Nine NBA Teams Lost Money in 2016-17 After Revenue Sharing

Local TV Revenue Disparity Causes Nearly Half of NBA Franchises to Still Lose Money

As many as 14 National Basketball Association teams lost money last season before accounting for revenue sharing, according to an ESPN report.

Five of those teams-Memphis, Charlotte, Indiana, Milwaukee and Utah-have reportedly received at least $15 million in payouts each of the past four seasons.

For the most part, just about every franchise that lost money is a small-market club by National Basketball Association standards, exemplifying the significant gap between teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Charlotte Hornets.

The Board of Governors will address the gap between the NBA's most profitable teams and the rest of the league on September 27-28.

According to ESPN, critics of the League's revenue-sharing system want to tweak it, not blow it up. Of course, teams in big markets like the Lakers, Knicks, Bulls, etc. are able to pull in way more money than smaller market teams like the Bucks, Grizzlies, Jazz, etc., and mainly because of local TV deals. But some teams make significantly more than others. League officials pointed out that by a different accounting measure the league tabulates - operating income, which discards various debt obligations - only 10 teams (rather than 14) lost money before accounting for revenue sharing. The Pistons lost $63.2 million before collecting revenue sharing last season, the largest loss by a wide margin, despite being one of the NBA's larger markets. According to Sports Business Daily, the Cavaliers earned a fraction of this at roughly $37 million. The main reason? The Lakers have a $149M local media deal, while the Grizzlies' is just under $10M. This report does not infer that Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cavaliers, lost money a year ago; it's that he didn't make any, from an accounting standpoint, through the Cavaliers.

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