If the financial woes of the franchise haven't been highlighted enough, Forbes latest look at The Business of Basketball drives home the potential disadvantage we may have in building this team for the future. The numbers are not good. Here is the link to the numbers.
The list cites 5 categories that shows what the current state of NBA franchises are right now.
- Current Value
- 1 yr % Change in Value
- Debt/Value %
- Operating Income
So let's look at where the Hawks rank in each category.
CURRENT VALUE - 27th
Our current value stands at 425 million, which is just ahead of New Orleans Pelicans, Charlotte Bobcats, and Milwaukee Bucks.
Honestly, this is disturbing as hell. Atlanta is NOT a small market franchise, yet, they have a value comparable to a small market. This tells me that the Hawks may not go anywhere near the Luxury Tax anytime soon. And that means that Ferry will continue to scour for "Diamond in the Rough" type players like a Demarre Carroll and Shelvin Mack, to see if the Hawks can get the most out of them.
And it's also an indication of how much the team is actually taking in. We'll get to that later.
Top 3 Value teams: NY Knicks, LA Lakers, Chicago Bulls
1-Yr VALUE CHANGE % - 5th
With a 34% increase in value, the Hawks are tied for 5th with the LA Clippers.
I think this is directly due to the new CBA, and somewhat pointing to the departure of the Joe Johnson contracts falling off the books, while also not re-signing Josh Smith. When you sort this column, no team in the NBA saw a decline in value, and most teams' value increased by at least 20%.
The Hawks were one of 8 teams that saw at least a 30% increase in value. But that list is curious. Brooklyn ( by no surprise ) is #1, with a 47% change in value, while the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Bobcats both saw a 30% change in value.
With Brooklyn, their increase in value has to do with them moving into a new location and arena, while Charlotte and Milwaukee may be beneficiaries of the new CBA. I think the Hawks may be in this group. The main article cites that collectively, the low revenue teams took in 120 million. This year, an estimated 200 million is expected to be distributed to those teams, which will probably include us.
Top 3 in Value Change: Brooklyn, Houston, and Golden State
DEBT/VALUE % - 30th
Not quite sure how to read this, but I think this is VERY BAD. Our Debt/Value % is at 55%.
When I sort this list in descending order, all of the high revenue and high value teams are at the bottom, with Debt/Value %'s of under 10%. But the top ( or bottom ) 5 in Debt/Value % are:
- Atlanta: 55%
- Sacramento: 43% . . ( which alarms me, seeing all the troubles they had the past 2 years )
- Detroit: 41%
- Memphis: 39%
- Cleveland: 39%
So this has to be a very bad number concerning the Hawks. Maybe Hawksfanatic can shed some light on this to whether this is a bad number, and why it is so bad?
Top 3 in Debt/Value % - New York, LA Clippers, and Denver
REVENUE - 24th
With 119 million in revenue, the Hawks rank 24th in the NBA
We've been talking about this for years. The inability for our franchise to draw more people to the arena is a killer, when it comes to revenue. Cite whatever reasons you want:
- Lack of a superstar
- Transients from all over the country who could care less about the Hawks
- Apathetic current or former Hawk fans who live and/or are from the Metro Atlanta area.
- Lack of a strong core Hawk fan base
- Poor marketing
- Lack of heavy corporate support
. . . or whatever you want to add to this list. The fact remains that the Hawks draw like a small market team at the box office. It's sad too, seeing that there are 5 million people in the Metro area, and Atlanta is the undisputed hub of the Southeast.
Top 3 Revenue teams - LA Lakers, New York, and Chicago
OPERATING INCOME - 28th
The Hawks were one of only 4 teams in the NBA last year that DID NOT MAKE MONEY, citing an Operating Income of -3.8 million.
Now I KNOW that the 55% Debt/Value % number was very bad. We LOST MONEY last year? Really? I guess not reaching the 2nd round of the playoffs really did play a factor in that. Those games are probably around a 2 million a game windfall for the owners. So not having those extra 2 or 3 games in the 2nd round really hurt them from an operating income standpoint.
If we're losing money, we can't expect these owners to make a big splash for anybody. It's one thing to lose money when you're winning. Totally different when you're losing. I mean, we lost money despite getting that extra money given to low revenue teams. This is bad folks. And unless attendance numbers don't turn around quickly, they might lose money again this year.
I hate to say this, but maybe this is why the Hawks didn't blow things up, and are CONTENT with simply making the playoffs. We may be in a financial situation in which we're losing so much money, that getting ANYTHING back in return in extra revenue, is a good thing in the eyes of the owners.
Top 3 in Operating Income - New York, LA Lakers, and Houston