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I’m unfortunately still without a computer, so I can’t really go into too much depth on this. However, as it involves the Sacramento Kings, I figured that I should include mention of it here.
The Maloof family, owners of the Kings, have filed for several trademarks in the event of relocation to Anaheim. As expected, if they moved to Southern California, the Kings seem intent on changing the name of the franchise so as to not run into potential difficulties with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings. As per a report by ESPN, the Maloofs are looking into their pre-Kansas City past to return to their original name, the Royals.
More information on this development can be found here: http://es.pn/hhsp5q
Hopefully I’ll be able to go into a greater level of detail in the near future.
For my previous entries on the Sacramento Kings, please visit HERE.
The past several days have been hectic ones for Sacramento sports fans. News broke last week during the NBA All-Star festivities that the owners of the Kings, the Maloof family, were in close negotiations with the city of Anaheim over the potential to relocate there as early as next season. Then, a few days ago, the Kings officially filed for an extension with the NBA to explore their options to move next season. Under the old deadline, any NBA team that was considering relocation for next season would have to give notice of said fact by today, March 1st, in order to move ahead with any plans to move. In response to the apparently accelerated timetable for possibly losing their team, Kings fans throughout Sacramento showed their support of their beloved franchise and their dismay over potentially losing it by posting billboards, begging that the team stay in the California state capital, and cheering their team at the top of their lungs at subsequent home games.
But it may be all for naught, as the NBA (unsurprisingly) agreed to grant the Kings an extension to the deadline, meaning that the Maloof family now has until the April 14-15 meeting of the NBA board of governors in New York City to officially file for relocation for next season. During that time, Kings management will undoubtedly be on the phone nonstop trying to drum up support among other team owners to vote in favor of moving the team, something that the Lakers and the Clippers have already expressed their strong opposition against if they try to set up shop in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Depending on how this lobbying goes, there are three options for the Kings. They can either:
While recent news has been surrounding the franchise’s apparent intentions to move to Anaheim, where they’d play alongside the Anaheim Ducks of the NHL, pressure from the Lakers and the Clippers might very well be strong enough to prevent a majority of the Board of Governors allowing a third team being added to the L.A. area. Should that happen, and if the Maloofs are convinced that they cannot stay in their current home in Sacramento, they would likely face less of a fight if they instead decided to relocate to another location. As they’ve already held conversations with San Jose, Louisville, Las Vegas, and Kansas City (which would be the ultimate irony, considering that the Kings abandoned Kansas City for Sacramento a quarter century ago), as well as several other cities that I’d consider bigger long shots than those four options, thiscould very easily be a consolation prize to the Kings ownership if they absolutely want to move by next season and don’t gain support for their apparent top choice of Anaheim.
Regardless, options 1 and 2 seem to be the most likely to occur, sad as it may be for Sacramento fans. And, as we’ve seen from recent experience, the NBA seems to be willing to drop the hammer on traditional NBA markets with outdated arenas in favor of new locations with more modern facilities available. The Seattle SuperSonics were stunningly relocated to Oklahoma City of all places a few short years ago as a result of team and league displeasure with the outdated KeyArena versus the modern Oklahoma City Arena. History could very well repeat itself, this time with the Kings and the NBA abandoning Sacramento because of the outdated Power Balance Pavilion (known as the ARCO Arena prior to today) in favor of Anaheim’s Honda Center, San Jose’s HP Pavilion, Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center (the more I see it, the more I honestly hate that name…), Kansas City’s Sprint Center, or a few other possibilities. The ultimate slap in the face would be if the Kings decided to move to Las Vegas, which doesn’t even have an NBA-caliber arena, but still remains a backup possibility given the Maloof family’s interests in the city. The only facilities that could potentially host an NBA team would both seemingly be a step down for the Kings, as the Thomas & Mack Center is even older than their current home and the MGM Grand Garden Arena would need to be heavily retrofitted for a permanent NBA team, not to mention that neither facility has sufficient luxury boxes for a modern home.
