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Clippers sale raises stakes for NFL teams

Ballmer Getty Images

NFL owners have more reasons to smile tonight.  Hundreds of million more reasons.  If not billions.

Per multiple reports, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer will buy the L.A. Clippers from Donald Sterling for $2 billion.

That’s Steve Ballmer.  As in this Steve Ballmer.  Paying $2 billion.

That’s not a bad return for Sterling, who bought the team in 1981 for $12.5 million.

It’s also nearly four times more than the previous record haul of $550 million for the Milwaukee Bucks, which were sold for $550 million.  It’s also second only in all sports to the L.A. Dodgers, which were purchased most recently from Frank McCourt for $2.1 billion.

So what does that mean for NFL franchises?  The estate of Ralph Wilson is about to find out.

Two years ago, Jimmy Haslam bought the Browns reportedly for $1.05 billion.  Before that, Shad Khan purchased the Jaguars for $760 million.

If an NBA franchise can be worth $2 billion, what could an NFL team go for?

Surely, the Los Angeles location factored into the price.  And that could prompt someone who owns or who wants to buy an NFL team to suddenly get serious about moving to L.A.  If baseball and basketball teams playing there are worth more than $2 billion, what would an NFL team in L.A. be worth?

Three billion?  Four billion?  More?

Buffalo fans hopes that the estate of Ralph Wilson doesn’t find out.

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85 Responses to “Clippers sale raises stakes for NFL teams”
  1. joeflaccoallday says: May 29, 2014 8:12 PM

    Nothing to do with the NFL. You reaching.

  2. 4thqtrsaint says: May 29, 2014 8:14 PM

    Something is only worth what somebody is willing to pay.

  3. dvdman123 says: May 29, 2014 8:16 PM

    Talk about OVERPAYING! The Clippers still aren’t even the top NBA dog in L.A. despite the Lakers recent demise.

  4. mackcarrington says: May 29, 2014 8:16 PM

    If the Bills sell for a billion, they will be the highest valued “industry” in western New York.

  5. goraidersgospurs says: May 29, 2014 8:16 PM

    The Raiders logo is worth 2B alone!!!

  6. trollhammer20 says: May 29, 2014 8:18 PM

    I hope he kept the receipt…

  7. JSpicoli says: May 29, 2014 8:19 PM

    The pending lawsuits from the players and their lawyers LOWER the stakes for NFL teams.

    Shrinkage and killing the golden goose, brought to you by mom’s in SUV’s and lawyers.

  8. beardinals says: May 29, 2014 8:19 PM

    Sounds like a PR move moreso than a sound financial decision. Anyway, can I can even 1/1000th of that?

  9. dtownsportslions says: May 29, 2014 8:20 PM

    100 million. You can’t serve Sushi and Fotu at NFL games.Therefore fans won’t come. LA has the softest fans.

  10. andreweac says: May 29, 2014 8:21 PM

    This surely must be the nail in the coffin to Buffalo having a team. Each NFL owner could demand $75 million each from the new owner of the Bills to move to LA. That ain’t pocket change.

  11. shackdelrio says: May 29, 2014 8:24 PM

    There is no stadium.

  12. ramitbaby says: May 29, 2014 8:24 PM

    How much did the value of the WNBA’s LA Sparks increase since that’s more likely than a football team’s value increasing because of the purchase price of a pro basketball team.

  13. motobus says: May 29, 2014 8:25 PM

    Yeah this is a big reach. The two major factors in this price in this order: Los Angeles, and a new TV deal.

  14. rascalmanny says: May 29, 2014 8:26 PM

    Surprised the NBA let a white man buy the team. I figured it would go to Oprah.

  15. 700levelvet says: May 29, 2014 8:26 PM

    This has nothing to do with the NFL.except your liberal agenda… It’s football, yeah we like games, but give it a rest..

  16. thestrategyexpert says: May 29, 2014 8:27 PM

    I’d rather have the Bills than a set of Clippers that can be bought with bills.

