Clippers Keep Turning Losses Into Profits

By Kurt Helin
|  Wednesday, Dec 3, 2008  |  Updated 6:15 PM PDT
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Clippers Keep Turning Losses Into Profits

Donald Sterling, losing all the way to the bank.

Mark Cuban has said there are two types of sports team owners, those that want to win and those that want to make money.

Forbes Magazine’s annual look at the NBA reminds us exactly where Donald Sterling falls on that scale.

The Los Angeles Clippers lease at the Staples Center sums up owner Donald Sterling's philosophy of running the franchise: maximize profits by keeping fixed costs low. The Clippers pull in less revenue from premium seating and arena advertising than the typical NBA team. But they pay only $1.5 million a season in rent at the arena, which is owned and operated by AEG, owner of the Los Angeles Kings and a minority stake in the Los Angeles Lakers. The Clippers have posted more than $9 million in operating profits the past five seasons despite fielding one of the worst teams in the league.

What financially troubled NBA? Not in Donald Sterling’s world. He bought the team in 1981 for $13 million, it’s now worth $297 million and he’s still turning a healthy profit every year. Who needs to be Jerry Buss?

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