The only thing we know now is that the deadline has been extended, and Kings fans will undoubtedly have to endure another month of nonstop “will they, won’t they” talk over their home team.
Earlier in the week, I wrote an article about the rumors swirling around the Sacramento Kings and the Atlanta Thrashers over the possibility of the teams relocating. Today, the rumors around the Sacramento Kings grew significantly more serious. NBA officials have confirmed that the Kings have requested an extension to the rapidly approaching March 1st filing deadline to give notice of their intention to relocate for the next season. NBA officials have not yet confirmed if they will grant this extension, purportedly requested to give the franchise more time to consider their options, but this development is clearly the strongest indicator that we’ve seen so far regarding the intentions of the Kings. This is no longer a rumor. The Kings clearly want out of Sacramento. This is no mere bargaining ploy.
The way the news got out seems to highlight the fissure that has grown between the Maloof family, the current owners of the Kings, and the Sacramento municipal government. Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, himself a 12-year veteran of the NBA, reportedly claimed that he heard about the Kings request from the media, and not from the team ownership. Johnson was quick to express his dismay at the situation, as well as his determination to fight any relocation by the Kings. Sacramento area residents have already been fighting the potential move, organizing a $150,000 campaign to raise awareness of the downsides of a Kings move, including putting up billboards against the proposal.
If the NBA agrees to extend the notice deadline for the Kings, they will have until the April 14-15 meeting of the league’s Board of Governors in New York City to weigh their options. If they do decide to move to Anaheim, where they would play in the Honda Center (already the home of the NHL’s Anaheim Kings), they would still need to receive the approval of the Board of Governors before they can officially move. This could very well be an uphill battle for the Kings, as the Lakers have already expressed their opposition to a third NBA team being added to the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Additionally, the Board of Governors has the right to attach a relocation fee if they so desire, meaning that they could easily make any potential move to Anaheim cost-prohibitive for the Kings.
All of this gives clear reason why the Kings would want an extension to the March 1st deadline… they want more time to drum up support among the rest of the NBA before they proceed. The Kings organization is undoubtedly calling other NBA teams around the clock trying to gain support for the move (and likely opposition to a prohibitive relocation fee) while the NBA is considering the extension request. If the Kings find significant opposition to a potential move to Anaheim however, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Kings would be content to stay in Sacramento. Other cities have been identified in the media as having been in communication with the Kings, including Las Vegas, San Jose, and Louisville, Kentucky. Of these, Las Vegas would seem to be the least likely potential home for the Kings, despite the Maloof family having interests in the city, as they don’t have an NBA-caliber arena. The other two cities, on the other hand, have facilities readily available for an NBA team. In San Jose, the Kings could share the HP Pavilion with the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. In Louisville, the Kings would have two options; sharing the massive, state-of-the art KFC Yum! Center (potentially a contender with the Jobing.com Arena in Glendale as the worst named sports facility in North America) with the University of Louisville’s basketball teams or playing in the older, but completely open, Freedom Hall.
Regardless, expect this story to change very, very quickly. March 1st is just around the corner, so will have to hear about the decision on whether or not to grant an extension in the next couple of days. Sadly for Sacramento basketball fans, all of this should seemingly indicate that the odds are against the Kings staying in the California state capital for much longer. It seems very unlikely that the team would be so willing to obviously antagonize their home city if there was any doubt in their mind that they could stay put.
STORY UPDATE – The situation regarding the Sacramento Kings has since changed. For more information on the Sacramento Kings request for a deadline extension, please go HERE.
I was expecting to just sit back, relax, and enjoy a nice, long day of watching hockey today, but pretty much as soon as I woke up I noticed not one, but two relocation rumors circulating the web. When it comes to any sports relocation rumors, you need to obviously take them with a grain of salt. However, these are surrounding two teams that are oft-discussed as potential relocation candidates and the stories have been picked up by various major media outlets, including the New York Times, USA Today, and ESPN, so I think that the discussion of both teams is obviously worthwhile here on SportVotes.
