You do not also have to win to succeed, and the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers are evidence of that.
The Knicks and Lakers remain the two most valuable NBA franchises based on Forbes' annual assessment despite a miserable recent run on the court.
According to a Forbes report released on Wednesday, the Knicks are worth $3.3 billion and the Lakers $3bn.
They have held the top two spots in the rankings for nearly 20 years, and their combined 42-71 record this season, which comes on the back of a similarly rough showing last campaign, is not nearly enough to derail their big-market revenues.
On the flip side, winning can pay dividends, the Golden State Warriors are up to number three at $2.6bn after their back-to-back runs to the NBA Finals.
But it is mostly market size and long-term staying power that drive these rankings, with the Chicago Bulls fourth at $2.5bn and the Boston Celtics fifth at $2.2bn.