The Nets and rights to the Barclays Center were valued at $3.3 billion when Tsai consolidated ownership back in 2019. It has remained the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise, more than Steve Cohen paid for the Mets in 2020 ($2.42 billion), and also topping the Chelsea FC sale last month ($3.16 billion).
No longer. Earlier this week billionaire Rob Walton reached an agreement to purchase the NFL’s Denver Broncos for $4.65 billion, a deal that will likely close in the coming months. In an interview from Brooklyn, Tsai said he was eager to no longer be the answer to that sports business trivia question.
“I’m really, really happy,” Tsai said. “It makes me uncomfortable to always be mentioned as the guy who paid the highest price for a sports franchise. So I’m relieved that I can relinquish that title.”
His joy isn’t just from relief. Tsai also said soaring franchise values, even in a different league, further benefits his business.
“A strong tide lifts all boats,” he said. “So if an NFL franchise can sell for over $4 billion, close to $5 billion, that’s great for all professional sports. Especially the top leagues, the NFL and the NBA. Everybody knows that the NBA will have a new cycle of national TV contracts coming up for renegotiation, and looking at how well the NFL has done with its TV deals, it bodes well for the NBA and also the valuation of NBA teams.”
The Nets are valued at $3.61 billion in Sportico’s most recent valuations. Of the 15 most valuable franchises in North America, eight are NFL teams and three are NBA teams, and all are worth more than $4 billion.