LeBron James, The Billion Dollar Baller?

I hope the computer models used were not the same they used for Global Warming or a model of an oil spill!

The Knicks just finished pitching LeBron James. Their main selling point: You could make a billion dollars playing in New York. You can’t earn anything close to that anywhere else.

To make the case, they commissioned a study from marketing consultant Interbrand (See the powerpoint below–hit “full screen” to view.) that says LeBron could earn close to $1 billion over his lifetime in salary and endorsements if he makes Madison Square Garden his permanent home–their high-end estimate sees him earning as much as $2 billion. That outshines the estimated $700 million he’d likely earn in Cleveland, the $690 million in Chicago, and $600 million in Miami.

It’s a crafty attack that goes right after their rivals’ best case for nabbing LeBron: that his brand is so internationally recognizable, where he plays has little influence on his overall earnings. In fact, the same study claims that any generic free agent could see his lifetime earnings jump 30% by signing with the Knicks.

To come up with the numbers for the Knicks, Interbrand says it ran through 50,000 computer models of a potential LeBron career, using more than 200 variables like individual performance, fan demographics and championships. The report is light on the details of its methodology, but comes to this conclusion: LeBron has a 50% chance of earning at least $1 billion in New York. In Cleveland and Chicago the odds fall to 1%. The study put a 0% chance of LeBron making $1 billion playing for Miami….

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