Seven months after former Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson was more or less forced to put his team up for sale due to him saying some racist things in an internal email, the team has finally found a new owner, and a hefty price has been paid.
As reported by ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz, the Hawks have been purchased for $850 million by an ownership group led by Antony Ressler. Previously, Ressler made a play for the Los Angeles Clippers, offering $1.2 billion for the team, but he was eventually trumped by Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion bid.
This sale—combined with the massive dollar amount that the Clippers fetched, and the Milwaukee Bucks being sold for $550 million last year—is just the latest signal that the values of NBA franchises are still skyrocketing. The Hawks aren’t exactly a prestigious team with a rabid fanbase or an internationally recognized brand, but this is what happens when the league inks massive television contracts. In other words, if you’re looking to buy an NBA franchise in the near future, you better have at least $1 billion in your bank account.