Jun 20, 2023 - Sports

Michael Jordan cashes in on Hornets sale

Most expensive sports franchise sales
Note: The Commanders' sale is still awaiting league approval. Data: Sportico; Chart: Rahul Mukherjee/Axios

Michael Jordan agreed on Friday to sell his majority stake in the Charlotte Hornets at a $3 billion valuation, ending his 13-year run as the team's owner.

Why it matters: That's the seventh-most expensive sale price ever for a sports franchise. Six of the seven richest sales have come in the past 13 months.

Details: Jordan, who will keep a minority stake in the team once the deal is finalized, sold to a group led by Hornets minority owner Gabe Plotkin and Atlanta Hawks minority owner Rick Schnall. With Jordan out, the National Basketball Association will have zero Black majority owners.

By the numbers: Jordan is widely considered the best player in NBA history, yet his lifetime NBA salary ($93.9 million) pales in comparison to what he's made elsewhere, bringing in roughly $4 billion between his Nike earnings and the Hornets sale. Then there's the on-court discrepancy:

  • In 15 years as a player, Jordan won six rings and played in 179 playoff games.
  • In 13 years as an owner, Jordan's Hornets had four winning seasons and played in just 15 playoff games (three first-round series losses)

The big picture: Despite that run of sub-mediocrity, Jordan's return on investment is roughly 10x his original purchase ($275M), further proof that sports ownership is just about the best investment there is.

Snapshot: The 10 most expensive sales in history, ordered by rate of return…

  • 🏈 Denver Broncos: Bought for $78M in 1984, sold for $4.65B in 2022 (59.6x return)
  • ⚾️ New York Mets: Bought for $81M in 1986, sold for $2.42B in 2020 (29.9x)
  • 🏀 Houston Rockets: Bought for $85M in 1993, sold for $2.2B in 2017 (25.9x)
  • ⚽️ Chelsea: Bought for $233M in 2003, sold for $3.16B in 2022 (13.6x)
  • 🏈 Carolina Panthers: Bought for $206M in 1993, sold for $2.28B in 2018 (11.1x)
  • 🏀 Hornets: Bought for $275M in 2010, sold for $3B in 2023 (10.9x)
  • 🏀 Phoenix Suns: Bought for $401M in 2004, sold for $4B in 2023 (10x)
  • 🏀 New Jersey Nets: Bought for $393M in 2010, sold for $3.3B in 2019 (8.4x)
  • 🏈 Washington Commanders: Bought for $800M in 1999, sold for $6 billion in 2023 (7.6x)
  • 🏀 Milwaukee Bucks: Bought for $550M in 2014, sold for $3.2B in 2023 (5.8x)
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