In a recent report put together by Forbes which discussed the current state and value of NBA franchises as well as the successful television ratings which continue to go hand-in-hand with star-centric sporting events, we find that the Cleveland Cavaliers turned their biggest profit in the history of the franchise during the season which LeBron James was no longer a fixture within Quicken Loans Arena.
Per Forbes’ Kurt Badenhausen, despite falling victim to a professional sport record 26-game losing streak, Dan Gilbert’s Cavaliers earned $33 million in operating income, good enough for third best in the NBA. This figure is largely attributed to a $30 million payroll cut (James as well as Shaquille O’Neal and Zydrunas Ilgauskas were no longer on the team’s roster) and no luxury tax, which cost the Wine and Gold $16 million one season earlier.
Unfortunately, this one-year success, spurred largely by fans re-upping their season tickets prior to The Decision, does not bode well for overall franchise value as the Cavaliers’ value is down 7% to $326 million after a 26% drop last year. Current attendance totals are down 4,000 fans per game to 16,149, which presently ranks 17th in the league.
On the positive side, if television ratings can be used as a forecast for future interest, The Cavaliers rank fifth among NBA teams in ratings within their local markets (5.84), trailing only San Antonio (8.27), Miami (7.59), Chicago (6.80) and Oklahoma City (5.88) thanks to excitement surrounding Rookie of the Year hopeful Kyrie Irving and the fourth-overall selection Tristan Thompson.