New York, home of around 19.75 million people (8.4 million of them packed into New York City), is one of the most sought-after markets for sports teams. The state is home to three NFL teams, two NBA teams and two MLB teams, and has some of the most loyal followings in sports.
Madison Square Garden is considered a basketball holy land. The New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets are two extremely valuable teams, but have not delivered much of substance in the past decade. The owners of two of the most valuable teams in sports are equally interesting.
New York Knicks (#1 Most Valuable Franchise in the NBA)
- Owner: Madison Square Garden Company
- Championships: 2
- Price Paid: $300 M
- Year Purchased: 1997
- Revenue: $307 M
- Operating Income: $108.9 M
- Debt/Value: 0%
- Player Expenses: $88 M
- Gate Receipts: $128 M
- Metro Area Population: 20 M
The Owner of the New York Knicks is listed as the Madison Square Garden Company, and their CEO is James Dolan. For a franchise this valuable in the heart of New York City, it’s only natural it is shrouded in some sort of corporate fence. As far as managing a team goes, the Knicks have seen better years. But as far as managing a business…the Madison Square Garden Company is able to squeeze out massive profits even during unfortunate seasons.
James Dolan is also CEO of Cablevision Systems Corporation and Chair of the Madison Square Garden Company. Dolan’s ownership of the Knicks has had its fair share of criticism; Knicks fans attribute a long list of boneheaded moves directly to Dolan. The Knicks have been excessively throwing money at players and coaches that don’t pan out in the end. In typical New York fashion, Dolan would respond to a 73-year-old lifelong Knicks fan’s critical letter by saying he should, “go root for the Nets because the Knicks don’t want him” and that he was an “alcoholic maybe”.
— Josh Lanzet (@JoshLanzet) July 4, 2016
The recent trades in the 2016 free agency period show that the Knicks are putting their pedal on the gas to win a championship. Their roster is nearly maxed out and now features Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, along with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. This star-studded roster is not only going to give the Knicks a shot at a good run in the playoffs, but is also going to put warm bodies in Madison Square Garden – not an easy feat to mobilize the Knicks Nation after a series of miserable seasons.
Brooklyn Nets (#7 Most Valuable Franchise in the NBA)
- Price Paid: $365 M
- Year Purchased: 2010
- Revenue: $220 M
- Operating Income: $-5.7 M
- Debt/Value: 15%
- Player Expenses: $99 M
- Gate Receipts $63 M
- Revenue per Fan: $17
- Metro Area Population: 20 M
Stats from Forbes, as of January 2016.
The Nets are owned by a Russian billionaire by the name of Mikhail Dmitrievitch Prohkorov, who has a net worth of about $10.9 billion. He has an 80% stake in the Nets. Prohkorov graduated from the Moscow Finance Institute and worked his way up in the financial sector to become one of Russia’s leading industrialists. His business is primarily in multinational corporations that deal with precious metals.
— EuroLeagueBasketball (@EuroLeague) May 13, 2016
In 2011, he resigned his chair positions and entered the Putin-eat-all world of Russian politics. He would run as an independent candidate and got 7.94% of the total vote.
The Nets also had Jay Z as an owner in the franchise with a smaller percentage, although he would sell off his shares to focus on his sports management endeavors.
The Nets don’t face the same sort of pressure as the Knicks and are set for a relatively quiet 2017 season. They finished out the free agency with over $20 million in cap space left, which will likely be used for trades during the season or for the 2017 free agency period.