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The Chicago Bulls are still a massive success when it comes to making money

Who needs playoff revenue? The Bulls are still bankrolling.

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Jose M. Osorio, Chicago Tribune

For those that thought the Chicago Bulls missing the playoffs would burn enough of a hole in Jerry Reinsdorf's wallet to make him consider drastic management changes, I am sorry to inform you that won't be happening.

Crain's Chicago Business Magazine just published an article today detailing the financial success of the Bulls this season, and the results are not exactly what you would expect. While much of the Bulls' faithful noted this year that fan involvement seemed to be noticeably down given the shortcomings of the team, the Bulls actually managed to do better this season financially than the last.

Some of this season's business accomplishments include:

  • Leading the NBA in paid attendance for the 2015-16 season with an average of 21,820 tickets sold per game. This is the seventh straight season since 2010 that Chicago has led the association in paid attendance.

  • After leading the NBA in online merchandise sales last season, the Bulls are currently second in the NBA three months into FY 2016.

  • Sponsorship deals with multiple international firms, including Poland-based currency exchange service Cinkciarz (opening its first US location in Chicago next year, a city with such an enormous population of Poles it might as well be known as Warsaw II) and China-based telecom company ZTE.

  • Sale of the naming rights for luxury suites to Vindanta Resorts, so now we have to say the Vindanta Resorts Theater Boxes at Bulls games have the best mac & cheese in the world. This is now the fourth sponsor the Bulls have for box seats/lounges throughout the United Center; including Lexus, BMO Harris, and Bud Light.

  • Average ticket value did not decline this season despite the drop in on-court performance. In fact, it actually rose by six dollars ($115 from $109, a 5% increase) according to average re-sale price data from
I ran my own SeatGeek graph and found that the last stat is probably explained by the success the team had in late December/early Janurary. The hype from that six-game winning streak led to an average ticket price of $128, which at the time was a full $52 above the NBA average!


In regards to how much revenue the Bulls can expect to lose from missing the playoffs, Crain's suggests they typically see some sort of seven-figure gain per month the Bulls are alive, but this is a mere fraction of what the team grosses annually. Last year, the Bulls took home $228 million in revenue, a 13.4% increase from the $201 million earned the year prior according to estimates from Forbes.

Marc Ganis, the president of Chicago-based SportsCorp, suggested that , "it would really take two to three years of deep disappointment for there to be a meaningful drop-off on the business side of the Bulls." That being said, he also noted that, "they're getting perilously close," so there may be hope yet for fans that want to see heads roll. Just don't expect it to happen as long as the franchise keeps swimming in Benjamins.