What do the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, and Real Madrid have in common? They are three of the most successful, most well-known, most valuable sports franchises in the world. The Los Angeles Lakers belong on this list too.
The Lakers are one of the most valuable teams in basketball and all of sports. So when the team’s minority owner sold his stake in the team to the owners of the crosstown LA Dodgers, they confirmed this fact with cold, hard cash.
NBA teams are selling for huge dollar amounts
The last decade has seen NBA franchise values go through the roof. The going rate in the early 2000s for an NBA team was in the $300 million range.
The first few teams sold starting in 2011 went in this range, according to Forbes. The Detroit Pistons (2011, $325 million), Philadelphia 76ers (2011, $287 million), New Orleans Pelicans (2012, $338 million), and Memphis Grizzlies (2012, $377 million) all sold for around this number.
In 2013 and 2014, the figures jumped up a bit, with the Sacramento Kings ($534 million) and Milwaukee Bucks ($550 million) selling for more. Then, late in 2014, Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer changed the game by paying $2 billion for the LA Clippers.
While the Atlanta Hawks sold for $730 million the following year, the numbers have all been in the billions since then. These sales include the Houston Rockets (2017, $2.2 billion), Brooklyn Nets (2019, $3.3 billion), Utah Jazz (2020, $1.66 billion), and Minnesota Timberwolves (2021, $1.5 billion).
The LA Dodgers owners bought a minority stake in the LA Lakers at a valuation of $5.5 billion
In 1979, Dr. Jerry Buss made a deal with legendary businessman and sports team owner Jack Kent Cooke, who also owned the now-Washington Football team at the time. Buss got the Lakers, the NHL’s LA Kings, the Forum, and even and a ranch owned by Cooke for $67.5 million, according to the New York Times.
In 1998, billionaire Philip Anschutz, whose AEG company also owns the Kings and the Staples Center, bought 27% of the franchise for an undisclosed amount, per Sports Business Journal. Buss died in 2013, and his children, led by daughter Jeannie Buss now have the controlling interest in the team.
In June 2021, AEG sold its stake in the NBA team to LA Dodgers owners Mark Walter and Todd Boehly. While the exact dollar figure is not yet available, Forbes reports that the deal is based on a $5.5 billion valuation of the franchise.
Doing some simple math, that would mean Walter and Boehly paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 billion.
The sale makes the LA Lakers are the second-most valuable team in sports
The latest version of the annual Forbes list, World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams 2021, ranked the LA Lakers as the third most valuable NBA team and the seventh most valuable franchise in the world. The money magazine gave the Buss family’s team a $4.7 billion valuation.
This dollar figure was behind the New York Knicks (No. 3, $5 billion) and the Golden State Warriors (No. 6, $4.7 billion) in the NBA. However, with the real-money valuation of $5.5 billion, it makes the Lakers the second-most valuable organization in sports.
Jerry Jones’ Dallas Cowboys still top the list with a $5.7 billion valuation. However, the Los Angeles Lakers now slip into the No. 2 spot, ahead of another family-controlled team, the Steinbrenner’s New York Yankees, valued at $5.25 billion.
The rest of the top five is rounded out by the Knicks at No. 4 now and the Spanish soccer giant Barcelona at $4.76 billion.