Bulls

Bulls crack the top 20 of Forbes' most valuable sports franchises

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USA TODAY

Bulls crack the top 20 of Forbes' most valuable sports franchises

The Bulls' franchise is heading in the right direction on the court, and it's doing pretty great off it, too.

Forbes released its annual ranking of the top 50 most valuable sports franchises, and the Bulls are back in the top 20 with a valuation of $2.9 billion.

The Bulls are up from 23rd a year ago, when they were valued at $2.6 billion. They were 22nd in 2017 with a $2.5 billion valuation, and 18th in 2016 with a $2.3 billion valuation.

The Bulls were one of nine NBA franchises in the top 50. That number was one more than last year.

Here's a list of all nine NBA teams that made the cut:

1. New York Knicks ($4 billion)
2. Los Angeles Lakers ($3.7 billion)
3. Golden State Warriors ($3.5 billion)
4. Chicago Bulls ($2.9 billion)
5. Boston Celtics ($2.8 billion)
6. Brooklyn Nets ($2.35 billion)
7. Houston Rockets ($2.3 billion)
8. Dallas Mavericks ($2.25 billion)
9. Los Angeles Clippers ($2.2 billion)

As Forbes noted in the piece, "NBA teams have made the most dramatic moves this decade." Just seven years ago, the Lakers were valued at $900 million and were one of just two NBA teams (the Knicks were the other) in the top 50.

Among Chicago teams, the Bulls ranked second behind the Cubs ($3.1 billion) and tied with the Bears ($2.9 billion). Neither the Blackhawks nor the White Sox made the list.

38 Days to Kickoff: Niles West

38 Days to Kickoff: Niles West

NBCSportsChicago.com preps reporter "Edgy" Tim O’Halloran spotlights 100 high school football teams in 100 days. The first 75 team profiles will focus on teams making strides across Chicagoland and elsewhere in the state. Starting Aug. 5, we’ll unveil the @NBCSPrepsTop 25 Power Rankings, leading up to kickoff on Friday, Aug. 30.

School: Niles West

Head coach: Matt Hohs

How they fared in 2018: 0-9 (0-5 Central Suburban South). Niles West failed to reach the IHSA playoffs.
 
2019 regular season schedule:

Aug. 30 @ De La Salle
Sept. 6 @ Niles North
Sept. 13 @ Prospect
Sept. 20 vs Rolling Meadows
Sept. 27 vs Maine South
Oct. 4 @ New Trier
Oct. 11 @ Glenbrook South
Oct. 18 vs Evanston
Oct. 25 @ Glenbrook North

[MORE: 40 Days to Kickoff - De La Salle] 

Biggest storyline: Longtime assistant coach --and Niles West alum-- Matt Hohs takes the reins of the Wolves program. Can he lead the team to a winning season?

Names to watch this season: TE/DE Zachary "Alex" Kubit (Sr.) and OL/DL Hayden Ferrigno (Sr.)

Biggest holes to fill: The Wolves welcome back 11 returning starters (five offense, six defense) but will need to replace some players at key spots (QB/OL/DB) this summer.

EDGY's Early Take: The Wolves tabbed Hohs as their head coach in late June after Jesse Pierce stepped down. Hohs is a 2005 Niles West alum who also shared the field in Skokie with famed running back Rashard Mendenhall. He faces three road games to start the season (including the Skokie Skirmish on Sept. 6) and a loaded middle portion of the schedule. That said, if the Wolves can get off to a good start, they could be a nice surprise story to watch as the season unfolds.