SBD/March 7, 2011/Franchises

Warriors' Joe Lacob Under Fire After Comments About Bloggers

Lacob came off well at MIT conference despite comments about bloggers
Warriors co-Owner Joe Lacob Saturday at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference was asked a "muffled question about bloggers," and he responded, "They are not real fans, because they don't have season tickets," according to Rusty Simmons of the S.F. CHRONICLE. After a follow-up question, Lacob said, "Unlike every real fan, they don't have season tickets." All that reached Twitter and the blogs was the idea that season-ticket holders were the only "real fans," and that resulted in "vitriolic remarks about Lacob." But a "straw poll of journalists who covered the conference, but don't regularly cover the Warriors, found that Lacob came off well, despite the 'real fan' slip." Of his other remarks, "perhaps the most notable was that he could get out of the Oracle Arena lease in six years and would consider getting into a new arena." He also said that trades are "hard to make." That was a change from a November comment when Lacob said, "You should be able to turn around a team fast" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/6). In San Jose, Tim Kawakami wrote it is "not hard to interpret the brief comments as Lacob taking a quick shot at fan websites, suggesting that the only 'real fans' are season-ticket-holders, and that he could disregard the rest." But Lacob clarified his comments later Saturday, saying, "The last thing I'd want to do is denigrate the online community. I think I've demonstrated an openness to media, the fans, everybody, to answer every question, take it head on. And I'm willing to listen." Lacob added, "This (being seen as attacking the internet fanbase) is the exact opposite of what I'm doing. ... If anything, I've been incredibly accessible to fans and the internet community particularly. I embrace the online community" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 3/5).

LOSING FAITH: The MERCURY NEWS' Kawakami writes under the header, "It's Getting Harder To Have Faith In Warriors Owners." Lacob is "not quite the Warriors fans' gallant knight anymore." The "problem for his reputation is that Lacob has painted himself as both an expert basketball man of action and a man of the people." But "so far the expertise/action has not been displayed, and Lacob has had some bumpy moments with the fan interplay." Lacob said that in his initial comments about bloggers he was "referring to several profanity-laced e-mails that he has received, not to the fan base at large." But those comments "resonate because in the recent past Warriors officials have at times been dismissive of general critiques and because Lacob has retained several executives who did the dismissing." Kawakami: "How can Lacob believe the executives who got the Warriors into this muddle are the right ones to get them out?" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/7).

GETTING TECHNICAL: The S.F. CHRONICLE's Simmons reported the Warriors are "one of five franchises ... to have high-tech cameras installed at their arenas in hopes of gaining more advanced metrics." Sportsmetricians Consulting Founder Sandy Weil Saturday at the MIT conference "explained some of the data generated from his cameras, which have three-dimensional capabilities, capture 25 images per second and record everything on the court" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/5).

ONLY GAME IN TOWN? In Oakland, Monte Poole writes Sacramento's "misfortune will become the Bay Area's good fortune" if the Kings leave for Anaheim. Four months into their ownership of the Warriors, Lacob and co-Owner Peter Guber are seeing their $450M investment "become considerably more valuable." They are a "few fine details away from running the only NBA franchise between Los Angeles and Portland." If the Kings leave Sacramento, the Warriors "can expand their reach, siphoning a few more fans and a little more interest from Sacramento and neighboring cities, as well as the Central Valley" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 3/7).
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