Even in the midst of the worst four-year stretch in team history, the Los Angeles Lakers remain the premier franchise in the NBA. The team regularly makes appearances on national TV despite their poor record, and the fans seem to populate every building around the country.
Last season represented the first in 20 years without Kobe Bryant, a bonafide superstar. The Lakers have always had stars on the team going all the way back to the days of Elgin Baylor and Jerry West to the ‘Showtime’ era with Magic Johnson, James Worthy, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
That lack of a star didn’t hurt the Lakers’ bottom line however, as according to Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst of ESPN, the Lakers were by far the most profitable team in the league:
The Lakers finished with a gargantuan $115 million profit as measured by net income even after writing a revenue-sharing check for almost $49 million, according to league accounting. That was the highest net income in the league by nearly $25 million. The biggest factor was the $149 million they took in from massive local media rights deals, primarily with Time Warner.
The Lakers profiting nearly $25 million more than the Golden State Warriors, the league’s second-most profitable team, shows just how popular the franchise remains. The Warriors had the benefit of more national TV exposure and a run to the NBA Championship and still weren’t close to the Lakers.
Now as the team has drafted Lonzo Ball, who already has a massive following, and Brandon Ingram continues to improve, the Lakers are only going to continue to get better. With their eyes on the likes of LeBron James and Paul George next summer in free agency, it could only be a matter of time before the Lakers have another superstar on the roster and further seperate themselves.