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Forbes ranks Nets as fifth most valuable franchise ... with ninth richest TV deal and second richest owner

Why is this man smiling?
Why is this man smiling?
Bruce Bennett

You want to know why Mikhail Prokhorov has been willing to spend big bucks on the Nets? Darrell Rovell thinks he does... It's a great investment.

In two years, Forbes estimates the move to the Barclays Center has contributed to a 108 percent rise in franchise value. Just two years ago, Forbes said the team was the 14th most valuable team in the NBA with a worth of $357 million. This year, the team owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, is worth $780 million and is the fifth most-valuable franchise in the league. At 47 percent, the Nets franchise value rose faster than any other team in the league in the past year, Forbes estimates.

The Forbes Business of Basketball issue is out and it ranks the 30 teams by things like their value, their local TV rights deals, and their owners' deep pockets.

The Nets finish high in all of them. The rise in value to nearly $800 million is particularly interesting. Prokhorov paid out $223 million in cash in late 2009 for the team and assumed 80 percent of its debt. He also laid out $60 million to cover the costs of operating the team and lend Bruce Ratner $76 million to cover the cost of building the non revenue-producing part of the arena It's likely not just the fastest growing NBA franchise, it's also may be the fastest growing asset of ONEXIM, Prokhorov's parent company.

Forbes also reports that the Nets lost $19 million in 2013. Some estimates have put the number as high as $50 million. But the value of the franchise is likely to rise as the team improves and the arena gets the Islanders in two years. For example, the financial magazine also reports the Nets have the ninth most valuable local TV rights package, currently at $20 million. Presumably, the value will escalate as the team ratings improve.

Prokhorov, who Forbes last year estimated had a net worth of $13 billion, ranks second to Paul Allen in the NBA's richest owners. However, Dmitry Razumov, Prokhorov's No. 2, told a Russian publication last year, that number could be as high as $15 billion, which would equal Allen's wealth.

In another indicator of the team --and Barclays Center's-- value Sports Technie reports...

The Nets – with help from a powerful tech partner in Cisco, a powerful challenge in moving to a powerful new home, and a powerful opponent working in the same powerful city for the same powerful fans – are leading the way, helping their organization and the NBA earn respect as one of marketing’s true global powers.