At $3B, Knicks replace Lakers atop list of NBA's most valuable franchises

The Knicks' value, $3 billion, means the team is the fourth most valuable franchise in American sports.
By Doug G. Ware  |  Updated Jan. 20, 2016 at 10:01 PM
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NEW YORK, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- Although they current sit in 10th place in the NBA's Eastern Conference and 17th place league-wide, the New York Knicks are the clear winners of professional basketball -- at least when it comes to net worth, according to a valuation by Forbes magazine.

Forbes posted its list of most valuable NBA teams on Wednesday. At the top of the list are the Knicks, worth $3 billion -- which is nearly $2 billion more than the average league franchise.

Forbes attributed the increase in the Knicks' worth to a new cable television deal the team struck with the MSG regional sports network and the most premium seating revenue in the entire league at Madison Square Garden.

The Knicks knocked the Los Angeles Lakers out of the top spot, which displaced New York on last year's list. This year's valuation put the Lakers in second place with $2.7 billion.

The Chicago Bulls ($2.3B), Boston Celtics ($2.2B) and Los Angeles Clippers ($2B) round out the top five.

In fact, the Knicks' value ranks as the fourth-highest in all of American sports -- trailing only the NFL's Dallas Cowboys ($4B) and New England Patriots ($3.2B) and Major League Baseball's New York Yankees ($3.2B).

In all, 13 NBA franchises are presently worth at least $1 billion, Forbes said. In 2013, just three teams topped $1 billion. The average worth of an NBA franchise is now $1.25 billion.

Teams ranked between Nos. 6 and 10 are the Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat.

The New Orleans Pelicans -- the league's newest franchise -- rated as the NBA's least valuable team, at $650 million. The Milwaukee Bucks ($675M), Philadelphia 76ers ($700M), Minnesota Timberwolves ($720M) and Charlotte Hornets ($750M) round out the league's five least-valued teams.

The San Antonio Spurs, champions of two out of the last three seasons, ranked 11th with $1.15 billion -- and the Cleveland Cavaliers, last year's runner up, ranked 12th ($1B)

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