Why is Wyc Grousbeck selling the Celtics? Longtime owner lists stake in franchise for sale after 2024 championship – Sporting News

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The Celtics might soon be up for sale, just weeks after winning their first championship in 16 years.

Majority owner Wyc Grousbeck is planning to sell his stake in the franchise, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday. The news was later announced by the Celtics, who confirmed “all shares” of the team will be sold.

Grousbeck was the front face of the ownership group that purchased the Celtics for $360 million in 2002. One of the biggest brands in professional sports, the franchise has won two championships under his ownership and has exponentially grown in value along with most other NBA teams. 

Here’s a look at why Grousbeck is making the decision now to sell the Celtics, plus a hint at when the franchise might switch hands.

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Why is Wyc Grousbeck selling the Celtics?

The Celtics’ ownership group announced Monday that the controlling family — the Grousbeck family — intends to sell “all shares” of the franchise “for estate and family planning considerations.”

While the team didn’t expand on the exact family considerations that went into Grousbeck’s decision, the 63-year-old has decided now is the time to start the transition out of basketball.

According to the Celtics, though, that transition won’t be a quick one. While a majority interest in the team is expected to be sold in either 2024 or early 2025, ownership said, Grousbeck is planning to stay on as Boston’s control person until the entirety of the team is sold in 2028.

The full motive behind the decision might not be known until Grousbeck himself speaks, but it’s tough to ignore the massive amount of money the Celtics could command in a sale. NBA franchises have skyrocketed in value over the last two decades, and the Celtics were one of the biggest brands in sports even before they won their 18th championship.

Grousbeck, while quite wealthy in the grand scheme of things, doesn’t have a net worth that matches some of the NBA’s newest owners. That could make it difficult for him to keep up if the Celtics end up paying hefty luxury tax penalties to keep their championship core together long-term. By selling the franchise to someone who can handle that kind of bill, Grousbeck can recoup money instead of losing it. 

With a fresh championship pedigree, there might not be a better time to start the process of a sale. The plan also allows Grousbeck to stay on as Boston’s control person through 2028, overseeing a window that could bring more championships to Boston. 

How much did Wyc Grousbeck by the Celtics for?

Grousbeck was the front face of a group that purchased the Celtics for $360 million in 2002. Needless to say, the impending sale of the franchise will pay out exponentially more than that figure.

Recent NBA sales include the Suns for $4 billion (2022), Rockets for $2.2 billion (2017), Clippers for $2 billion (2024) and just 73 percent of the Mavericks for $3.5 billion (2023). Given the Celtics’ brand, they could easily set an NBA record and make Grousbeck’s 2002 investment look brilliant in retrospect.

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How much are the Celtics worth?

The Celtics are worth an estimated $4.7 billion, according to Forbes, which placed Boston fourth behind the Warriors, Lakers and Knicks. The price was calculated in October 2023, before the Celtics’ championship season.

A handful of other franchises might be worth more, but they don’t often go up for sale. A complete sale of the fourth-richest franchise in the NBA is rare territory, and a bidding war to secure the team could very well drive the price past $5 billion.

The current record for an NBA franchise is $4 billion, set by Mat Ishbia’s purchase of the Suns in late 2022.

Wyc Grousbeck net worth

Grousbeck’s net worth is an estimated $400 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. That’s plenty of money, but it’s not in line with what some newer NBA owners, including Ishbia and Ballmer, are worth and would have made paying harsh luxury tax penalties more difficult in the years to come.

By selling the Celtics, Grousbeck can position himself and his family well for generations to come, jolting his net worth while remaining in control for a few more years.

Mark Cuban pulled off a similar transaction when he sold 73 percent of the Mavericks for $3.5 billion in December. He was able to benefit from the money that came out of the sale but still maintained the final say in basketball operations.

One key difference is that Grousbeck plans to remain the Celtics’ governor until 2028, while Cuban ceded that title in the sale. Still, an impending sale can give Grousbeck a financial boost while temporarily keeping him involved with the franchise.

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