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Do NBA teams get money for winning a championship?

The NBA is all about winning titles and establishing yourself and your team in history as one of the most successful ever to do it. If we take a look at the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, these are the teams that have so far managed to gain the most titles during the existence of the NBA. Material profit was not the main reason why they were trying so hard to play in the Finals – the title and reputation were much more important. These two teams paved a way for the longest rivalry throughout history that dominated the headlines for a long time.

Do NBA Teams get money for winning a championship? Yes. NBA teams are awarded prize money for winning the NBA title.

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Although a prestigious title and honor is something every NBA team is striving for there are also financial benefits worth attention. Like in every sport, teams also earn money and the NBA is no exception. They gain prize money upon earning a playoff spot and as they progress through the rounds, winning the championship also results in a pay day. This prize pool is different from year to year adjusting based on many variables, so the received funds can vary significantly. When the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic halted the NBA season for almost 6 months, the prize pool was diminished. In this article, we will talk about the prize money winners of the world’s best league get by emerging victorious from the NBA Finals. Things might seem complicated at the first glance but we will explain everything in detail.

How is the Prize money divided between NBA teams?

The tradition of getting money for winning a championship has existed since the formation of the NBA (there is no clear information whether the ABA was awarding the winners with prize money), but it was different every year. For example in 2018, when the Cleveland Cavaliers were playing against the Golden State Warriors, the latter won the series 4-0 and took home $3.3 million. If we make adjustments to inflations, in 2019 that rate can equate to $3.9 million, which per 15-man squad can round up to $240,000. Even if we do not consider 2 teams playing against each other in the finals there is also money that is equally divided between the participants of the playoffs.

Now, $3.3 million may not be something that players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Stephen Curry would be specifically motivated by because they have contracts that allow them to earn above $20 million per season in salary alone, but once again this is a prize for the winning team, which they can use to their advantage.

Teams reaching the first round of the playoffs get roughly $298,000 while, participating in the Conference Semifinals can result in mind-blowing $355,000! Once again there is no single rule that would determine the prize pool every year, as it depends on many factors – from the economic situation to the teams’ performances. Although the prize pool is really better compared to other sports in the United States, such as the NFL for example. Even in the case of loss, the team can earn a decent amount of money. Also, some taxes reduce the given amount even more.

 The peculiarity of getting the prize money

The concept of getting money has some intricacies which we should explain thoroughly. Players indeed get bonuses when they secure the spots in the playoffs but when we talk about the FInals thing can take a different stance. Team captains often have a hand in determining the methodology, which is then carried out by financial professionals. The NBA is a part of a huge sports industry that generates billions of dollars every year. Spectators pay money for tickets to be a part of every match and owners also spend a lot of money for teams’ success. That is that every event can possibly have an impact on the generating of a prize pool in the long run.

How much money the winner will get in 2021?

The 2020/2021 NBA season was cut short amid the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of a traditional 82-game schedule, 72 games will be played and the system of the playoffs has also been changed. The virus which spread massively in the United States, the country which has the highest number of cases and deceased people, notably impacted the overall situation in the state. At this time, matches are held behind closed doors and no spectators are allowed. When there is no chance of spectators to attend matches, it directly affects the performance, thus the prize pool is reduced. But the authorities are likely to do their best to give the winning team as much credit as possible.


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Final Words

Prize money for winning the championship in the NBA is a complicated subject and it changes all the time. There is no straightforward answer to this question. While in 2018 the Warriors took home a certain amount of money, it does not mean that the rate is fixed. When the coronavirus pandemic gained a foothold in 2020, it strongly impacted the overall situation not only in the sports industry but also the whole country. Because of that, a bunch of factors can impact the prize pool eventually.

In general, when players are going to the Finals they are not thinking about material benefits. The main thing for them is to get the title they are looking for. Of course, money can also have some role, but it is more like a symbol reward for the winners. It is because of this that you will not really see a discussion about increasing the prize pool for teams.