The first rumor is surrounding the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association. According to ESPN reporter Marc Stein, and seemingly confirmed by NBA commissioner David Stern, the Kings are in close negotiations with the city of Anaheim over the possibility of moving from the state capital to the Orange County for next season. Any such relocation proposal would need to be submitted to the NBA by March 1st, so the Kings are really on the clock if they are actually considering this move.
For those that don’t know, the Kings are a team that have already relocated three times over the course of their long history, having existed previously as the Rochester Royals (1945–57), Cincinnati Royals (1957–72), and the Kansas City/Omaha Kings (1972–85) prior to finally moving to Sacramento. No matter where they go however, the franchise just never seems to be able to find sustainable success and are currently experiencing what will soon become a six-decade championship drought. In the quarter century they’ve spent in their current home, the Kings have appeared in the playoffs ten times (including an impressive eight-year streak from 1999-2006), but have only won their division twice. They’ve been stuck out of the playoffs for the past four seasons and have been suffering from declining attendance during that time. Couple that drop in attendance with the team’s belief that they play in an outdated facility, the ARCO Arena (set to be renamed to the Power Balance Pavillion on March 1st, oddly enough the exact same day as the already mentioned deadline to give notice to the NBA for a possible relocation for next season), and you have a classic recipe for relocation.
The Kings have been pushing for years for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art arena in downtown Sacramento. They had planned on eliciting partial public support for the proposed-$600 million arena, but in 2006 voters overwhelmingly rejected a pair of ballot measures which would have created a 15-year quarter cent sales tax increase for the funding of the new arena. With this avenue for revenue blocked, the Kings and the NBA approached the California state fairgrounds with a plan that would include a potential landswap and various other measures to allow for a new facility to be built on their grounds. In 2010 though, this too was shot down, leaving the Kings with the firm belief that they had to consider the possibility of relocation. Ever since then, the Kings have been in highly publicized and speculative meetings with various municipalities, including Las Vegas, San Jose, and Louisville, Kentucky on the possibility of moving the team.
On February 19th however, during the All-Star Game festivities in Los Angeles, the relocation discussions appeared to have gone from speculative to probable, as NBA commissioner David Stern admitted that the Kings were currently in discussion with the city of Anaheim and that the team had inquired the NBA about the potential to relocate. While the threat of moving a franchise has long been used as leverage to successfully gain public funding for new arena construction projects, these appear to be actual serious discussions. Couple that with the short timetable between when the discussions became publicized with the notice deadline for any potential relocation, which stands at just a little over a week from now, and from all perspectives this appears to be a serious threat over a mere bargaining ploy.
If the discussions actually move to fruition, the Kings would likely play in the Honda Arena, home of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks. An interesting name discussion might also arise if the relocation goes through, as the Los Angeles metropolitan area already has another franchised named the Kings, the Los Angeles-based NHL team, which plays a mere 30 miles to the northwest of their prospective home in Anaheim. While there have been past examples of teams in the same area having the same name (such as the former examples of the St. Louis football and baseball Cardinals and the New York football and baseball Giants), it would be a unique rarity in sports today. In fact, the Sacramento Kings also have a history of changing their name in acquiescence of another team, as the franchise became the Kings so as to not have the same name as the Kansas City Royals of the MLB when they relocated, despite the fact that the basketball team had existed in other cities long before baseball team had even been founded.
But, that would be a discussion for another day.
The next team that has been rumored recently is the long-troubled Atlanta Thrashers of the NHL. While the rumors circulating around the Kings appear to be at least relatively substantive, the rumors about the Thrashers are much more speculative, albeit still significant. The Thrashers have existed in Georgia since they were founded as an expansion franchise in 1999. Since their foundation though, the Thrashers have been a troubled franchise, having only made it into the playoffs once in their time in the league. Combined with attendance figures that have been near the bottom of the league for years with their very low franchise value, which has been ranked 121st out of 122 major professional sports teams in North American in both 2009 and 2010, and you can see why the Thrashers have long been rumored on the league’s chopping block for potential relocation.
