Cleveland Cavaliers Worth With LeBron Hits $1B Valuation

LeBron James’ latest relocation may have been a billion dollar decision. Bloomberg reports that the addition of James has pushed the Cleveland Cavaliers’ worth upwards of $1B a valuation.

“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.

In 2013, the Cavaliers attendance was 16th in the league, with Quicken Loans Arena averaging 84% capacity for the season. The team also played in 10 nationally televised games. Both numbers will increase significantly, as the LeBron effect has already taken ahold across the league.

Shortly after his announcement, Cleveland’s phone lines went down due to an influx of fans seeking season tickets.

In regards to apparel, the NBA Store started taking presale orders for LeBron’s new Cleveland jersey even before a definite number was confirmed. 

In terms of visibility, marketability and championship potential, LeBron has lifted the Cavs into another strata.

Schwartz has compared LeBron’s return to Cleveland – and the valuation – to the Donald Sterling situation with the LA Clippers. Namely that the enhanced media coverage has driven up the franchise’s worth. More eyes and more interest equals more money.

“As we saw from the Clippers, whenever there’s a frenzy over a team it can be difficult to asses where the ceiling is,” Schwartz said. “The team becomes a trophy asset when there’s a catalyst event surrounding it.”

Cleveland was valued by Forbes at $515 million in January of this year.