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Buying NBA Team, Ownership Timeline with Prices

05 Jul

With a lockout under way and it’s unusual focus on employers I wondered…
When and For How Much Money Owners acquired Teams in the first place?

So today’s post is simple in premise but I hope it will become very helpful data…
I compiled a History of Ownership for All Teams including Date and Cost of Transactions.

Please note and remember that:

  • sources for this one were all over the map and I had to Google a lot for pretty much every case,
  • most information came from [in a random order] prosportstransactions.com, Forbes, Rod’s Sports Economics, sportsecyclopedia.com, Wikipedia and local newspapers’ sites,
  • All prices are in millions of dollars [first column means "original price listed" and second one was Adjusted for Inflation to Average for 2010 with data taken from inflationdata.com],
  • I don’t have any inside information and I can’t guarantee accuracy any of those reports,
  • If you know any information behind ??? please let me know in the comments or via e-mail, Thanks!
  • List was sorted alphabetically by current team’s name and then descending by year of transaction.
  • I’ll update this post as often as needed/possible – LAST EDIT: 09 November 2011, Sixers

Unfortunately not every team has listed previous owners as nicely as Rockets [MediaGuide.pdf, 8MB] and not every team had such clean and easy history as Pistons, quite the opposite, overall it was a mess and time-wise it was by far my least efficient post to date.

Anyway, enough of caveats, here’s the full table of all owners in the NBA history…
[if you are interested in different views of this table I sorted it by expansion fees and all known sales].

Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Atlanta Hawks Atlanta Spirit, LLC
(9 partners)
2004 purchased team 208 240,1
Atlanta Hawks AOL Time Warner 1996 became owner via merger - -
Atlanta Hawks Ted Turner 1977 bought 95% of team ??? ???
Atlanta Hawks Tom Cousins and
Carl Sanders
1968 bought the St. Louis Hawks and
moved to Atlanta
2 12,5
Tri-Cities Blackhawks Ben Kerner 1946 formed in NBL as Buffalo
Bisons and then moved
- -
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Boston Celtics Wycliffe Grousbeck, Stephen Pagliuca,
H. Irving Grousbeck
2002 purchased team 360 436,4
Boston Celtics Paul Gaston 1993 succeeded his father - -
Boston Celtics Don Gaston 1986 bought out co-owners 120 238,7
Boston Celtics Don Gaston, Alan N. Cohen, Paul Dupee 1983 purchased team 17 37,2
Boston Celtics Harry T. Mangurian, Jr. 1979 bought out co-owners - -
Boston Celtics John Y. Brown, Jr. and Harry T. Mangurian, Jr. 1978 swapped their Clippers’ shares
with previous owners
Boston Celtics Irv Levin and
Harold Lipton
1975 exercised their option to repurchase half of the Celtics’ stock and month later bought the rest
Boston Celtics Robert Schmertz 1972 forced transaction, sale to Irv Levin, Harold Lipton not approved by NBA due to conlfict of interest 4 20,9
Boston Celtics Ballantine Brewery 1968 bought team, Trans-National Communications became temporary owners in 1970 6 37,6
Boston Celtics Marvin Kratter 1965 purchased team 3 20,8
Boston Celtics Lou Pieri and
Marjorie Brown
1964 founder died, wife took over - -
Boston Celtics Walter A. Brown 1946 formed in BAA 0,003 0,03
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Charlotte Bobcats Michael Jordan 2009 increased his small stake to a majority one,
deal included debt
275 279,5
Charlotte Bobcats Robert Johnson 2003 Expansion fee 300 355,6
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Chicago Bulls Jerry Reinsdorf 1985 purchased 57% of the team and later bought out co-owners 9,2 18,6
Chicago Bulls ownership group that included Arthur Wirtz 1972 purchased team 5,1 26,6
Chicago Bulls Dick Klein 1966 awarded an NBA expansion franchise 1,6 10,8
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Cleveland Cavaliers Dan Gilbert 2005 became majority owner 375 418,7
Cleveland Cavaliers George and Gordon Gund 1983 purchased the franchise 20 43,8
Cleveland Cavaliers Ted Stepien 1980 bought 37% and soon became
the majority shareholder [82%]
2 5,3
Cleveland Cavaliers Nick Mileti and others 1971 Expansion Fee 3,7 19,9
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban 2000 purchased a majority stake 285 360,9
Dallas Mavericks Ross Perot, Jr. 1996 purchased a majority stake 125 173,7
Dallas Mavericks Donald Carter and Norm Sonju 1980 expansion fee 12 31,8
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Denver Nuggets Stan Kroenke 2000 total deal was worth 450M$ but included NHL Avalanche and Pepsi Center 202 255,8
Denver Nuggets Comsat Video 1992 bought out co-owners, raised share to 100% 70 108,8
Denver Nuggets Comsat Video Enterprises 1989 purchases 67.5% stake in team 45 79,1
Denver Nuggets Sidney Schlenker and Allen Becker 1985 purchased team 20 40,5
Denver Nuggets Red McCombs 1978 bought team 2 6,7
Denver Nuggets local group including Carl Scheer 1976 Entering price when ABA disbands 1 3,8
Denver Rockets Frank Goldberg and Bud Fischer 1972 purchased team ??? ???
Denver Rockets Bill Ringsby 1967 bought 2/3 controlling interest 0,17 1,1
Denver Rockets James Trindle 1967 created a team in ABA 0,035 0,23
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Detroit Pistons Tom Gores 2011 bought the team along with Palace,
GTE Theater, the Festival
400 400,0
Detroit Pistons William Davidson 1974 purchased team 8 35,4
Fort Wayne Pistons Fred Zollner 1948 created a team in NBL - -
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Golden State Warriors Peter Guber and
Joe Lacob
2010 purchased team 450 450,0
Golden State Warriors Christopher Cohan 1995 purchased remaining 75% 95 135,9
Golden State Warriors Christopher Cohan 1992 purchased 25% 21 32,6
Golden State Warriors Jim Fitzgerald and Daniel Finnane 1986 bought the team ??? ???
San Francisco Warriors Franklin Mieuli along with 32 other local investors 1962 purchased team and moved it to Bay Area 0,85 6,1
Philadelphia Warriors Eddie Gottlieb 1951 bought the team 0,025 0,21
Philadelphia Warriors Peter Tyrrell 1946 created in BAA - -
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Houston Rockets Leslie Alexander 1993 purchased team 85 128,3
Houston Rockets Charlie Thomas 1982 bought team 9,8 22,1
Houston Rockets George Maloof 1979 purchased team ??? ???
Houston Rockets Kenneth Schnitzer 1976 bought team ??? ???
Houston Rockets James Talcott 1975 purchased team ??? ???
Houston Rockets Irvin Kaplan 1973 bought team ??? ???
San Diego Rockets Billy Goldberg, Wayne Duddlesten, Mickey Herskowitz 1971 purchased team 5,6 30,2
San Diego Rockets Robert Breitbard 1967 expansion fee 1,75 11,4
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Indiana Pacers Herb Simon 1983 purchased team 11 24,1
Indiana Pacers Tom Binford and
five others
1976 Entering price when ABA disbands 3,2 12,3
Indiana Pacers Richard Tinkham, John DeVoe, Chuck DeVoe, Chuck Barnes, Bob Collins 1968 purchase a franchise in ABA - -
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Los Angeles Clippers Donald Sterling 1981 purchased team 13 31,2
San Diego Clippers Irv Levin and
Harold A. Lipton
1978 swapped their shares with previous owners - -
Buffalo Braves John Y. Brown, Jr. And
Harry T. Mangurian, Jr.
1978 swapped their shares with Celtics’ owners - -
Buffalo Braves John Y. Brown, Jr. 1976 bought 50% of the franchise, later remaining half and added minority owner ??? ???
Buffalo Braves Paul Snyder 1971 expansion fee 3,7 19,9
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Los Angeles Lakers Jerry Buss 1979 Total deal was 67,5M$ but incl. LA Kings, The Forum, NV real estate 20 60,1
Los Angeles Lakers Jack Kent Cooke 1965 purchased team 5,175 35,8
Minneapolis Lakers Bob Short 1958 become 80% owner of the team
by buying out his partners
??? ???
Minneapolis Lakers Bob Short and 117 Minnesota businesses and private citizens 1957 sold team 0,15 1,2
Minneapolis Lakers Ben Berger and
Morris Chalfen
1947 purchased the recently
disbanded team from NBL
0,015 0,15
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Memphis Grizzlies Michael Heisley 2000 purchased team 160 202,6
Vancouver Grizzlies Bill & Nancy Laurie 1999 purchased team 200 261,8
Vancouver Grizzlies John McCaw 1997 bought out Arthur Griffiths ??? ???
