How Rich Do You Need to Be to Buy an NBA Team?


It is clear that we all have different hopes and dreams in life. One way in which this can be seen is the way in which we would all spend our fortune in such different ways after we had amassed it.

While some people would splash most of their new found wealth on sports cars and foreign mansions, there are others who would like nothing better than to buy a sports team. This looks like an expensive hobby, so how fabulously wealthy would you have to be to buy an NBA team and run it?

The Current Owners

To start, let´s take a look at some of the current NBA owners. Perhaps the most fascinating of all is Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian billionaire who ran for president in his homeland and whose nickel mining business is said to have given him a $10 to 13 billion fortune. He now owns the Brooklyn Nets and is the first non American to own an NBA team. Another interesting owner is, of course, the one and only Michael Jordan. The playing legend is now owner of the Charlotte Hornets team. This is one of the least valuable franchises in the league but Jordan still paid $175 million to get control. The Los Angeles Lakers is one of the NBA´s most valuable franchises and it is owned by Jim and Jeanie Buss as part of a family trust. The team has been in the family since 1979 and the current Buss family members in charge have been involved in the family´s sports interests for most of their careers.

So, How Much?

As with anything else in life, how much you will need to pay really depends upon what exactly you want to buy. For example, we have seen that Michal Jordan paid $175 million for the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) but the league´s most valuable team is the New York Knicks, currently valued at over $1 billion with some analysts estimating it could be worth up to $3 billion. Other current estimates for the value of teams in the league include $312 million (the lowest figure in the league) for the Milwaukee Bucks and $625 million for the Miami Heat. As we can see, prices vary considerably and we also need to take into account how willing the current owner is to sell and who else is likely to bid against you.

The Running Costs

Just as with any expensive purchase you make, there are running costs to consider in addition to the initial purchase price. With a sport team you need to do things like maintain the stadium, pay the players and meet all the other regular costs. If your ticket sales, TV deals and other income sources are greater than your expenditure then you could have a nice little business. However, it is commonly thought that most NBA teams make a loss each year, needing their rich owners to inject more money and keep them going on a stable basis.


You need incredibly deep pockets to buy an NBA team these days, with at least $312 million to buy the cheapest team. After that, the running costs could make it far more of an expensive hobby than a real business for you. It´s probably best left to the really rich people who love the team (or the publicity) and can afford to lose a few million here and there.

Do you dream of buying an NBA team once you earn a fortune? Which one would you buy?

2 Responses to How Rich Do You Need to Be to Buy an NBA Team?

  1. I dreamt of owning a baseball team once. Then I realized how much money I would need just to buy the team, let alone run it successfully. I guess I could go in with a few others to afford it, but I don’t know enough people that are that wealthy!!

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