Despite recent high profile moves by the team in adding to their roster to try to make it to the postseason this year, including signing assistant captain Dustin Byfuglien to a five-year, $26 million contract, recent news has also spread the flames of rumors surrounding the potential for relocation. Court documents released in January have shown that the current ownership group has been hunting for potential investors and part-owners unsuccessfully for the past six years. And, as recently reported on the NHL Network, the league is apparently getting involved in actively trying to get a new majority owner to buy the team in the next 6-8 weeks, indicating that, if a new ownership group is not found in that time frame, they might be willing to open the door for relocation talks to other cities.
While the NHL obviously does not want to give up on the ninth largest market in the United States, they also appear to not want to repeat the mistakes they’ve made (and are currently making) in Phoenix with the Coyotes. The Thrashers are already hemorrhaging money and facing a distinct disinterest from local sports fans, almost a mirror image of what has already been happening in Arizona, and the league apparently does not want to be stuck holding the tab for yet another southern white elephant.
This, of course, has fed the flames of one of Canada’s favorite pastimes over the past decade, speculating over potentially adding another team up north. Centered mostly around Winnipeg and Quebec City, both of which lost NHL franchises in the 1990’s, hopes for new Canadian teams have been fiercely stoked over the past couple years. Most recently, hundreds of Quebec City residents traveled south to Long Island to attend a game between two of the most oft-discussed relocation candidates, the New York Islanders and the Thrashers. Former-Nordiques fans rallied throughout the game to get their support for relocation heard by both teams, much to the resentment of Islanders fans in the arena. Additionally, a primary reason for both Winnipeg and Quebec City losing their franchises in the first place, not having available up-to-date arenas, has mostly been solved in both municipalities, as Winnipeg already has the ultra-modern, though smallish, MTS Centre, and Quebec City recently approved partial municipal funding for an NHL-caliber arena, which is currently in the process of being designed.
Given the very short time table for both teams, we can definitely expect to hear much more on this in the coming days and weeks. If you asked me to rank which one was more likely, I would have to go and say that the Kings relocating is definitely the more probable option, given the NBA’s already shown willingness to allow teams to relocate over stadium issues versus the NHL’s fierce defense of unprofitable teams. However, if the rumors about the NHL not wanting to face another Phoenix situation are true, then the impetus to search for an ownership group to move the team elsewhere could very have have legs of its own as well.
I enjoyed writing the previous article on the Washington Nationals so much that I decided to make another post along the same lines, this time on their fellow D.C.-residing basketball counterpart, the Washington Wizards. Whereas the Nationals were so-named to avoid any potential political or public backlash, the Wizards provide an interesting counterexample as they have faced controversy over their name, and name changes, at several points during their existence, oftentimes ignored by team ownership.
The Wizards are a bit of an odd team, as the history behind this franchise, and especially the history behind their name, is fairly unique in the realm of major North American sports teams. The Wizards have played professional basketball in three major cites under four different names, and the most recent name change came about as part of the owner’s decision to rebrand the franchise into something a little less contentious. Ironically though, this renaming almost backfired, as the choice of their current name proved, at least temporarily, to be highly controversial in the District of Columbia when it was first unveiled. Additionally, it is still somewhat unpopular, and to this day there remains a push to bring back their cherished older name.
The franchise began its existence in the Windy City as the Chicago Packers in the early ’60s. While the team only lasted two years in Chicago, they still found the time to change their name to the Zephyrs for their second season, likely in response to the invariable confusion that surrounded a new team having the same nickname as the town’s primary rival in football (Chicago also had a football team called the Cardinals for over sixty years from 1898 to 1959, almost assuredly likewise causing some consternation among Cubs fans). At the end of 1962-63 season though, the Zephyrs determined that things were just not working out for them and decided to skip town, leaving Chicago without a basketball team for three seasons until the Bulls were formed in time for the 1966-67 season. They decided to move east to Baltimore, where they changed their name to the Bullets, paying homage to a previous Baltimore-based team that had folded over a decade prior.