Vancouver Grizzlies Arthur Griffiths 1996 expansion fee 125 173,7
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Miami Heat Micky Arison 1995 bought out co-owners, raised share to 88% 68 97,3
Miami Heat Billy Cunningham, Lewis Schaffel and
Ted Arison
1989 expansion fee 32,5 57,2
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Milwaukee Bucks Herb Kohl 1985 transfer of ownership 19 38,5
Milwaukee Bucks Jim Fitzgerald 1976 transfer of ownership ??? ???
Milwaukee Bucks Wes Pavalon 1968 expansion fee 2 12,5
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Minnesota Timberwolves Glen Taylor 1995 transfer of ownership 89 127,3
Minnesota Timberwolves Marv Wolfenson, Harvey Ratner 1989 expansion fee 32,5 57,2
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
New Jersey Nets Mikhail Prokhorov 2010 transfer of 80% ownership 200 200,0
New Jersey Nets group headed by
Bruce Ratner
2004 transfer of ownership 300 346,3
New Jersey Nets Finn Wentworth, Stanley Gale, Raymond Chambers 1998 purchase of team 150 200,7
New Jersey Nets 7 local businessmen (led by Joe Taub and Alan N. Cohen) 1978 purchased team ??? ???
New York Nets Roy Boe 1970 transfer of ownership 1,1 6,2
New Jersey Americans Arthur Brown 1968 bought a franchise in ABA - -
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
New Orleans Hornets NBA 2010 purchase of team 300 300,0
New Orleans Hornets George Shinn and George Chouest 2007 transfer of minority ownership 248 260,8
Charlotte Hornets George Shinn 1989 expansion fee 32,5 57,2
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
New York Knicks Madison Square Garden, Inc 2010 company spun off from Cablevision - -
New York Knicks Cablevision 1997 bought out ITT Corporation’s share 300 407,6
New York Knicks Cablevision and ITT Corporation 1994 won bid for Madison Square Garden and its properties (Knicks, Rangers and MSG network) 1100 1618,5
New York Knicks Viacom 1994 bought previous owner - -
New York Knicks Gulf+Western [renamed Paramount in 1989] 1977 purchased team ??? ???
New York Knicks ??? ??? ??? ??? ???
New York Knicks Ned Irish 1947 created as a part of BAA - -
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Oklahoma City Clay Bennett 2006 purchased team (and WNBA Storm) 350 378,6
Seattle SuperSonics Howard Schultz 2001 transfer of ownership 200 246,3
Seattle SuperSonics Barry Ackerley 1983 transfer of ownership 21 46,0
Seattle SuperSonics Sam Schulman 1967 created franchise in Seattle 1,75 11,4
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Orlando Magic Bob Vander Weide 2007 son-in-law of Richard DeVos
officially took over
- -
Orlando Magic Richard DeVos 1991 purchased the franchise 85 136,1
Orlando Magic William duPont III, James and Robert Hewitt, Pat Williams 1989 expansion fee 32,5 57,2
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Philadelphia 76ers Joshua Harris, David Blitzer, Jason Levien, Michael Rubin, Erick Thohir, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith 2011 9-man group headed by Joshua Harris bought 90% share of the team, Comcast-Spectacor & Ed Snider will retain 10% 280 280
Philadelphia 76ers Comcast 1996 purchased team 130 180,7
Philadelphia 76ers Harold Katz 1981 purchased team 12 28,8
Philadelphia 76ers Fitz Dixon 1976 purchased team 8 30,7
Syracuse Nationals Irving “Irv” S. Kosloff 1963 purchased the Syracuse Nationals
and brought them to Philadelphia
??? ???
Syracuse Nationals Danny Biasone 1947 created a team in NBL - -
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Phoenix Suns Robert Sarver 2004 purchased team 401 462,9
Phoenix Suns Jerry Colangelo 1987 purchased team 44,5 85,4
Phoenix Suns Richard Bloch and Karl Eller, Don Pitt, Don Diamond, Bhavik Darji, Marvin Meyer 1969 expansion fee 2 11,9
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Portland Trail Blazers Paul Allen 1988 transfer of ownership 70 129,0
Portland Trail Blazers Larry Weinberg 1974 purchased the remainder of stake - -
Portland Trail Blazers Larry Weinberg, Herman Sarkowsky 1973 bought out Schmertz - -
Portland Trail Blazers Larry Weinberg, Herman Sarkowsky, Robert Schmertz 1971 expansion fee 3,7 19,9
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Sacramento Kings Joe Maloof & Gavin Maloof 1998 transfer of ownership
[all entities cost 250M$]
156 208,7
Sacramento Kings Jim Thomas 1992 purchased 53%, incl. ARCO Arena 140 217,6
Kansas City Kings Joseph Benvenuti, Frank Lukenbill, Gregg Lukenbill, Robert A. Cook, Stephen H. Cippa, Frank McCormack 1983 purchased team in Kansas City 10,5 23,0
Cincinnati Royals Max and Jeremy Jacobs 1966 transfer of ownership ??? ???
Rochester Royals Les Harrison 1946 Rochester Royals in NBL - -
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
San Antonio Spurs Peter Holt 1993 transfer of ownership 75 113,2
San Antonio Spurs B.J. ‘Red’ McCombs 1988 purchased 65% (to 100%) of team 32,5 59,9
San Antonio Spurs 36 San Antonio businessmen, led by Angelo Drossos, John Schaefer and Red McCombs 1976 Entering price when ABA disbands 3,2 12,3
Dallas Chaparrals 36 San Antonio businessmen, led by Angelo Drossos, John Schaefer and Red McCombs 1973 lease deal with an option to buy within 3 years - -
Dallas Chaparrals Dallas ownership group 1968 created Dallas Chaparrals - -
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Toronto Raptors Maple Leaf 1998 total deal for 400M$ but included Air Canada Centre 125 167,2
Toronto Raptors Allan Slaight 1996 purchased 39.5% of team (added to
the 39.5% that he already owned)
66 91,7
Toronto Raptors John Bitove Jr. 1996 sold 39.5% interest 66 91,7
Toronto Raptors John Bitove Jr. 1996 expansion fee 125 173,7
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Utah Jazz Greg Miller 2008 His dad and previous owner died - -
Utah Jazz Larry Miller 1986 purchased the remaining 50% 14 27,9
Utah Jazz Larry Miller,
Sam Battistone
1985 transfer of 1/2 ownership 8 16,2
New Orleans Jazz Andrew Martin 1977 sold 20% of ownership to team majority owners - -
New Orleans Jazz Lee Schlesinger, Mark Herman 1977 purchased 30% of team - -
New Orleans Jazz 9-man group headed by Fred Rosenfield 1974 Expansion Fee 6,15 27,2
Team’s name
at the time
Owner, owners or
ownership group
Date of Action and Other Notes Price (M$) Adj. for
Inflation
Washington Wizards Ted Leonsis 2010 purchased the remaining 56 percent including debt 550 550,0
Baltimore Bullets Abe Pollin 1968 became sole owner - -
Baltimore Bullets Abe Pollin, Arnold Heft, Earl Foreman 1964 purchased team 1,1 7,7
Baltimore Bullets Bob Trager 1964 sold team 1,1 7,7
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38 Comments

