Pending a vote from the NBA’s Board of Governors, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling will be stripped of his ownership and the league will conduct a sale of the team. This is not too unfamiliar to Angelenos. In 2012, Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt was forced to sell the team after filing for bankruptcy. MLB took over the team and conducted the sale along with the Blackstone group and eventually struck a deal with Guggenheim Baseball Partners for an unprecedented $2.3B, which is still the largest sale in sports history.
Now, with Sterling presumably being ousted as owner, the NBA will sell off the Clippers for the largest deal in NBA history. Currently the NBA record for sale price is $550M for the Milwaukee Bucks, which occurred less than a month ago when Bucks owner Herb Kohl sold the team to Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens. The Clippers, who play in the second largest market in the United States, are easily worth over a billion dollars, especially when you consider that the teams television rights will be up for sale after the 2015-16 season. While the Clippers television deal won’t come close to touching the Los Angeles Lakers 20-year deal with Time Warner Cable, which is worth about $3B, it will be one of the largest in NBA history.
There will not be a shortage of billionaires lining up to purchase the Clippers. The team has two of the best seven players in the NBA, Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, an incredible stadium, a solid fan base, and an incredibly valuable market. They’re also one of the most competitive teams in the league and will be so for the foreseeable future. The price will be astronomical. Most expect the Clippers to sell for somewhere between $1.3B and $1.5B, easily exceeding the largest sale price by almost a billion dollars. The question now is who will be the next owner of the Los Angeles Clippers? We have some ideas.