  17. picksixx says: May 29, 2014 8:28 PM

    And our national debt just went down by about a billion too!

  18. JSpicoli says: May 29, 2014 8:28 PM

    Some men qualify as Mom’s in SUV’s btw.

  19. dartwick says: May 29, 2014 8:30 PM

    This means very little with regard to the Bills other than moving a team to LA looks more attractive than before.

  20. VondyP says: May 29, 2014 8:33 PM

    The reason the Clippers sold so high is because they are a contender NOW. Rarely do actual competitive teams go up for sale. The Browns and Jags sold for so low because they are pond scum in the NFL ocean. The Bills are no different, haven’t been good in years since they are in Belichick’s division. Doubtful they beat a $2billion sale.

  21. primenumber19 says: May 29, 2014 8:34 PM

    Nba is second only to soccer in terms of international appeal and money. The nfl is behind cricket. Don’t overvalue nfl franchises just yet.

  22. camcameronsucks says: May 29, 2014 8:35 PM

    I think it has everything to do with the NFL.

    An owner recently died and it seems pretty clear that the Wilson estate wants to sell the team.

    Ballmer in LA may be paying $2 billion to keep the clippers in LA. Let’s also remember that LA has a more well-known basketball team in the Lakers.

    If someone in LA will spend that much on a 2nd basketball team, what do you think someone would pay for an NFL team…

  23. VondyP says: May 29, 2014 8:35 PM

    Also an LA market automatically is worth more.

  24. titansfan1950 says: May 29, 2014 8:36 PM

    Just wait till sterling wins an antitrust lawsuit and that gets trebled to 6 billion. Wow!!!!

  25. goldiehawn9 says: May 29, 2014 8:40 PM

    Can you say the LA Chargers?

  26. jimmysee says: May 29, 2014 8:41 PM

    NFL teams play only eight home dates a year!

    How much can that be worth?!

  27. allidoiswin55 says: May 29, 2014 8:44 PM

    Terrible news for the sonics that was half the buyers from the sonics now gone . I absolutley hate Stern he totally screwed Seattle In SONICGATE and now the hopes of getting a new team are now gone again with the buyer jumping ship after vetoing his previous bid for another team . Thanks NBA that’s why you won’t be king of sports ever !

  28. mashoaf says: May 29, 2014 8:46 PM

    The price was mostly about The new tv contract.

  29. andrewluck12 says: May 29, 2014 8:48 PM

    Lol you crack me up sometimes. Maybe the majority of the owners minions will urge 50 senators to send a letter to Jim irsay to sell the colts before he gets punished.

  30. bnwpnw says: May 29, 2014 8:55 PM

    Ballmer also once bought aQuantive for$6 billion.

    Who? Exactly.

  31. mrsryansfamoustoejam says: May 29, 2014 8:55 PM

    Idiocy. LA does not support the NFL.

  32. beartastic45 says: May 29, 2014 8:57 PM

    No nfl team will be worth $2 Billion. The only person that has that type of cash is Paul Allen and he already owns the Seahawks. The only two people that have $2 Billion in cash in America are Larry Ellison and Bill Gates. Gates has no desire to own a professional sports franchise. Ellison on the other hand would consider the Raiders or Bills but only for the LA market. The Clippers being bought for $2B is a major blow to the NFLs ego hahaha!

  33. root4cleveland says: May 29, 2014 8:57 PM

    $2 billion….these are poor man’s figures.

  34. blabidibla says: May 29, 2014 8:57 PM

    The SEA Clippers.

  35. wwwmattcom says: May 29, 2014 9:00 PM

    THEN WHY DID THE RAMS AND RAIDERS LEAVE!

  36. isphet71 says: May 29, 2014 9:00 PM

    With the right players and coach, the Clippers could be worth every penny in that market.

    Might have been more appropriate to ask what an NFL team IN LA would be worth if one of two NBA teams there is worth 2 bil. That’s a premium market.

