Does Winning = Money?

An interesting comment, and some proceeding ones, about winning and profitability sparked my interest. This has been something I always have thought about. Fortunately, Forbes listed their NBA team valuation list, which included profitability. Some really interesting things came up, reaffirming what many Raptor Fans have known/suspected for years:


Well-well-well, what do we have here? The Raptors made more money then the Boston Celtics and San Antonio Spurs, both of which have won championships. In fact, MLSE’s profit margin is staggering compared to the two:

Raptors: 20.1%
Celtics: 13.5%
Spurs: 13.8%

Other interesting facts:

  • 2 of the top 10 most profitable teams haven’t won a championship
  • 6 of the top 10 haven’t had any post-season success in a decade
  • The Bulls are more profitable then the Lakers and Spurs (who have accounted for 7 of the last 10 championships)
  • 2 of the top 7 teams were built by Bryan Colangelo

So getting back to the Raptors, who controls this franchise? What do they do? Again, not treading any new ground here, but:

  • Ontario Teachers Pension Fund – 58%
  • CTVglobemedia – 15%
  • TD Bank Financial Group – 14%
  • Kilmer Sports Inc (Larry Tanenbaum) – 13%

The ownership face is Larry Tanenbaum, but 87% of the ownership lies with corporations and a pension fund, all of who’s sole purpose is to make money for their stakeholders. You think TD shareholders care if the Raptors wins a championship? Does the pension fund care about who plays with Bosh? Does Bell care about anything other then screwing consumers (TSN2, are you kidding me??)?

MLSE owns sports franchises (Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto FC, Toronto Marlies), but they also are property developers & owners, TV station operators, merchandisers, marketers, capitalists (how much does it cost to get a slice of pizza at a game?)…elitists.

What was their first order of business when attendance was dropping during the post Vince Carter era? Get the guy who ran the 6th most profitable NBA franchise -> Bryan Colangelo.

So back to the question at hand, does winning mean you make more money? Lets examine the payrolls of the favourites to win this years championship vs the Raptors payroll:

The Spurs may not be the favourites, but the road to the finals still runs through them in the west. So the average payroll of a championship contender is $78,697,246. Can we all agree this is the cost to win a championship (not including the cost for your GM, coach, assistant coaches, scouts, medical staff, etc)? The Raptors current payroll is $67,376,354. So to get to championship calibre, it will cost another $11,320,892, we subtract that from the Raptors profits, and you are left with $16,379,108. You think BCE/TD shareholders and Ontario Teachers are willing to accept $11mill less to win a championship? Seriously?

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