The NBA's Atlanta Hawks announced this week that the team was sold to an investment group for $850 million. This is the first league transaction since former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer bought the LA Clippers for $2 billion in 2014. After such a massive price paid by Ballmer, the question is whether the Atlanta deal signals the bursting of an NBA asset bubble.
In January, CNBC reported on what price industry insiders thought the Hawks would sell for. At the time, the range of estimates was quite high, anywhere from $700 million to $1 billion. The final amount ended up right in the middle.
More than three months later, we can look back now to see who was right, and what that possibly suggests for future transactions. In January, here were the estimates:
January 2015 Hawks purchase price estimates:
$900 million - $1 billion: Unnamed NBA co-owner
$900 million - $1 billion: Scott Rosner, Wharton
$750 million - $1 billion: Patrick Rishe, Sportsimpacts
$700 million - $750 million: Andrew Zimbalist, Smith College