By Paul M.Â BanksÂ
The Utah Jazz is projected by most experts to win their third straight Northwest Division title. They’re led by 2008 U.S. Olympians Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, who have replaced the legendary John Stockton and Karl Malone as the point guard-power forward duo leading the Jazz to postseason glory. When the current star combo led the Jazz to a 51 win season and the 2007 Western Conference Finals, the marketplace responded. This breakthrough season, after three consecutive non-playoff years, helped stimulate a 7% gain in attendance the following season at their home court, the recently renamed Energy Solutions Center in Salt Lake City. The team is doingÂ well in the both the types of numbers that ESPNÂ and CNBC reports on.Â Added victories are creating added revenue.Â
Â Only Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls dynasty kept the Jazz from winning it all in 1997 and â€˜98 when John Stockton and Karl Marlone were at their peak. But after a brief downturn, the Jazz, now in the Deron Williams-Carlos Boozer era, have recently found even greater advertising interest than in the glory years. â€œIâ€™ve been with the team 24 years, as you rebuild a team there are some down times but weâ€™ve come comeback as strong if not stronger than we were in the 90s. Weâ€™ve continued to grow, we just had an all-time record number of sponsorships, more sponsors than even in the Stockton-Malone era. Weâ€™re selling out the arena again. From that aspect weâ€™ve been able to come back,â€ Team president Randy Rigby stated.
According to a Forbes.com study from last year, the Jazz were ranked #16 in NBA team value at $342 million. Not bad for a city with a population of less than 200,000. The Jazz saw an Annual Value Change of 13% which measures current team value compared to the latest transaction price. The team produced revenue of $114 Million and an Operating Income of $5.7 million. The Jazz had playersâ€™ expenses of $66 Million and Gate Receipts of $40 million.Â Wouldn’t some of the Wall Street investment banks wish they had numbers like these?Â
The fiduciary statistic where the Jazz excel the most is in Wins-to-Player Cost Ratio, a formula that compares the number of wins per player payroll relative to the rest of the NBA league. In this formula, postseason wins count twice as much as regular season wins. A score of 120 means that the team achieved 20% more victories per dollar of payroll compared against the league average. Utah has a phenomenal 152 in this cost efficiency statistic.
Clearly, the team has come a long way since it beginning days in New Orleans. Before moving to Utah in 1979, the Jazz suffered financially from a substandard arena lease and net losses totaling $5 million during their 5 seasons in New Orleans. Soon after the team moved to the Beehive state, one fan famously quipped: “This is interesting, Utah has the Jazz and New Orleans has the Saints,” referring to the facts that the “Southern Sin City” of New Orleans’ NFL team was named the Saints, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was headquartered in Utah. Not a city very reknowned for Jazz clubs.