While they may have had high hopes for success in their new home, their inability to attract sustained fan support followed them from Lake Michigan to the Chesapeake Bay. The Baltimore Bullets lasted a little over a decade in their new city before relocating again to Washington, D.C. in 1973 (okay, to a Maryland suburb, they wouldn’t move into D.C. itself until 1997). Shortly thereafter, the Bullets won their first and only NBA championship in 1978 over the San Antonio Spurs. In their third hometown, the Bullets finally began to settle into a groove and develop an active and loyal fanbase, something which had not been able to develop in either Chicago or Baltimore. By the early 1990s however, the owner of the Bullets, Abe Pollin, grew increasingly uncomfortable with the violent connotations of the team’s name.
By this point, the nation’s capital had experienced a marked rise in their crime rates, especially in homicide and other violent crimes. In 1995, Pollin’s longtime friend, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin of Israel was assassinated by a radical Israeli gunman in opposition to his signing of the Oslo Accords with the Palestinian Liberation Organization. For Pollin, this would be the straw that broke his camel’s back. Shortly thereafter, he announced that the Bullets would be changing their name and that a team naming competition would be held to suggest a new name for the franchise.
Despite opposition from many of the team’s fans, D.C.-area residents flooded the team with 2,000 name suggestions, which they eventually narrowed down to five potential choices by the spring of 1997: the Dragons, Express, Sea Dogs, Stallions, and Wizards. While there was vocal opposition to changing the name from diehard Bullets fans, as many found the finalists all inferior to their current name, the organization pressed ahead and, without releasing the final tally of how many votes each finalist received, announced that the team would be renamed the Wizards for the 1997-98 season to time in with the opening of their new arena in D.C., the MCI Center (now the Verizon Center).
But then things got ugly. Local black leaders were quick to point out that “Wizard” was also a term used for a high-ranking official in the Ku Klux Klan. Complaints were also directed at the Wizards’ new logo, which featured a hooded man, which also seemingly brought unintended comparisons between the team’s new identity and the KKK. Finally, and less-racially (though still traditionally) controversial, the team changed its colors from red, white, and blue to blue, black and gold. All of these changes lead to vocal public outcries against the team’s rebranding, especially in a city as predominantly African-American as Washington, D.C.
In the end though, Pollin decided to stick with the Wizards, and the public outcry against the Wizards eventually died down. As the years passed though, the Wizards began to fade into obscurity on the national level, even with a spike in popular attention when Michael Jordan was hired in 2000 as the team’s president of basketball operations and came out of retirement for the second time to play for them from 2001-2003. However, Pollin would waste this positive press by shocking the team, fans, and media by firing Jordan after he retired from the team’s playing roster, leading many to angrily accuse the organization of only hiring the all-time great as a publicity stunt for as long as he was willing to play. The franchise would get an even bigger public black eye in late 2009/early 2010 when Gilbert Arenas, an All-Star who had recently received a 6-year, $111 million contract to play in D.C., was charged with unlawful gun possession, storing the weapon inside the Wizards’ locker room, and even pointing it at other teammates. Despite losing the violent connotations of their prior name, the Wizards seemed to be developing that reputation anew for their off-court antics.
These distractions, among other factors, lead the Pollin family to sell the team to Ted Leonsis, the owner of the NHL’s Washington Capitals, in 2010. As the sale was being finalized, the Wizards pulled an upset in that year’s draft lottery, winning the first pick of the 2010 draft. The team’s new ownership wasted no time to try to rebrand the team away from its past shortfalls by trading Arenas as soon as was possible and drafting John Wall of Kentucky first overall in the draft. While these moves have not exactly lead to any real improvements on the court, the Wizards are evidently interested in even more fundamental changes to the franchise. On October 10, 2010, Ted Leonsis released a to-do list of 101 potential changes to the Wizards on his personal blog that his ownership group was considering or actively implementing moving forward. Perhaps most notable among these ideas are the following two points:
28. Change Wizards’ colors back to red, white and blue
31. Change Wizards’ team name to Bullets
While these suggestions were enormously popular among longtime fans of the team harkening back to the red, white, and blue Bullets days, the proposal to change the name yet again also evoked another minor-name controversy, as some have expressed concern that it would revive the violent connotations that the former owners had desperately sought to avoid and remind people of the still-embarrassing Arenas incident. If the Wizards move ahead with a return to their former name, they could very well be the only team in major sports history to face noteworthy controversy over two name changes.
