Seven years ago, Robert “I didn’t name them the Bobcats after me” Johnson forked over a cool $300 million so he could start and expansion NBA team in Charlotte.
Michael Jordan just bought the team for $175 million, according to the people at Forbes. If Jordan had waited another week he might have been able to get them at the 99¢ store.
This is a big blow to the NBA because current owner Robert L. Johnson paid an expansion fee of $300 million seven years ago and the league has several teams hunting for investors. Other than right here, I doubt you will see a price for a long, long time in the media. Usually, when a team is sold related stories include estimated prices, frequently leaked by the NBA or someone involved with the transaction. I searched Google but could not find one story that mentioned the price. The NBA is embarrassed about the $175 million valuation. And rightfully so.
The people at Forbes need to work on their Googling skills: The League estimated the value of the franchise as north of $260 million, then on Monday the Wall Street Journal reported the sale was for $240 million.
That $175 million may be the valuation of the team itself, but Jordan also was rumored to take on a pretty heavy debt load from Johnson as well. That may not be part of the calculated price, but it matters on the bottom line.
Either way, it shows that the rising tide of the NBA does not lift all boats, if your boat is a poorly-run franchise in a small media market.