Retrospectively, Heisley Stated That He Lost US$87 Million on Owning the Grizzlies, Although That Included a US$30 Million Relocation Fee to the NBA. Versace Stated That He Felt That the Team Did Not Get Sufficient Support From the Business community.Vanc
When it comes to owning an NBA team, one would expect a significant amount of financial gain. However, that wasn’t the case for Michael Heisley, who owned the Grizzlies from 2000 to 2012. In a surprising revelation, Heisley stated that he lost US$87 million during his ownership tenure.
The Relocation Fee
It’s important to note that the US$87 million loss includes a US$30 million relocation fee that Heisley paid to the NBA when he moved the team from Vancouver to Memphis in 2001. Without this fee, his loss would have been significantly less.
Insufficient Support From The Business Community
Another factor that contributed to Heisley’s financial loss was the lack of support from the business community in Vancouver. In an interview, Giorgio Versace, who served as vice president and director of international player personnel for the Grizzlies during their time in Vancouver, stated that he felt like the team didn’t get enough support from local businesses.
The Move To Memphis
Heisley made the decision to move the team to Memphis after failing to secure funding for a new arena in Vancouver. While this move ultimately saved the franchise from folding, it came at a significant cost.
The Impact On The Grizzlies’ On-Court Performance
The financial difficulties faced by Heisley also had an impact on the team’s on-court performance. The Grizzlies struggled during their time in Vancouver, failing to make the playoffs in any of their six seasons.
After moving to Memphis, the team had a few rough seasons before finally making the playoffs in 2004. However, they were soon eliminated and didn’t make it back to the playoffs until 2011.
In conclusion, owning an NBA team is not always a lucrative venture. Michael Heisley’s experience with the Grizzlies serves as a reminder that there are many factors that can impact the financial success of an NBA franchise. While his loss may seem staggering, it’s important to note that it includes a significant relocation fee and that the lack of support from local businesses in Vancouver was also a contributing factor.