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores sponsorship logo. Also of note in the article was OKC Thunder pull in revenue of $88.0 per fan.

"Total NBA revenue hit $8 billion last season, up 8.5%. In addition to the gains from TV and arena renovations, teams reaped the rewards of the NBA’s logo patch sponsorships. The three-year trial program started with the 2017-18 season, and every team except the Oklahoma City Thunder has a deal in place, at an annual rate of between $4 million and $20 million."

More from Thunder News

Moving forward, it’s hard to know what the rebuild will do to the OKC Thunder valuation given the teams ranking under them were predominantly lottery clubs or teams in small markets.

Will the loss of Russell Westbrook and Paul George affect the franchise attendance or ability to retain their 18th ranking.

Given the OKC Thunder are the only major league sport in Oklahoma City it’s unlikely the community loses interest.

The fans have always been supportive and as long as Sam Presti puts an entertaining product on the court the fanbase will continue to support the club.

OKC might be in rebuild mode but having witnessed the rise of the club from its infancy over the past 11 seasons fans will still be at Chesapeake cheering on the club.

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And, those who envision the glass half full will tell you a team of exciting youngsters will give them all the more reason to reinvest in backing the Thunder.