Lakers top Forbes' most valuable NBA teams list at $2.6 billion
(Reuters) - The Los Angeles Lakers unseated the New York Knicks as the NBA's most valuable team, worth $2.6 billion, according to a Forbes poll released on Wednesday that showed the average team value rose 74 percent from last year.
The average NBA team's value rose to $1.1 billion from $634 million last year, a jump Forbes said was driven primarily by the NBA signing expanded national media deals with broadcast partners Walt Disney Co and Time Warner Inc.
There are now 11 NBA teams worth at least $1 billion, up from three a year ago, Forbes said in a statement.
The colossal rise in average team value is the biggest one-year gain since Forbes began tracking team valuations in the four major U.S. sports leagues in 1998.
Last October, the National Basketball Association agreed on a more than $20 billion multi-year contract with Disney and Time Warner that dwarfed the previous deal.
The Lakers' value shot up 93 percent from last year while the Knicks, who topped the list the last two years, were second with a value of $2.5 billion, up 79 percent from last year.
The Los Angeles Clippers, who were purchased for $2 billion last year by former Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, were valued at $1.6 billion, putting them fifth on the list behind the third-place Chicago Bulls ($2 billion) and fourth-place Boston Celtics ($1.7 billion)
The reigning NBA champion San Antonio Spurs were ranked 11th out of the league's 30 teams with a 51.5 percent jump in value to $1 billion.
For the complete list visit (forbes.com/nba).
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto. Editing by xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
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