Posted by on July 5, 2011 in Expanding Horizons

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

38 responses to “Buying NBA Team, Ownership Timeline with Prices

  1. Esther Cho

    December 4, 2011 at 10:36

    Very fantastic information can be found on blog .

     
  2. wiLQ

    December 5, 2011 at 20:57

    Thanks for some kind words and…
    “I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit”
    … I think I did exactly that in my next post:
    http://weaksideawareness.wordpress.com/2011/07/06/should-teams-prices-become-a-factor-in-next-cba/

     
  3. R

    April 27, 2014 at 22:37

    Great info here. You might want to read an obscure book by the beat writer of the 1970’s SuperSonics (Blaine Johnson) called “What’s Happenin’ “. He talks about an early group of Beverly Hills millionaires who play an early form of fantasy b-ball, who later go on the buy franchises (Sam Schulman, Levin, Sterling, Kaplan, Goldberg, maybe others ?). I read the book long ago so I may have gotten the names wrong, but I remember how they all wanted to be Jack Kent Cook at the time and were very envious.

     
    • R

      May 11, 2014 at 21:38

      The Bev Hills “fantasy” club owners were Weinberg, Levin, Schulman, Bloch, Klein & later Sterling. All were entertainment lawyers/businessmen who would own pro franchises in the 70’s & 80’s

       

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