After Bruce Levenson announced he would be selling his stake in the Atlanta Hawks back in September, the franchise’s future has been in flux. Former Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins has interest in buying the team, as well as former NBA star Chris Webber. The mayor of Atlanta has said he would like the team to be sold by the end of the year, which means we may see a resolution to the ownership issues in the coming months.
Professional sports franchises have sold for astronomical amounts recently, so many have wondered how much the Hawks would sell for. A post from MidLevelExceptional.com stated that Atlanta could be the franchise that bucks this recent spike in price, using low attendance as a reason for a lower price.
When it comes to NBA franchises and their price tags, there are two recent examples when it comes to buying and selling. The Milwaukee Bucks sold for $550 million back in April, after being valued at just $405 million by Forbes. The Clippers have just recently sold to professional hype man Steve Ballmer, and their price reached a record $2 billion. They were valued at just $575 million, which shows how overvalued franchises have become in professional sports.
So will the Hawks reverse the trend?
According to Sports Business Journal, it doesn’t seem likely.The SBJ is reporting that the Hawks will sell for a minimum of $750 million, and that price has the chance to rise to the $1 billion mark. Valued at just $425 million, that would mean the trend would indeed continue with Atlanta carrying the baton.
Despite low attendance and being a nationally maligned team, there are a few things to remember when it comes to the sale of the Hawks. First off, there are only 30 teams in the NBA. That means only 30 individuals in the world can call themselves a majority owner in the NBA. Secondly, the league is growing both financially and globally. They recently signed a gigantic nine-year, $24 billion TV deal with Turner and ESPN, giving the league an unprecedented amount of money for the right to broadcast their games. There is real value to owning a franchise in the NBA.
It is important to remember that this is not the same ol’ Hawks. This team is starting to make real strides both on and off the court. With Mike Budenholzer as head coach, the system is aesthetically pleasing to watch, and should soon start to attract more fans. With the combination of two of the top 30 players in the league and legitimate depth, the Hawks could be in for a special season. They also are installing some state of the art arena operations — like a new scoreboard and player introductions.
As potential owners start to be revealed, and the ownership problem begins to end, you can expect the price to be on par with the recent purchases in professional sports. Although they may not be going for $2 billion, $750 million is certainly nothing to scoff at.