    After this sale, NFL owners might start re-considering relocating their team there. That’s crazy money.

  37. thelastpieceofcheese says: May 29, 2014 9:00 PM

    Buffalo fans, I regret to inform you that your bills are gone!

    Money and greed took them away.

  38. bobnelsonjr says: May 29, 2014 9:02 PM

    The vikings ownership group absolutely blew it staying in Minnesota.

    They could have easily tripled the value of the vikings by moving to LA.
    Now they are getting a bottom 7 stadium (in ticket sales) and are stuck for 30 years!!

    Small market, small stadium, small revenue, small thinking.

  39. omniscientmoi says: May 29, 2014 9:02 PM

    Why should the high price be shocking? Just look at the prospective buyer, Ballmer. He’s not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. He made his fortune by being one of those guys who was in the right place at the right time (Microsoft, in the early years).

  40. doggeatdogg says: May 29, 2014 9:05 PM

    Obviously he was willing to pay this much but why not star the bid at $800 million and see where that takes you. That team is not worth $2billion and even if he was willing to pay more for it, it does not mean it’s worth as much. Anyway, Seattle now has a team after all these years.

  41. thevikingslol says: May 29, 2014 9:07 PM

    I heard the vikings are worth about 50 bucks and a handful of French fries found between the seat

  42. cruzcowboy says: May 29, 2014 9:12 PM

    The teams are worth whatever someone is willing to pay.

  43. 1rockyracoon says: May 29, 2014 9:13 PM

    I remember when laughed at Jeff Lurie when he bought the Eagles for $180 million back in the 90′s. the team is now valued at more than $1 billion. I don’t remember the last time sn owner in the 3 pro leagues has sold a team for less than they bought it.

  44. jayniner says: May 29, 2014 9:15 PM

    Apparently no one realizes it is illegal to record a conversation in California without the other parties consent and knowledge.

    Not only will Sterling retain possession, he will sue the crap out of the NBA for the forced sale of the team, which won’t happen once his attorney’s file the lawsuit in the next day or two, considering it is against the law.

    Use your brain before your emotions people.

  45. yate3097 says: May 29, 2014 9:21 PM

    What’s past is prologue.

    Los Angeles Rams. They aren’t getting a new stadium from St Louis and Kroenke would immediately increase the value of the franchise by more than a billion dollars with an easy move back out west. They have an existing fanbase in LA too.

  46. nyyjetsknicks says: May 29, 2014 9:24 PM

    The owners of the Lakers, Knicks and Yankees are really happy tonight.

  47. thestrategyexpert says: May 29, 2014 9:29 PM

    Pi billion is a great price.

    Then you get to continue earning interest since it would take the actuaries an endless amount of time to figure out how to process the transaction.

  48. RavenzGunnerz says: May 29, 2014 9:33 PM

    You see… those courtside tickets, and upstairs owners box are a big draw to celebrities and everyone who wants to feed their ego in LA.

    Lakers games used to be really really loud. But now, you can hear a pin drop despite the arena being full. You know why? a bunch of rich people, who do not care for basketball, raised ticket prices, just sitting there to be seen.

    It’s indoor, it’s comfortable, it’s 41games/year.

    So, I am not surprised about this sale price.

  49. htown995 says: May 29, 2014 9:43 PM

    Man donald sterling sure racked up making almost 1.9 billion in profit and espn said the dallas cowgirls is only worth 2 billion id buy any other team besides the cowgirls

  50. billybone says: May 29, 2014 9:47 PM

    Supply and demand at it’s finest.

  51. wiskybuck says: May 29, 2014 9:48 PM

    All that means is more cost for the fans. Tickets, merchandise, etc.

  52. quicktaker says: May 29, 2014 9:57 PM

    Can we now stop giving these shady owners public money to build stadiums?

