The NBA and MLS – competition innovation unlocking value

Only two sports leagues exist where their average club’s Enterprise Value to Revenue Multiple is greater than 10x. On December 9th, both leagues called a wrap on innovative competition formats that were firsts of their kind in their respective sports.

The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA’s In-Season Tournament. The Columbus Crew won the expanded MLS Cup Playoffs format. 

Both formats – initially met with skepticism – ultimately delivered for their ecosystems. 

  • The IST increased interest in the NBA by 29% YoY, contrasted against a -38% drop during the same period from 2021-2022. Worldwide interest followed similar trends.
  • The 2023 Playoffs maintained weekly domestic and global interest in MLS as in 2022, while increasing attendance by 14% and aggregate attendance by 250%.

Sports properties are the centrepiece of a modern world dominated by attention and experiential economies. Leagues innovating their sporting products are creating real value that can be directly and indirectly monetized.

By AJ Swoboda
Managing Director, Americas

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