If Forbes’ annual NBA franchise valuations are at all accurate, Charlotte Hornets majority owner Michael Jordan is on track to quadruple his investment since 2010.
Forbes estimates the Hornets are worth $1.05 billion in a story published this week. While that ranks only 28th among the 30 NBA franchises, it’s a 35 percent rise in the franchise’s value in 2017. Jordan owns the vast majority of the Hornets, after acquiring majority control from founding owner Bob Johnson of the then-Charlotte Bobcats in March 2010.
According to an NBA source familiar with the terms of Johnson’s deal with Jordan, it was based on a franchise value of $287 million. That same source said Jordan’s upfront cash outlay was approximately $30 million. Most of Jordan’s financial responsibility was assuming debt Johnson took on in the start-up cost of the expansion franchise in 2004.
Forbes’ estimate suggests the Hornets had operating income of $21 million in 2017, on revenues of $202 million. Forbes noted the Hornets have approximately 11,000 season-ticket holders and have recent advertising deals on their uniforms with LendingTree and Jordan Brand.
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Forbes projects that all 30 NBA franchises are now worth $1 billion or more for the first time.
Bonnell: 704-358-529: @rick_bonnell