Knicks Among Worst Spenders… In Sports

Bloomberg recently compiled a ranking of the smartest spending sports franchises. They used salary data to calculate how much each team spent per win over the last five season, then compared each team against the league average. Additionally, they dished out bonuses for valuable victories, such as wins above .500 and playoff and championship victories. Each win above .500 gave teams an extra .5 win bonus, while playoff wins counted for 10% of a season (8.2 wins in basketball, for instance) and championship victories were valued at 50% of a season (41 wins in the NBA).

Now, using such criteria, the teams were ranked. Let’s just say the Knicks weren’t the most fiscally conservative team the past five years.

Out of the 30 NBA teams, the New York Knicks ranked 29th, right in front of the Minnesota Timberwolves and right behind the Brooklyn Nets – actually, much closer to the Nets than the Timberwolves, so that’s good, I guess. Over the examined time period, the Knicks had an average payroll of $87 million, just about 21.5% above the league average of $69.3 million. They won 32.4 games a year, around 18% fewer than the league average of 39.4. Sadly, over the past five years, the Knicks only won .8 games while over the .500 mark, on average, significantly below the league’s 5.37 average. I’m just going to skip playoff wins, as it’s depressing (.2 vs. 2.79 average).

If we broaden the query to include other leagues, the Knicks come in 116th, in front of the Chicago Cubs, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Mets (Another New York team!), the Timberwolves and the St. Louis Rams.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics are the top two NBA teams, coming in at 5th and 7th, respectively. They get a huge boost from their successful escapades into the post-season.

Looking at the Knicks’ payrolls over the years, this isn’t too unexpected. I mean, the Knicks did spend around $95 million in 2008-2009 for 32 wins, and an even uglier 23 wins in 2007-2008. Remember those days? $16+ million a year for Steve Francis, $19+ million for Stephon Marbury, more than $5 million for Jerome James, which was $5 million too much. Oh, don’t forget a combined $20+ million a year for Eddy Curry, Malik Rose and Quentin Richardson. Ah, my eyes hurt.

Let’s agree to never look back, okay?

I think this study by Bloomberg is quite interesting, though, since it illuminates that the Knicks spend much more than their peers and, despite irresponsible spending habits, the Knicks remain the second most valuable franchise in the NBA, right behind the Lakers, valued at $730 million. Dolan sees annual revenues of nearly $250 million a year, so he’s laughing all the way to the bank. Now, imagine if the Knicks doled out semi-responsible contracts and actually recorded some meaningful wins. Think about the money you’d rake in, James Dolan.

  • Max Fisher-Cohen

    no need to look back. I look at right now and see the same thing. Only difference is before we had terrible management and bad luck, while now we’ve had terrible management and decent luck.