Tom Wilson, the President of the (former) Detroit Shock, gave some insight into the financial considerations that resulted in the Shock moving into Tulsa.
"The attendance this year was the toughest ever, and we had to make the call. If you guessed, we lost somewhere near two million dollars. We had owners stick by year after year through millions of dollars in losses, but they felt obligated and believed in the product. It was just time."
"We were never really part of the core (teams of Detroit) and you can attribute that to the (women's) game, you can attribute that to the summer or whatever, but no matter how much we spent on marketing or advertising, no matter how many appearances the women made, we still weren't able to capture the critical mass to make it make sense."
One of my ongoing pet projects is to try to figure out how much it takes to run a franchise. I'm assuming that the $2 million dollars is a net loss. If it takes about $2-3 million in income, the team probably lost about $3-5 million. The Shock could have lost as much as $20 million net over its history.
Granted, for a billionaire it would mean you would go bankrupt in 500 years, but in the tough Detroit economy finances were the clincher.