Business in the NBA is booming, according to the latest franchise valuations by Forbes, and the Timberwolves are certainly part of the good times.
Every NBA franchise is now valued at $1 billion or more. The Wolves, thanks in part to Target Center renovations and an improved on-court product that has them on pace to reach the postseason for the first time since 2003-04, are valued at $1.06 billion (the Timberwolves are owned by Glen Taylor, who also owns the Star Tribune).
That figure is only 27th among the 30 NBA franchises and is about $600 million less than the value of an average team, but it does represent a 38 percent increase over last year’s Timberwolves valuation of $770 million — the second-biggest jump, percentage-wise, of any team in the league.
Lucrative TV deals and global expansion have helped some franchises triple in value in the last five years. The Wolves are nearly on that pace; their valuation was $364 million in 2013. Forbes explains part of the reason with some interesting details:
It’s not outrageous anymore to envision a sports world in which NBA teams are worth more than their NFL counterparts. Investors believe the NBA has far greater potential to grow overseas than the NFL, which has struggled beyond the United States. NBA revenue outside the U.S. is growing at a rate in the high teens annually. … The NBA launched NBA China 10 years ago, and it is currently worth more than $4 billion, according to Mark Tatum, NBA deputy commissioner and chief operating officer. “We’re seeing growth in all lines of business whether it’s content distribution, sponsorships or merchandise,” says Tatum. “The NBA and the consumption of our product continues to grow, which is really driving the valuation of NBA China.”
The Knicks, at $3.6 billion, have the highest value of any NBA franchise. You can check out the full list here.