Even with that in mind however, renaming the Wizards back to the Bullets seems like it would be a very popular move among longtime supporters, and obviously would generate an explosion in merchandise purchasing as all of the previously-owned Wizard and gold and black paraphernalia would suddenly be out of date. Regardless, it will be interesting to see what, if any, name and color changes take place over the upcoming offseason, and if naming controversies continue to follow this sometimes beleaguered franchise.
As promised yesterday, here are the Forbes Magazine team valuations from 2010. There were a few big winners and a few big, big losers, but let’s just list ’em all and see what we’ve got, shall we?
1. Dallas Cowboys – $1,805 million – NFL
2. New York Yankees – $1,600 million – MLB
3. Washington Redskins – $1,550 million – NFL
4. New England Patriots – $1,367 million – NFL
5. New York Giants – $1,182 million – NFL
6. Houston Texans – $1,171 million – NFL
7. New York Jets – $1,144 million – NFL
8. Philadelphia Eagles – $1,119 million – NFL
9. Baltimore Ravens – $1,073 million – NFL
10. Chicago Bears – $1,067 million – NFL
11. Denver Broncos – $1,049 million – NFL
12. Indianapolis Colts – $1,040 million – NFL
13. Carolina Panthers – $1,037 million – NFL
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – $1,032 million – NFL
15. Green Bay Packers – $1,018 million – NFL
16. Cleveland Browns – $1,015 million – NFL
17. Miami Dolphins – $1,011 million – NFL
18. Pittsburgh Steelers – $996 million – NFL
19. Tennessee Titans – $994 million – NFL
20. Seattle Seahawks – $989 million – NFL
21. Kansas City Chiefs – $965 million – NFL
22. New Orleans Saints – $955 million – NFL
23. San Francisco 49ers – $925 million – NFL
24. Arizona Cardinals – $919 million – NFL
25. San Diego Chargers – $907 million – NFL
26. Cincinnati Bengals – $905 million – NFL
27. Boston Red Sox – $870 million – MLB
28. New York Mets – $858 million – MLB
29. Atlanta Falcons – $831 million – NFL
30. Detroit Lions – $817 million – NFL
31. Buffalo Bills – $799 million – NFL
32. St. Louis Rams – $779 million – NFL
33. Minnesota Vikings – $774 million – NFL
34. Oakland Raiders – $758 million – NFL
35. Los Angeles Dodgers – $727 million – MLB
36. Chicago Cubs – $726 million – MLB
37. Jacksonville Jaguars – $725 million – NFL
38. New York Knicks – $655 million – NBA
39. Los Angeles Lakers – $643 million – NBA
40. Philadelphia Phillies – $537 million – MLB
41. Los Angeles Angels – $521 million – MLB
42. Chicago Bulls – $511 million – NBA
43. Toronto Maple Leafs – $505 million – NHL
44. St. Louis Cardinals – $488 million – MLB
45. San Francisco Giants – $482 million – MLB
46. Chicago White Sox – $466 million – MLB
47. New York Rangers – $461 million – NHL
48. Houston Astros – $453 million – MLB
49. Boston Celtics – $452 million – NBA
50. Texas Rangers – $451 million – MLB
51. Atlanta Braves – $451 million – MLB
52. Houston Rockets – $443 million – NBA
53. Seattle Mariners – $439 million – MLB
54. Dallas Mavericks – $438 million – NBA
55. Miami Heat – $425 million – NBA
56. Phoenix Suns – $411 million – NBA
57. San Diego Padres – $408 million – MLB
58. Montreal Canadiens – $408 million – NHL
59. Minnesota Twins – $405 million – MLB
60. San Antonio Spurs – $404 million – NBA
61. Toronto Raptors – $399 million – NBA
62. Cleveland Indians – $391 million – MLB
63, Washington Nationals – $387 million – MLB
64. Orlando Magic – $385 million – NBA
65. Colorado Rockies – $384 million – MLB
66. Arizona Diamondbacks – $379 million – MLB
