The Golden State Warriors are two victories away from sweeping the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals in a lopsided series thus far.
Kevin Durant has been everything Golden State dreamed of when they landed the superstar forward, elevating his game to another level in his second run through the NBA Finals. He's been so spectacular Stephen Curry's brilliance has almost become an afterthought.
The Warriors surely can almost taste their second NBA championship in three years, but there is one interesting downside to consider in this equation. Should Golden State keep their foot on the gas and sweep Cleveland, it might actually hurt the Warriors' bottom line.
ESPN's Darren Rovell laid out the numbers and concluded the Warriors could be leaving approximately $22 million on the table should they sweep the Cavaliers. Golden State's home court advantage gave them the first two games at home.
The next two games are being held in Cleveland as LeBron James and company hope their return home gives them a much-needed boost. If Cleveland manages to win at least one game, the series will head back to Oakland for some serious revenue payout in Game 5.
If somehow the Cavaliers can come back from down 2-0, a Game 7 in Oakland could be huge. Ticket prices would surge, merchandise sales could see a bump and the Warriors would make some serious revenue.
Rovell's math on what Golden State could make in a seven-game series shows that they'd actually pay for an entire year of salary for Curry ($12.1 million) and have another $10 million on top. That's a significant amount of money for any franchise.
That revenue is arguably becoming more important to Golden State, too, with their luxury tax going up while they fund a superduperteam with the arrival of Durant. Winning championships comes at a steep cost, but the trophy at the end makes it worth it.
There's also the fact that winning titles helps generate revenue, interest and raises a franchise's brand.
The Warriors' valuation has been ballooning since they became a dominant NBA team. They're currently the third-highest valuated team in the league, an estimated $2.6 billion price tag, according to Forbes' latest rankings in February.
Sure, Warriors owner Joe Lacob would love that $20-plus million in revenue if the series goes the distance, but surely securing the championship as soon as possible is an even bigger priority. The money is incidental when a championship is on the line.