The Cleveland Cavaliers had a 2008-09 payroll of nearly 100 million dollars, which of course included a heavy luxury tax payed to the league. Their record last season was 66-12, which included the unreal record of 39-2 at home. The net effect of those numbers is near record level quantity of Cavalier tickets sold, and even hampered with a huge payroll, the Cavs were able to essentially break even last year.
We have all heard about teams losing money left and right, especially in a down economy. This seems to prove that to make money a team must win. Of course that might be a little short sighted since an essential part of this equation seems to be a team having a few home playoff games to make additional revenue. Since the Cavs made it all the way to the Eastern Conference finals they had at least seven home playoff games to help them break even.
Another factor in their favor was they ranked fifth in average home game attendance in the entire NBA. The Cavs were able to draw in an average home crowd of 20,010. On the road the Cavs were equally impressive drawing in an average crowd of 18,899. Of course having one of the brightest stars in the game today, Lebron James, will always help draw.
The real issue here is with that amount of success the Cavs were only able to break even. That is not a great business model and seems to suggest that instead of a dollar salary cap figure the cap should actually be a percentage of a team’s revenue.