67. Baltimore Orioles – $376 million – MLB
68. Detroit Tigers – $375 million – MLB
69. Golden State Warriors – $363 million – NBA
70. Detroit Pistons – $360 million – NBA
71. Portland Trail Blazers – $356 million – NBA
72. Cleveland Cavaliers – $355 million – NBA
73. Milwaukee Brewers – $351 million – MLB
74. Utah Jazz – $343 million – NBA
75. Kansas City Royals – $341 million – MLB
76. Cincinnati Reds – $331 million – MLB
77. Philadelphia 76ers – $330 million – NBA
78. Oklahoma City Thunder – $329 million – NBA
79. Toronto Blue Jays – $326 million – MLB
80. Washington Wizards – $322 million – NBA
81. Florida Marlins – $317 million – MLB
82. Tampa Bay Rays – $316 million – MLB
83. Denver Nuggets – $316 million – NBA
84. Detroit Red Wings – $315 million – NHL
85. New Jersey Nets – $312 million – NBA
86. Los Angeles Clippers – $305 million – NBA
87. Boston Bruins – $302 million – NHL
88. Philadelphia Flyers – $301 million – NHL
89. Chicago Blackhawks – $300 million – NHL
90. Oakland Athletics – $295 million – MLB
91. Atlanta Hawks – $295 million – NBA
92. Sacramento Kings – $293 million – NBA
93. Pittsburgh Pirates – $289 million – MLB
94. Charlotte Bobcats – $281 million – NBA
95. New Orleans Hornets – $280 million – NBA
96. Indiana Pacers – $269 million – NBA
97. Memphis Grizzlies – $266 million – NBA
98. Minnesota Timberwolves – $264 million – NBA
99. Vancouver Canucks – $262 million – NHL
100. Milwaukee Bucks – $258 million – NBA
101. Pittsburgh Penguins – $235 million – NHL
102. Dallas Stars – $227 million – NHL
103. New Jersey Devils – $218 million – NHL
104. Los Angeles Kings – $ 215 million – NHL
105. Calgary Flames – $206 million – NHL
106. Minnesota Wild – $202 million – NHL
107. Colorado Avalanche – $198 million – NHL
108. Washington Capitals – $197 million – NHL
109. Ottawa Senators – $196 million – NHL
110. San Jose Sharks – $194 million – NHL
111. Anaheim Ducks – $188 million – NHL
112. Edmonton Oilers – $183 million – NHL
113. Buffalo Sabres – $169 million – NHL
114. Florida Panthers – $168 million – NHL
115. St. Louis Blues – $165 million – NHL
116. Carolina Hurricanes – $162 million – NHL
117. Columbus Blue Jackets – $153 million – NHL
118. New York Islanders – $151 million – NHL
119. Nashville Predators – $148 million – NHL
120. Tampa Bay Lightning – $145 million – NHL
121. Atlanta Thrashers – $135 million – NHL
122. Phoenix Coyotes – $134 million – NHL
Overall NFL franchise value – $32,718 million
Overall MLB franchise value – $14,741 million
Overall NBA franchise value – $11,063 million
Overall NHL franchise value – $6,843 million
Overall Big 4 franchise value – $65,365 million
Average (mean) NFL franchise value – $1,022 million
Average (mean) MLB franchise value – $491 million
Average (mean) NBA franchise value – $369 million
Average (mean) NHL franchise value – $228 million
Most average (mean) NFL franchise – Green Bay Packers (-4 million below mean)
Most average (mean) MLB franchise – St. Louis Cardinals (-3 million below mean)
Most average (mean) NBA franchise – Golden State Warriors (-6 million below mean)
Most average (mean) NHL franchise – Dallas Stars (-1 million below mean)
Highest/Mean (high = unbalanced)
MLB – 325.20%
NHL – $221.49%
NBA – 177.51%
NFL – 176.14%
Lowest/Mean (low = unbalanced)
NHL – 58.77%
MLB – 58.94%
NBA – 69.92%
NFL – 70.94%
Highest/Lowest (high = unbalanced)
MLB – 551.72%
NHL – 376.87%
NBA – 253.88%
NFL – 248.97%
As with yesterday’s post, a lot of information can be gleaned from all of this, so let’s go through a few things that I noticed right away.
