Leadoff: Hawks soar past $1 billion in franchise value


Good morning. This is LEADOFF, today’s early look inside Atlanta sports. 

Even as the Hawks rank among the NBA’s worst teams on the court, albeit by design, the franchise’s value has soared. 

The Hawks are now worth $1.15 billion, up 30 percent from $885 million a year ago, according to Forbes’ annual study, released Wednesday, of NBA franchise valuations. 

The current ownership group, led by Tony Ressler, bought the Hawks for about $730 million in 2015, meaning that based on Forbes’ estimate the franchise has gained $420 million in value since then. 

The study found that the 30 NBA teams are worth an average of $1.65 billion, up 22 percent from last year. The New York Knicks are ranked as the most valuable franchise at $3.6 billion and the New Orleans Pelicans as the least valuable at $1 billion. The Hawks rank 23rd among the 30 teams. 

Forbes attributed the growth in franchise values league-wide to a variety of factors: the NBA’s international media and marketing growth in China and elsewhere; the start of a new national TV contract in the U.S. with “three times the worth of the previous deal on an annual basis”; new corporate logos on jerseys; and others. 

And if you’re wondering about the value of other Atlanta teams, the Falcons last year were estimated to be worth $2.475 billion and the Braves $1.5 billion, both benefiting from new stadiums. 

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READ ON ...

> Does recruiting matter? Just ask Nick Saban how his team beat Georgia, Mark Bradley writes.

> Speaking of recruiting:  Here are seven things to know about Georgia’s recruiting class. And here’s a look at how Georgia Tech’s position groups shape up with the incoming freshmen.

> The search for meaningful college basketball in metro Atlanta leads to Georgia State, Steve Hummer writes.


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