This industry is up 74 percent from last year

Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers
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Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers

If any company saw its market value increase by 74 percent in one year, that would be a fantastic year all around. If an entire INDUSTRY saw such a boost, that would be something else altogether.

Well that's what the NBA did in 2014. According to estimates by Forbes, the market value of the league's 30 teams increased by 74 percent. Every single team saw an improvement. In case it wasn't obvious, these market values are at all-time highs.

The two biggest factors were clearly (1) the giant television contract the league secured with Disney and Turner, and (2) the $2 billion price paid by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to buy the Los Angeles Clippers.

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The massive step up in value has led to a new wave of interest in selling teams while the market is hot: the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets may see sales this year above a billion dollars each. It's hard to imagine another 74 percent jump this year, so owners looking for a quick gain may be smart to get out now. This is one area in which past performance is certainly not indicative of future returns.

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To get some comparison for how great a return the NBA had, consider that only nine individual companies in the S&P 500 saw their stock price increase by over 74 percent. That means the entire NBA—as an industry—had a better return than 98 percent of the stocks in the index. Truly remarkable.