March 2, 2012

NBA Franchise Values Visualized. How much are they really worth?

Every time Sports Chart of the Day creates a chart that ranks something it looks like this:

What bothers me over and over again is that they are trying to communicate a rank, yet they rank the data low to high.  Why?

In addition, they always use column charts instead of a bar charts, which forces me to turn my head sideways.  Ok, one more thing.  The source article is centered on the Lakers, so COTD used the Lakers colors.  Cute?  I think not.  I’d say chart junk.

I’d go with a simple bar chart like this.  Yes, it’s a bit taller, but you can at least read it without needing to go to the chiropractor afterwards.


But why stop there?  There’s more data available then just franchise values.  Check out this interactive viz I built with Tableau.

There are two vizzes to check out.  The NBA Franchise Values viz allows you to:

  1. Choose the data you want to view for two charts
  2. Provides the ability to sort these two chart by any data point
  3. Creates a scatter plot that compares the two data points you chose in step 1
  4. Allows you to pick a data point to size the teams by in the scatter plot

The Value & Debt Rankings viz is a heat map of the rank of each team across the different data points.  The article and data only provide the rank based on current value, but I was interested in the rank across all of the data points.  I used the INDEX() function in Tableau to create a rank for each field, then used the Advanced calculation to specify the field to rank.  Thus I can have a rank field for each data point.

While the article stresses the rise in franchise values, what they neglect to address is the heavy debt load on many teams.  For example, the New Orleans Hornets are currently valued at $285M, yet they carry $299M in debt.  Compare that to the Knicks and Clippers who carry no debt.  Now THAT  is the way to run a franchise.