SBD/Issue 211/Franchises

New Warriors Owners Appear Willing To Be Directly Involved

Guber Hoping To Bring
A New Energy To Warriors

The purchase of the Warriors is a "significant investment" for Joseph Lacob and Peter Guber, neither of whom are billionaires, according to Marcus Thompson II of the OAKLAND TRIBUNE. But unlike outgoing Owner Chris Cohan, they "appear to have designs on direct involvement, contrary to the absenteeism that often marked the previous ownership." Guber said Friday, "We have an enormous investment. I have a partner that is very knowledgeable about the area, community, team, which gives me a benefit. That partnership allows us to bring a whole different set of skills on what needs to be worked on. We each bring benefits to the table." Thompson writes, "Already, a noticeable difference in ownership style has emerged. Teamwork." Guber, "like Lacob a day earlier," said that personnel decisions "won't be discussed publicly until the sale is approved by the league" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 7/17). Lacob said of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, who many believed to be the front-runner to buy the team, "Like everyone else, we thought that if Larry really wanted this and it was in his heart, he would have it. I just think we had a gut instinct that it wasn't entirely clear how committed he would be to it. And as it went on, it came to a point where we realized we had a legitimate shot." Lacob is a Celtics investor, and in San Jose, Scott Duke Harris noted some suggest that Lacob's "intimate knowledge of professional basketball ... may have given him and Guber an advantage in structuring their deal." Lacob said that he "met Guber when both made unsuccessful attempts to acquire the A's" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/17).

FANS NEED A GOOD EXPERIENCE: Guber said there is a "mission of winning and there is a mission of providing entertainment value to the fans experience, but the idea is there are a lot of people contributing to it. It's a collaborative experience to provide that benefit." Guber: "I have a very broad base of experience in new media … (and) all those experiences bear upon what you have to do today to provide a benefit to an audience. The audience here is in the stands and watching on the television and eating your concessions and buying your merchandise. So to have that varied experience of both being a creative entrepreneur, a producer, an executive is a robust set of assets to bring to the challenges in front of us. … You got to be competitive. But you are really in, in some real sense, you are in show business. It is not just show, it is not just business. It is called show business. It has got to be economically sound and creatively compelling. You got to bring that audience in more than every single week. That is an emotional, intellectual and physical challenge." He added, "You have to lead by example. Whatever your leadership skills are, you have to say, you have to be able to listen really. If you are going to tell the good story, you are going to have to be a good listener" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 7/17).

NEW OWNERS GET IT: In Oakland, Monte Poole wrote Lacob and Guber "will have to spend money to make money." He added, "The new owners seem to 'get it.' Lacob in particular, as a hoops junkie and Warriors season-ticket holder, can visualize the potential. He knows the NBA and acknowledges there is a lot of work to be done and that some of it will be costly." It is "imperative Lacob and Guber realize not only how to get butts into seats but also how to attract talent." If they "follow that blueprint," they will be "lavishly rewarded" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 7/18). Comcast SportsNet's Matt Steinmetz said of Guber, "He really seems to be a character: He's very gregarious, optimistic, chatty, out there. He said he prides himself on being accessible. I think, quite frankly, he sounds like everything Chris Cohan wasn't" ("Chronicle Live," Comacst SportsNet Bay Area, 7/16). In Oakland, Carl Steward wrote the "best possible combination is savvy AND money, and Lacob and Guber have both." Steward: "No Warriors fan should be upset with the ultimate victor" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 7/17).

Dedicated Fan Base A Likely Reason Warriors
Sold For NBA Record $450M

POTENTIAL GOLDMINE: In San Jose, Tim Kawakami noted the Warriors reportedly sold for an NBA-record $450M, and he wrote, "How could this possibly get into a bidding war and produce a record amount, when other NBA sales situations are dying to attract strong interest at all? It's because of the acknowledged value and passion of the Warriors' fans. ... As everybody in the league has known for years, the Warriors are a potential goldmine, if only somebody smart could ever end up running the place." The team's "big crowds helped Cohan sell, no question" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 7/17). Meanwhile, a SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS editorial states San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed "should get on the phone today to call the team's new owners and invite them to move the Warriors to San Jose." Oakland "doesn't offer the same long-term potential of either San Jose or San Francisco" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 7/19).

JOIN THE TEAM: In S.F., Henry Schulman reports Lacob and Guber continue to "talk to potential limited partners," including the MLB Giants. The Giants are "interested in an alliance that could range from simple sponsorship and marketing arrangements to a direct investment that would give the Giants a minority stake in the NBA franchise." Also on the table "might be a deal to build an arena for the Warriors on land just south of AT&T Park, although that was not thought to be a pressing topic in the talks" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/19).

RECORD PRICE SAYS NBA IS HEALTHY: In Toronto, Doug Smith wrote the NBA is "really going to have a hard time pleading its economic hardship argument" with the Warriors selling for $450M. The perception that things are "horribly broken in the NBA model is going to be hard to prove to the common folk given what's been going on this summer, capped by that extraordinary number the Warriors fetched Thursday" (THESTAR.com, 7/16). ESPN's John Saunders said "all indications are" the NBA is "heading toward a lockout next summer," and so if the NBA owners "are crying poor, why are they throwing around million of dollars like donuts?" Saunders: “The fact is, if there really is nothing left in the bank it's too late to lock the vault" ("The Sports Reporters," ESPN2, 7/18). Meanwhile, SI.com's Ian Thomsen wrote, "I hear predictions that as many as a dozen teams could be available for sale after the next CBA makes the NBA a more attractive business -- which is another way of saying that now is a good time to buy, before it becomes a seller's market after 2011" (SI.com, 7/16).

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