  53. chinahand11 says: May 29, 2014 10:06 PM

    Doesn’t matter. Sterling is going to own the league when this hits the court system. Can this happen to you? Someone records a private conversation and they make you sell your house over it?

  54. natigator says: May 29, 2014 10:07 PM

    Not to go all Occupy or anything, but geez have we pushed enough wealth up to the elite caste yet?

    2 BILLION?!? For a basketball team that can’t possibly be that popular in LA and will always play second fiddle behind one of the biggest franchises in all of North America, the Lakers. The same Clippers franchise that has been a joke for almost 30 years and is often derided as the most poorly run franchise in North America goes for 2 Billion!

    What would the Lakers go for, 10 Billion?

    I know its Ballmers money and he can spend it any way he wishes, but I gotta think the Clips could’ve been had for 1 Billion and the other Billion could’ve been used for something other than giving it to a sleezeball and his heirs

  55. jpaq68 says: May 29, 2014 10:09 PM

    Say hello to your Los Angeles Bills!

    …. and they’ll get their cheerleaders back

  56. jimmysee says: May 29, 2014 10:10 PM

    It’s the greater fool theory in operation.

  57. bert1913 says: May 29, 2014 10:14 PM

    the talking heads keep saying that ballmer will move the clippers to seattle, this will never happen. why would you leave the 2nd largest market for the 14th largest market? the nba will continue to use seattle to black mail other cities into paying for new arenas.

  58. coachbeck says: May 29, 2014 10:30 PM

    He got top dollar to ensure he sold. He wasn’t gonna sell otherwise. As he shouldn’t have.

  59. coachbeck says: May 29, 2014 10:32 PM

    Bills will go for close to that. If Cleveland is 1b. Imagine what a real franchise is worth

  60. johnheisman says: May 29, 2014 10:34 PM

    NFL season ticket holders are required to pay full price for two exhibition games so there is actually 10 NFL games.

    Even though the NBA has 41 games plus potentially multiple playoff games, I think NFL teams make more on ticket sales. NFL teams probably average less fan a year but the ticket prices are far higher on average and there are many more luxury boxes which are a big source of revenue. In some cities there are also personal seat licenses.

    Basketball teams benefit from local TV contracts and national TV contracts with TNT, ESPN and ABC. NFL teams collect huge TV fees from CBS, FOX, ESPN and NBC. They also have a big contract with DIRECTV and the fees are split evenly. It is possible that a local NBA TV contract in LA or NY might surpass what an NFL team receives in TV fees but I would be surprised.

  61. arcaero says: May 29, 2014 10:44 PM

    Everything in California is overvalued. Hence the massive real estate bubbles. And football has never drawn in LA. Too many transplants.

    Better start building some desalination plants there, Cali, or you’re going to have an exodus.

  62. goldrush36 says: May 29, 2014 11:13 PM

    Wow didn’t Forbes just put a value on the Clippers at about $600M? Sterling is coming out of this golden. Even if he has to give half to his wife….

  63. gavriloprincip33 says: May 29, 2014 11:42 PM

    Ballmer’s worth around $20 billion; he can afford to overpay for the Clips…

  64. silverhornet says: May 30, 2014 12:22 AM

    LA Dolphins!

  65. lanman11 says: May 30, 2014 12:48 AM

    Wow. You would think he was buying the Celtics for that price.

  66. jeanoroid says: May 30, 2014 1:29 AM

    One more time…. How much did the Milwaukee Bucks fetch?

  67. magicmtndan says: May 30, 2014 2:07 AM

    Ballmer overpaid probably by $1B. But the competiton for the team (Oprah, Magic, others) drove the price up and the Clippers are suddenly the most expensive NBA team which will drive up the value of all the other teams (the Lakers are now worth the same or more).

    The purchase price will, without a doubt, increase the value of ALL sports teams and makes the recent Dodgers purchase look like a bargain at $2B (they average well over 3,000,000 fans attending their games per year!).

