They may not be atop of the NBA in wins, but the Knicks are beating everyone in one category: big bucks.
By boosting its worth 12 percent in 2009-10, the Knicks are the league’s most valuable franchise at $655 million, according to a Forbes ranking released Wednesday.
Even in the worst of times, the Knicks typically make bank – mostly because they’re in a high-value market and play in Madison Square Garden.
But its 12 percent increase shows that Knicks basketball – once ridiculed for its chronic losing ways – has rebounded, said Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen.
“It’s amazing what the Knicks have done if you look at the futility of the team on the court in the last decade to now they’re the most valuable team,” Badenhausen said. “If you want to get tickets to the Knicks, prices are right behind the Lakers.”
The Knicks have benefited by increased ticket sales and sponsorship growth at the Garden, Forbes said.
The Garden, which controls the Knicks, was formerly owned by parent company Cablevision, which also owns amNewYork. A Garden spokeswoman said the team has been playing to more than 99 percent capacity this season.
Despite failing to entice LeBron James, the Knicks have been helped by newcomer Amar’e Stoudemire and a respectable record of 23-21, said Robert Boland, sports management professor at NYU's Tisch Center.
“Now that the Knicks are performing again, it’s amazing to see the increase (in value),” Boland said.
If anything, the Knicks are bucking the trend in the NBA.
“The economy has hit the NBA hard,” Badenhausen said. “They’re having trouble selling tickets."
Tommy Dee, of theknicksblog.com, said the Knicks’ aggressive marketing and Stoudemire’s star power will only help the brand.
“Fans knew that they were going to be better,” Dee said.