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NBA Eyes Up USD$2.5 Billion Fees For Expansion Teams In Las Vegas And Seattle

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BA commissioner, Adam Silver, has revealed the NBA is considering adding two new expansion teams for a fee of around USD$2.5 billion each, in an effort to inject more cash into the league.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported the NBA has floated an expansion fee of USD$2.5 billion apiece for two new teams, with multiple offers expected from Las Vegas and Seattle-based groups.

The USD$2.5 billion fee would become the highest sale price for a professional sports team in North American history and would go a long way to helping the league and its teams recover from the financial impacts of COVID-19.

With the expected expansion fees the new teams would have to pay, each of the 30 existing teams in the league would be given approximately USD$166.7 million to use as they see fit to help offset the losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the longer-term revenue distribution that would see the existing 30 teams receive less national revenue for existing sponsorships.

Speaking before the start of the 2020/21 NBA season, Silver said: “I think I’ve always said that it’s sort of the manifest destiny of the league that you expand at some point.”

“I’d say it’s caused us to maybe dust off some of the analyses on the economic and competitive impacts of expansion.

“We’ve been putting a little bit more time into it than we were pre-pandemic.

“But certainly not to the point that expansion is on the front burner.

“You know, we’re very appreciative of the markets that have indicated an interest in having an NBA team.

“One of the issues for the league office, and this comes up all the time in terms of competitiveness, it’s not a secret that we don’t have 30 competitive teams at any given time right now when you go into the season, measured by likelihood of ability to win a championship.

“One of our focuses as the league office is always on how do you create better competition.

“So that’s one of the things that we continue to think about as we consider expansion…

“It’s an economic issue and it’s a competitive issue for us.

“So it’s one that we’ll continue to study, but we’re spending a little bit more time on it than we were pre-pandemic,” he said.

For the potential expansion teams, experts have suggested Seattle and Las Vegas would be firmly at the top of the priority list, due to the former existence of the Seattle Supersonics from 1967 to 2008 before being relocated to Oklahoma City, along with the recent Las Vegas franchises to be introduced in other major US sports in recent year including the Golden Knights in the NHL and the Raiders in the NFL.