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Purchase Price of Each NBA Franchise

For the super rich, there are many ways in which they can utilize their vast wealth from mansions to yachts to trips to space but one of the splashiest ways to use your wealth is to buy a sports team. And for the most part, this has been an extremely wise investment as the values of major North American sports franchises have done nothing but go up.

When it comes to the NBA, quite a few fortunes has been made by owners who had stakes in franchises in 80's and earlier when the prospects for the NBA weren't as attractive as they are today.

For example, businessman Herb Kohl purchased the Milwaukee Bucks for $18M in 1985, ensured the team stayed in Wisconsin (a wise move as Kohl was elected to the Senate by the people of Wisconsin in 1988).

Since Kohl purchased the Bucks a lot has changed in the game, every game is now televised live and shown in 200+ countries around the world where many games were viewed via tape-delay. And as such, franchise values have skyrocketed as league-wide revenues have increased - during the 1982-83 season, NBA revenues were $118M ($280.9M in 2014 dollars) which has now grown to $4.6B for the 2012-13 season.

How has Kohl's $18M investment performed? He sold the franchise in 2014 for $550M, which is an NBA record and represents an annual rate of return of 12.07%.

Here is a look at the purchase price of each NBA team by their current franchise owner: 

Franchise Principal Owner(s) Owned Since Purchase Price
Atlanta Hawks Bruce Levenson, Michael Gearon 2004 $208,000,000
Boston Celtics H. Irving Grousbeck, Wycliffe Grousbeck, Steve Pagliuca 2003 $360,000,000
Brooklyn Nets Mikhail Prokhorov, Bruce Ratner 2010 $200,000,000
Charlotte Hornets Michael Jordan 2010 $175,000,000
Chicago Bulls Jerry Reinsdorf 1985 $16,000,000
Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert, Gary Gilbert, Gordon Gund 2005 $375,000,000
Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban 2000 $280,000,000
Denver Nuggets Stan Kroenke 2000 $202,000,000
Detroit Pistons Tom Gores 2011 $325,000,000
Golden State Warriors Peter Guber, Joe Lacob 2010 $450,000,000
Houston Rockets Leslie Alexander 1993 $85,000,000
Indiana Pacers Herbert Simon 1983 $11,000,000
Los Angeles Clippers Steve Ballmer 2014 $2,000,000,000
Los Angeles Lakers Johnny, Jim and Jeanie Buss, Jerry Buss family trust 1979 $16,000,000
Memphis Grizzlies Robert J. Pera 2012 $350,000,000
Miami Heat Micky Arison 1995 $33,000,000
Milwaukee Bucks Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry 2014 $550,000,000
Minnesota Timberwolves Glen Taylor 1995 $89,000,000
New Orleans Pelicans Tom Benson 2012 $338,000,000
New York Knicks James Dolan 1997 $300,000,000
Oklahoma City Thunder Clayton Bennett 2006 $325,000,000
Orlando Magic Richard DeVos 1991 $85,000,000
Philadelphia 76ers Joshua Harris, Adam Aron 2011 $280,000,000
Phoenix Suns Robert Sarver 2004 $404,000,000
Portland Trail Blazers Paul Allen 1988 $70,000,000
Sacramento Kings Vivek Ranadivé 2013 $535,000,000
San Antonio Spurs Peter Holt 1993 $75,000,000
Toronto Raptors Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Larry Tanenbaum 1998 $179,000,000
Utah Jazz Greg Miller 1985 $24,000,000
Washington Wizards Ted Leonsis 2010 $350,000,000

NBA record sale price for a team = $2,000,000,000 to Steve Ballmer for the Los Angeles Clippers, which is 3.5x as much as the previous high of $550,000,000 to Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Lowest sale price since 1990 = $33,000,000 to Micky Arison for the Miami Heat

Lowest sale price since 2000 = $175,000,000 to Michael Jordan for the Charlotte Hornets

Total amount paid by current owners for the 30 franchises - $8,891,000,000. 


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