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Knicks again top Forbes NBA franchise valuation list, now worth $4.6 billion

Los Angeles Lakers v New York Knicks

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 6: A general view of the New York Knicks logo before a game against the Los Angeles Lakers on February 6, 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

What television ratings downturn? What troubles with China? What issue with load management?

None of that has impacted franchise values — Forbes annual valuations are out, and they show NBA team values went up 14 percent in the past year. No team went up less than 6 percent in value, and no team is worth less than $1.3 billion, according to Forbes. Just remember that next time an owner cries about his team not making money — franchise value increases are not counted in that number. The owners are doing just fine, thank you very much.

Even if the team is not well run — the Knicks remain at the top of the value list at $4.6 billion (they have led most years), followed by the Lakers ($4.4 billion) and the Warriors ($4.3 billion). Here is the full list:

1. New York Knicks: $4.6 billion
2. Los Angeles Lakers: $4.4 billion
3. Golden State Warriors: $4.3 billion
4. Chicago Bulls: $3.2 billion
5. Boston Celtics: $3.1 billion
6. Los Angeles Clippers: $2.6 billion
7. Brooklyn Nets: $2.5 billion
8. Houston Rockets: $2.475 billion
9. Dallas Mavericks: $2.4 billion
10. Toronto Raptors: $2.1 billion
11. Philadelphia 76ers: $2 billion
12. Miami Heat: $1.95 billion
13. Portland Trail Blazers: $1.85 billion
14. San Antonio Spurs: $1.8 billion
15. Sacramento Kings: $1.775 billion
16. Washington Wizards: $1.75 billion
17. Phoenix Suns: $1.625 billion
18. Denver Nuggets: $1.6 billion
19. Milwaukee Bucks: $1.58 billion
20. Oklahoma City Thunder: $1.575 billion
21. Utah Jazz: $1.55 billion
22. Indiana Pacers: $1.525 billion
23. Atlanta Hawks: $1.52 billion
24. Cleveland Cavaliers: $1.51 billion
25. Charlotte Hornets: $1.5 billion
26. Detroit Pistons: $1.45 billion
27. Orlando Magic: $1.43 billion
28. Minnesota Timberwolves: $1.375 billion
29. New Orleans Pelicans: $1.35 billion
30. Memphis Grizzlies: $1.3 billion

One other interesting note in the Forbes article, as it pertains to the decline in ratings this season: That’s the way your father watched the NBA, not the wave of the future, so those ratings may not hurt the next broadcast deal at all.

Yet as viewing gravitates more seamlessly to a streaming-centric world, the NBA’s younger demographic will be key. The NBA’s average viewership age is 43 versus 52 for the NFL and 59 for MLB, according to Nielsen. Streaming viewership of NBA games on ESPN and TNT is up more than 30% this season.

“This season’s NBA ratings story is silly. It is a small sample size. This is a year-round league with year-round stories,” says sports media consultant Lee Berke of LHB Sports. “The next NBA media agreements will be a substantially evolved set of deals because of streaming. There will be an increasing range of media companies that want the NBA for the U.S. and worldwide.”

The current $2.7 billion per year NBA deal with ESPN and TNT runs through the 2024-25 season, and Berke expects the next deal to roughly double in value.

That new deal will be very different, and much more about streaming and other alternative forms of broadcasts, but it could well be just as lucrative, if not more.