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The NBA economic model is broken. There have been various reports, but it seems to be genuinely agreed upon that there is a large number of NBA teams that are loosing money on a yearly basis.
The current NBA financial split between the players and the league is 57 percent to 43 percent in favor of the players. With a large discrepancy between how much each side is making, it has created financial hardship for the NBA owners.
The fact is that someone like Herb Kohl is a businessman, and he is not going to want to invest his money in a failing product. In a league that, by financial accounts, as a whole is failing money needs to be more evenly distributed so that NBA teams are not operating at a loss. The Bucks could sell out every game, and still make far less money than a team like Chicago.
The simple reason is TV deals.
When you have a large market, you are reaching far more homes than a small market team. This increases add revenue significantly, and will make the TV deals of teams in large markets substantially higher than in a small market.
So how does this make it more likely the Bucks will leave Milwaukee?
Aside from the current stadium issues and lack of fan support, Herb Kohl has flirted with selling the Bucks over the last decade or two. He has come close a few times, but did not pull the trigger because he wants to make sure that the team remains in Milwaukee.
The economic model of the NBA has made the Bucks a not very attractive business. There are not people lining up to buy this team. Without a change in the system to make the Bucks more profitable, Senator Kohl may have to loosen his stance on not moving the Bucks and selling simply to the highest bidder. There are places like Las Vegas and Seattle who would love to welcome an NBA franchise.
As Senator Kohl gets older and ready to retire, a headache of an ownership for the Bucks will likely be something he is willing to part with. And if the economic model is not fixed, we could be looking saying good bye to the Milwaukee Bucks.