What Is The Price For An NBA Expansion Franchise?

It’s expensive.

The National Basketball Association has no expansion plans on the table at the moment. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and his owners probably wants to get a new TV deal and a new collective bargaining agreement with the players before thinking of an expansion into one or two North American markets. The league apparently wants to take a close look at Mexico City as well and stage more than just a couple games in the Mexican capital and judge Mexico City’s viability as a basketball market. However, if the NBA does decide to add teams in 2024 or 2025, how much will it charge for an expansion franchise? Three teams now have been sold for more than $2 billion each, the Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets and Brooklyn Nets over the past few years. What would the price be for say Seattle NBA backers who want a return of the league to the Pacific Northwest city? Seattle does have a good corporate and TV market and someone in that city might be able to come up with the billions of dollars now needed to buy into the NBA.

Other much smaller markets might want to get into the NBA. Louisville is one of those markets. Seattle seems to have an NBA 21st century state of the art building that is two years away from opening. But Louisville doesn’t. There are not many markets such as Kansas City that seem to have the wealth that is needed to buy into the NBA. Seattle may be the only United States city that fits the need with strong government support to get a building approved or in Seattle’s case renovated, a robust TV market and a great corporate base. There may be possible owners in other cities but unless a possible owner wants to make a vanity purchase, the price of buying into the NBA might be prohibitive in many markets.

Photo: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
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