Knicks top Warriors to earn NBA’s most valuable franchise honors

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 19: The sun sets on Madison Square Garden seen from the Eugene apartment building on November 19, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 19: The sun sets on Madison Square Garden seen from the Eugene apartment building on November 19, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images) /

In the wise words of ABBA, “Money, Money, Money.” The New York Knicks are the most valuable team in the NBA and the third most valuable in North America, according to an annual list published by Sportico on Aug. 1.

James Dolan and the Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. might not be the best at putting together a playoff roster, but that hasn’t stopped the group from skyrocketing the value of the team since its purchase decades ago.

The Knicks are valued at $6.12 billion going into the 2022-23 NBA season, according to Sportico.

How do the Knicks compare to the other top-valued teams?

Only two teams currently rank above the Knicks in total value, the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees.

In terms of the NBA, the Golden State Warriors are the next most valuable team at $6.03 billion. The Los Angeles Lakers are the only other NBA team within the top 10 most valuable North American squads.

Here’s a look at the top 10.

  1. Dallas Cowboys: $7.64 billion
  2. New York Yankees: $7.01 billion
  3. New York Knicks: $6.12 billion
  4. Golden State Warriors: $6.03 billion
  5. Los Angeles Rams: $5.91 billion
  6. New England Patriots: $5.88 billion
  7. New York Giants: $5.73 billion
  8. Los Angeles Lakers: $5.63 billion
  9. San Francisco 49ers: $5.18 billion
  10. Boston Red Sox: $5.07 billion

After the Lakers, the next most valuable NBA franchise is the Brooklyn Nets in 28th place.

Here’s a top 10 list of the most valuable teams in the NBA, according to Sportico.

  1. New York Knicks: $6.12 billion
  2. Golden State Warriors: $6.03 billion
  3. Los Angeles Lakers: $5.63 billion
  4. Brooklyn Nets: $3.61 billion
  5. Chicago Bulls: $3.53 billion
  6. Boston Celtics: $3.44 billion
  7. Los Angeles Clippers: $3.16 billion
  8. Houston Rockets: $2.79 billion
  9. Toronto Raptors: $2.74 billion
  10. Dallas Mavericks: $2.67 billion

A history of the business side of the Knicks

The ranking from Sportico aligns with a list from Forbes in May of 2021 that listed the Knicks as the third most valuable team in the world.

The valuation at the time was lower, though, saying that the Knicks were worth $5 billion — more than a billion dollars less than Sportico’s valuation just a year and two months later. Forbes said that the Knicks saw a 67% increase in value from 2016 to 2021.

The price the Dolan family and their companies paid for the team in 1997? $300 million.

Understanding the Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. and its history is also an important part of understanding how the Knicks’ business side of things looks now.

First off, James Dolan serves as executive chairman and CEO of the group. The group owns the Knicks, the New York Rangers, and the Madison Square Garden building itself.

However, the Madison Square Garden Sports group name is a relatively new one. Paramount Communications owned Madison Square Garden until 1994 when it was bought by Viacom, and in turn, sold to Cablevision and ITT Corporation.

Charles Dolan, James’ father, was the founder of Cablevision — where James also worked in leadership positions earlier in his life.

Fast forward a bit to 2010 when Cablevision created the publicly traded company MSG Network, which was then renamed MSG Networks in 2015, and again rebranded in 2020 to the Madison Square Garden Sports group.

The crown jewel of Madison Square Garden

We know it’s not 50-win seasons and deep playoff runs that are skyrocketing the Knicks’ valuation. It is the building they play in.

Madison Square Garden is a cash cow with its endless list of A-list concerts and other events. SNY reported that a suite rental in the area can go for more than $1 million a year.

The cost to go to a Knicks game was the most expensive in the league for the 12th straight season in 2021-22. A family of four looking to go to a home game last season cost a staggering average of $936.72, according to Team Marketing Report’s annual report on ticket sales in the NBA.

The New York City market also helps.

The Yankees, Knicks, Giants, and Jets are all among the top 15 most valuable franchises in North American sports, and the Mets are within the top 50.

Hopefully this season, the Knicks can end up in some top five power ranking lists for their performance on the court, not just the money they make from it.