When the Miami Heat brought together three of the top five players in the NBA in 2010, the team and players saw a wave of hatred shift towards them.
NBA fans who like to see highly competitive games were upset because they knew the Heat were going to dominate the Eastern Conference for years.
NBA fans who want to see teams develop organically and find an identity through the trials and tribulations of playing seasons together, felt the union was cheap and devalued how many other great teams were put together.
NBA fans who wanted LeBron James on their team were upset because he chose Miami.
But for all the frustration the outcome has been astounding. The NBA is more popular now than it has ever been. The NBA will receive $930 million a year for its broadcasting rights, which is an increase of 20% from the previous contract of $767 million.
If you look at the value of the teams in the league they have skyrocketed. The much publicized forced sale of the Los Angeles Clippers demonstrated the increase in value. In 2008 Forbes magazine valued the Clippers at just under $300 million. Fast forward six years and the Clippers are being sold for more than triple their 2008 value, $1 billion.
Much of the increase in value is due to Miami’s big three and their controversial decision to join forces. The attention has increased revenues league wide as well as forced the league to adopt a generous revenue sharing system which increased the value of every team in the league.
If Carmelo Anthony signs with the Miami Heat, the league would see a revitalization of 2010’s ‘The Decision’ buzz; negative and positive. There will be fans upset with the concentration of talent, others will be upset Miami is buying another championship contender and of course, Knicks fans will be furious with Anthony.
But despite the frustration the league will continue to increase the number casual viewers, thus television and merchandise revenue. While some diehard fans will be upset that their team won’t be able to compete, the owners will rake in the money and the league will exponentially grow.