First of all, this past year had several big winners and several big losers. While the Cowboys and Yankees saw very noticeable, $100 million boosts to their overall franchise values, there were other teams that were the even bigger winners, some of whom you might not expect. In baseball, the Rangers and the Twins saw large boosts to their value, thanks in no small part to their successful regular seasons and subsequent postseason appearances (not to mention the Twins’ new ballpark, Target Field). The Marlins also benefited greatly, jumping an impressive 15% in franchise value, thanks primarily to the opening of their new stadium looming ever larger on the horizon. In the NBA, teams that made splashes in the free agent market saw impressive increases, with the Knicks and especially the Heat greatly increasing their overall franchise value. Additionally, the Warriors and the Nets saw big jumps thanks to new ownership that have expressed an actual willingness to spend some money. Finally, in the NHL, we saw a bunch of teams benefit in what was one of the strongest hockey seasons in recent memory, with the Rangers, Blackhawks, Canucks, Bruins, Oilers, and especially the Canadiens all showing incredibly strong growths in their overall value.
But, where there are winners, there have to be losers, and there were a lot of losers in the world of professional sports in 2010. In the NFL, three of the most discussed candidates for relocation all saw major drops in value, with the Bills, Rams, and Jaguars all dropping by double digit percentiles. In baseball, there were no real losers per se, but there was a lot of stagnancy as a great deal of the league saw only tiny increases or small to mid drops in value. The NHL saw several teams lose value, but no more than the Tampa Bay Lightning, which saw their value drop by an astonishing 24%. It’s been said that the Tampa Bay area has been hit especially hard by the recent recession, and it looks like the Bolts were the main team to feel the cut as a result of it. But when we’re talking about big losers this past year, look no further than the NBA, which saw two teams take a bath. The Pistons lost fully 1/4 of their overall value in a single year, due to questions over their ownership and difficulty in selling the team and the fact that they’re competing in a busy market against the Wings and Lions. But it was the Cleveland Cavaliers that saw the biggest nosedive in franchise value, losing 26% of their overall worth in 2010 thanks to losing LeBron James and their subsequent… um… let’s just say less than stellar season so far.
Remember when Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cavaliers, was practically foaming about the mouth when LeBron James left? I think you would too if you figured that your overall worth was going to drop significantly as a result of the decision, and especially when you figure that it’d be by $122 million!
Finally, we have to look a bit past the individual teams and see how the leagues fared this past season. At first glance, it appears as if MLB and NHL are the winners as their overall franchise worth increased while the NFL and NBA were the losers as they saw their values drop. And you’d definitely have an argument for this. The NBA is in pretty bad shape, with the profitability of a number of teams in question and the likelihood of a lockout increasing every day. The NFL, despite a strong year and great ratings (especially for the Super Bowl, which might have been the most watched program in American television history), is facing uncertainty over their labor situation as well.
But if you dig down a bit, you’ll see that the NHL’s situation is at best a wash. While the league saw several big winners, it also saw it devolve into a league of haves and have-nots. While Major League Baseball remains the most top-heavy league in professional sports thanks to the New York Yankees, the NHL actually surpassed the MLB as the most bottom-heavy league, with the bottom quarter of the league either showing drops or inconsequential gains.
More analysis might come later, but as it is now I think that’s more than enough! If you notice anything else, please say so in the comments.