Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Knicks: A Business, Man

With the South Beach SuperFriends arriving in town yesterday (by way of what I would imagine is a candy-apple red Lear jet fueled by shoveling various No. 23 Cleveland Cavaliers jerseys and old faxes from Pat Riley's files into an on-board furnace), many casual hoops fans will turn their attention to Madison Square Garden this evening. The Knicks-Heat tilt will be broadcast nationally on TNT and I presume that the team of howler monkeys behind the Worldwide Leader's "Heat Index" may even fling feces from their seats at press row during TV timeouts. Tickets have long since sold out and important advertisers are geeked up for their spots to run during each of the aforementioned commercial breaks. Money will pour hand over foam fist into various coffers and cash registers. Many of which will be blue and/or orange.

At first blush, it would seem that the visiting Heat are the fount of this briskly flowing revenue stream while the Knicks are merely some lucky pigmentless deepwater fish with muscles too atrophied to fight the current. And, to a certain extent this will be true tonight, because perhaps TNT isn't bringing this game to homes in fly-over country if the Sacramento Kings are in town. But a recent report from Wall Street prayer book Forbes reveals that the New York Knickerbockers have more fiscal might of their own than many may have guessed.

According to Forbes, the 'bockers are the most valuable franchise in the National Basketball Association, worth a cool $655 million. The No. 2 franchise on the list was the Los Angeles Lakers. The defending champs carry a price for $643 million. Good for them.

While I have nothing but disdain for the younger Dolan (and I guess for his father for leaving him in charge of the family store), I do feel some perverse, pointless pride in this ranking. Like some sort of "I told ya' so" glee after listening to people say the Knicks were irrelevant for the past several years and for insisting that so-called majesty of the franchise, and its home, mattered only to old fans. The Knicks apparently also matter to some very important people at JPMorgan Chase.