LeBron James is taking his talents back to Cleveland. That's fantastic news for a beleaguered city that hasn't won a championship in one of America's four major professional sports since the Browns won the NFL title in 1964. But it's also terrific news for Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.
With the best basketball player on the planet back on the Cavs' roster, the franchise is now worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 billion, Bloomberg reports.
"Certainly the brand itself, as well as the revenue that the team is able to generate, is much stronger with him — to the point of a billion-dollar franchise," said valuation expert Peter Schwartz, managing director of venture capital at Boston-based Christie & Associates LLC. [Bloomberg]
Before James' return, Forbes pegged the Cavs as the 19th most valuable franchise in the league, worth an estimated $515 million. If Schwartz's snap valuation is accurate, the Cavs are now worth more than all but three NBA franchises, per Forbes: the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Chicago Bulls.