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Report: NBA aiming for $2.5 billion per expansion team

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The NBA is seriously discussing expansion. Profits are way down amid the coronavirus pandemic, and expansion fees would provide a jolt of cash.

How much cash?

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Within the league office, sources said officials have floated the price tag of $2.5 billion each for two expansion teams in the near future.

That’d be $166,666,667 for each of the existing 30 teams.

Could the league really generate that much? It’d be a record for a North American sports-franchise sale. The current high is the $2.35 billion Joseph Tsai paid for the Nets in 2019.

But the most valuable franchises don’t often come onto the market. Forbes valued seven NBA teams as worth at least $2.5 billion (though before coronavirus rocked the NBA). The league could work with potential owners to choose the most lucrative cities to place a new team.

This wouldn’t be buying the Timberwolves, whom Glen Taylor is mandating be kept in Minnesota. The NBA could put expansion franchises practically anywhere. Seattle is by far the most likely destination, but the second city is more open – Las Vegas, Kansas City, Louisville, Mexico City and more.

It’s at least possible someone could pay $2.5 billion to own a team in one of those markets.