Boston Celtics’ majority owner puts team up for sale weeks after NBA championship

A “Believe in Boston” flag flies during the duck boat parade celebrating the Boston Celtics’ 18th NBA championship.

Stan Grossfeld | Boston Globe | Getty Images

The 2024 National Basketball Association champions are up for sale.

The Boston Celtics’ ownership group announced Monday that it plans to sell the team, according to a statement posted to the Celtics’ account on social media site X.

The controlling family of the ownership group, Boston Basketball Partners LLC, said it intends to sell all of its shares in the team “for estate and family planning consideration.”

The sale of a majority stake is expected to be completed by the end of 2024 or early 2025, with the remainder of the sale closing in 2028, according to the statement.

As sports franchise valuations soar, the Celtics could fetch a particularly high price. The team is among the most successful and most widely followed in U.S. professional sports, and won its NBA record 18th championship last month.

This, plus the soaring cost of sports media rights, will likely lead to a valuation close to — if not more than — the record $4 billion price tag the NBA’s Phoenix Suns received in 2023, sports consultants said Monday.

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Wyc Grousbeck led a team of buyers to acquire the Celtics for $360 million in 2002. Grousbeck, a native of Massachusetts and lifelong Celtics fan, expects to remain governor of the team until the second closing in 2028.

Grousbeck is also part of the ownership group behind the tequila brand Cincoro, which includes other NBA team owners and Hall of Famer Michael Jordan.

Representatives for Grousbeck and the team did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

Jaylen Brown, #7 of the Boston Celtics, shoots a three-point basket against the Dallas Mavericks during Game 5 of the 2024 NBA Finals at TD Garden in Boston on June 17, 2024.

Nathaniel S. Butler | National Basketball Association | Getty Images

Sports valuations, media rights climb

The Celtics became the latest NBA champions after beating the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the Finals in June. It was the team’s second championship under Grousbeck’s ownership.

U.S. professional sports teams, especially those in the National Football League and NBA, have been garnering high valuations when owners sell a stake, if not the entirety of the team.

In 2023, the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury were sold to Mat Ishbia for a record valuation of $4 billion.

Meanwhile, the media rights for the leagues have never been more lucrative, as live sports beckon the biggest TV audiences.

Negotiations surrounding the NBA’s media rights are ongoing with an announcement expected soon. Comcast‘s NBCUniversal is expected to pay $2.5 billion per year, with Disney‘s ESPN and Amazon’s Prime Video among the other bidders, CNBC has previously reported.

— CNBC’s Jessica Golden contributed to this article.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

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