Sacramento Kings

Forbes: Kings value surpasses $1 billion, ranks 15th among NBA franchises

Forbes released its annual list of the NBA’s most valuable teams Wednesday morning with the Kings valued above $1 billion for the first time.

The Kings are worth $1.075 billion, according to the publication, a 16 percent increase over last year and more than twice what a group led by principal owner Vivek Ranadive paid for the team less than four years ago. Ranadive’s group bought the Kings for $534 million in May 2013.

The Kings, ranked 15th on this year’s list, are part of a leaguewide trend. Forbes valued the average NBA franchise at $1.36 billion, with 18 teams worth more than $1 billion. Five years ago, the Lakers were Forbes’ most valuable team at $900 million.

Forbes attributed the upsurge to the NBA’s lucrative media deals with ESPN and TNT, a seven-year collective-bargaining agreement reached in December and increased opportunities for the league in international markets.

For the Kings, their value was boosted by the October opening of Golden 1 Center, built for $557 million and billed as one of the most technologically advanced facilities in sports.

Forbes also reported the Kings’ operating profit at $18.4 million, compared with a league average of $31 million per team, which it deemed a record high.

Valued at $300 million just five years ago, the Kings have risen along with the rest of the NBA despite a lack of on-court success. The Kings have not posted a winning record since the 2005-06 season and since then have lost 65 percent of their games (301-559).

Value, though, does not necessarily come from winning. Forbes’ most valuable teams this year are the New York Knicks ($3.3 billion) and the Los Angeles Lakers ($3 billion). The Knicks last made the playoffs in 2013 and are mired in controversy between their management and both current and ex-players. The Lakers are headed for their fourth consecutive losing season.

The Golden State Warriors, who have appeared in two consecutive NBA Finals, rose to third in the Forbes rankings at $2.6 billion, marking an NBA-high 37 percent increase in value over last year.

The Kings entered Wednesday’s road game against the Warriors on a four-game winning streak and 1 1/2 games behind Denver for eighth place in the Western Conference.

Kings ransom

A recent history of the Kings’ estimated value/ranking by Forbes:

Year: Value, rank

2017: $1.075 billion, 15th

2016: $925 million, 18th

2015: $800 million, 24th

2014: $550 million, 16th

2013: $525 million, 11th

2012: $300 million, 23rd

2011: $293 million, 24th

Kings 2017 value at a glance:

Principal owner: Vivek Ranadive

Purchase price/year: $534 million/2013

Estimated value: $1.075 billion (15th)

Revenue: $164 million

Operating income: $18.4 million

Debt/value: 47 percent

Player expense: $84 million

Gate receipts: $31 million

Wins-to-player cost ratio: 78

Revenue per fan: $41

Metro-area population: 2.2 million

2017 Forbes NBA value rankings:

1. New York Knicks, $3.3 billion

2. Los Angeles Lakers, $3 billion

3. Golden State Warriors, $2.6 billion

4. Chicago Bulls, $2.5 billion

5. Boston Celtics, $2.2 billion

6. Los Angeles Clippers, $2 billion

7. Brooklyn Nets, $1.8 billion

8. Houston Rockets, $1.65 billion

9. Dallas Mavericks, $1.45 billion

10. Miami Heat, $1.35 billion

11. Cleveland Cavaliers, $1.2 billion

12. San Antonio Spurs, $1.175 billion

13. Toronto Raptors, $1.125 billion

14. Phoenix Suns, $1.1 billion

15. Kings, $1.075 billion

16. Portland Trail Blazers, $1.05 billion

17. Oklahoma City Thunder, $1.025 billion

18. Washington Wizards, $1 billion

19. Orlando Magic, $920 million

20. Utah Jazz, $910 million

21. Detroit Pistons, $900 million

22. Denver Nuggets, $890 million

23. Atlanta Hawks, $885 million

24. Indiana Pacers, $880 million

25. Philadelphia 76ers, $800 million

26. Memphis Grizzlies, $790 million

27. Milwaukee Bucks, $785 million

28. Charlotte Hornets, $780 million

29. Minnesota Timberwolves, $770 million

30. New Orleans Pelicans, $750 million