• Loading stock data...
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Warriors Missing Playoffs Has Big-Money Consequences

  • Golden State can hit nine-figure revenues from playoff ticket sales.
  • The team also draws major TV audiences for the NBA.
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Warriors’ season ended Tuesday night as they fell to the Kings 118-94 in a play-in game. The Kings will face the Pelicans Friday for the right to face the No. 1 seed Thunder in the playoffs.

While it wasn’t expected that the Warriors would shock the gauntlet that is the Western Conference, it’s a disappointing way to go for the dimmed dynasty, from both a basketball and financial standpoint. Any Warriors playoff run is an enormous profit engine, both for the team and the league. And that tap getting turned off comes just as the Warriors have huge bills coming due.

The Warriors are the league’s most valuable franchise, sitting at $7.7 billion. The team makes more than $4 million in ticket sales with each regular season game (about a million dollars more than the next highest teams), and surpassed $100 million during the run to the 2022 Finals before the NBA took its piece (roughly double their championship opponent, the Boston Celtics, who are not exactly lacking a loyal fanbase), Sportico reported. Home playoff revenue sat at roughly $130 million in 2016, $95 million in 2017, and $130 million in 2018, according to The Athletic.

With last night’s game in Sacramento, the Warriors won’t even get one home playoff game for only the third time in the past 12 seasons.

This loss of revenue is hitting at the same time as massive payouts will be heading out the door. The Warriors have the most expensive roster in the league, and broke a record at the start of the season for having the biggest payroll in NBA history with $208.2 million, according to Forbes. A huge luxury tax payment is coming in June, with Spotrac currently projecting their tax bill at more than $176 million. Some offseason maneuvering last year means that they may avoid the tax entirely in 2024-25 after huge bills the last two years; Klay Thompson, who makes $43.2 million annually and went scoreless in Tuesday’s game, will enter free agency this offseason.

The Warriors’ early exit is also unfortunate for the NBA, which has historically gotten a ratings boost from the team’s runs.

Before the Lakers’ win and the Warriors’ loss, there was a possibility the two could meet again in the Play-In Tournament, after their 2021 play-in matchup averaged 5.62 million viewers. Last season, the Warriors and Kings drew the biggest first-round audience in 21 years with 7.5 million viewers on ABC. Golden State advanced to play the Lakers, and drew 7.4 million viewers in Game 1—the most-watched West semifinal game ever on cable, and the most-watched conference semifinal game in more than a decade. Finals viewership dipped without the Warriors between their championship berths in 2019 and 2022.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

The NBA’s Final Four May Not Be Exactly What the League Envisioned

This final four will need to lean on its own unique drama to draw big audiences.

Sports World’s Ground Zero: Dallas to Host NBA and NHL Conference Finals

American Airlines Center is the first arena to host NHL, NBA conference finals games in the same season since 2003.

MLB Officially Investigating Gambling Allegations Against Ohtani’s Close Friend and Longtime Teammate

David Fletcher reportedly used the same bookmaker as Ohtani’s former interpreter.

WNBA’s Boom Time: Record Growth, Clark’s Debut, a Controversial Deal

League attendance is up by nearly a third, while the Liberty set a single-game ticketing record.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

The Next Era of the Harlem Globetrotters


Featured Today


‘This Is Semi-Pro’: Inside One Arena Football League Team’s Collapse

The collapse of the Georgia Force, as told by the players who lived it.
Michael Block signs autographs on the 18th hole during day three of practice for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.
May 19, 2024

‘I Prefer It This Way’: How Life Works for PGA Club Pros

Here’s how life works for the qualifiers at golf’s second major.
February 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; The grounds of the Capitol Building empty out following the conclusion of President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019.
May 18, 2024

‘A Breathtaking Lobbying Campaign’: The NCAA’s Sophisticated Effort to Save Amateurism

Inside the carefully coordinated, multimillion-dollar operation to end the athletes’ rights era.
May 14, 2024

The WNBA Was Forged in Houston. Why Won’t It Go Back There?

Houston’s a perfect fit for expansion. The league isn’t considering it yet.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers

Historic Premier League Season Closes As U.S. Influence Expands

Man City can expect to receive roughly $79 million from the EPL’s system of merit payments.
May 19, 2024

PGA Championship Drama Nearly Delivers a Major Boost to LIV Golf

Xander Schauffele takes home $3.3 million for his victory.
May 20, 2024

WNBA Investigating Las Vegas Tourism Arm’s $100K Payments to Aces Players

The sponsorship is worth more than several players’ salaries.

Major League Rugby’s Vision for American Rugby

How Major League Rugby is leading the Rugby renaissance in the U.S.
May 17, 2024

The WNBA Rookies Are Creating a New Celebrity Row

Major celebs like Kim Kardashian and Latto are showing up for the newbies.
May 16, 2024

Preakness in Spotlight: Chance of a Triple Crown Winner Bolsters Status

The presence of Kentucky Derby winner Mystik Dan gives a big boost to the Triple Crown’s middle leg.
May 15, 2024

PGA Championship Setting Revenue Records, but LIV Drama Still Looms

The PGA Championship tees off Thursday morning at Valhalla Golf Club.
May 15, 2024

Caitlin Clark Debuts With WNBA’s Most-Watched Game in Decades

The game averaged 2.12 million viewers, the WNBA’s highest since 2001.