    Florio is right (as much as I hate to say it) and you naysayers need to get some economics lessons.

  68. whodatnhollywood says: May 30, 2014 3:35 AM

    It’s ironic people are referencing the Buffalo Bills and LA Clippers.When I was growing up, the Clippers WERE the Buffalo Braves with Bob McAdoo, Randy Smith, Ernie DeGregorio, John Shumate and Marvin “Bad News” Barnes. They left Buffalo for San Diego, then moved to LA.

    BTW, if the Clippers are worth $2B, the Lakers must be worth $10B!

  69. rukkus1 says: May 30, 2014 3:55 AM

    I can’t believe we’ve let sports get this out of control. If the wealth in this world was just a little more equal, life would be good for everyone.

    I still can’t wait for football season, even though I know it contributes to the madness.

  70. olcap says: May 30, 2014 6:16 AM

    What Irsay did put people’s ACTUAL LIVES in danger. This is far more serious than what Sterling did and it’s ridiculous that he should have to sell his team, but Irsay does not.

  71. trspat says: May 30, 2014 6:24 AM

    Everyone in LA should take notice, because when he moves the team to Seattle your theory and the hero status of the lowlife that taped sterling will get nuked.

  72. 12brichandfamous says: May 30, 2014 7:32 AM

    I find it difficult to believe that anyone will bid 3x to 4x the market price AND the Forbes valuation. This sounds like Sterling’s team saying “look at the demand, you gotta buy now while you still have a chance.” Shill marketing plain and simple.

  73. txstaff says: May 30, 2014 9:06 AM

    Have you seen the locker Sammy Watkins stood infront of for pic? That stadium alone pushes price down

  74. bencoates57 says: May 30, 2014 9:36 AM

    I’m happy for Sterling

  75. youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain says: May 30, 2014 10:29 AM

    Bahahahahahahah…Steve Ballmer?? Too freaking funny. He’ll do for the Clippers what he did for Microsoft: Steer the ship toward the reef and try and sink it.

  76. johnster67 says: May 30, 2014 10:29 AM

    This is the same guy that brought you Microsoft Bob and Windows 8. Par for the course.

  77. circlingthewagons says: May 30, 2014 10:53 AM

    I certainly hope it’s not a bad omen for the Bills’ sale that the Clippers used to play in Buffalo….

  78. bearssuck says: May 30, 2014 11:27 AM

    What little interest/respect I had for the NBA has now gone away.

  79. rbirving says: May 30, 2014 11:31 AM

    I think it actually makes it more attractive for giving LA an expansion franchise. More money to split among the existing owners.

  80. prospero63 says: May 30, 2014 1:15 PM

    Yes, when an NFL owner says something similar and the NFL decides to try to run them out of the league, and some other rich guy decides to overpay to make a politically correct concession, then yeah. Till then, keep stretching so you don’t pull something.

  81. djshnooks says: May 30, 2014 1:19 PM

    Ps. Don’t forget, the despised and “small market” Buffalo Bills still make more revenue than teams in bigger stadiums and bigger markets…more than 1/4 the league.

    Oh yeah, they also just sold the most season-tickets in a decade-plus.

    There is plenty of money to be made in Buffalo, NY, and with the Buffalo Bills.

  82. keepyerstickontheice says: May 30, 2014 2:38 PM

    Ballmer had to pay $1.8B because Donald Sterling was about to sell the team to his longtime friend Anthony Ressler for $1.2B, and nobody wanted that.

  83. scbaby2013 says: Jun 1, 2014 12:42 PM

    LA has a great fan base. It’s all about location and that’s why the clips sold for 2 billion. If a new stadium and an nfl team comes to LA I bet that franchise’s worth increases dramatically

  84. stompout36 says: Jun 1, 2014 4:24 PM

    Any comment that does’t mention Stan Kroenke building the Rams a stadium is missing the obvious.

  85. stompout36 says: Jun 1, 2014 4:24 PM

    In Inglewood…

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