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SBD/February 17, 2014/Franchises
King's Vivek Ranadive Sits For Wide-Ranging Q&A, Discusses Building Global Brand
Published February 17, 2014
Q: Let’s start with an assessment of your first nine months of ownership. Is this what you expected? More difficult? Any obvious mistakes?
Ranadive: First and foremost, it’s been the most humbling experience of my life. The love and outpouring of support I get from the people of Sacramento is beyond my wildest expectations. I have just fallen in love with the place.
Q: How much did the community’s passion for the franchise factor into the design of the new arena? If capacity remains the same (approximately 17,500), it will be the smallest facility in the league.
Ranadive: We wanted to be intimate, to keep that communal fireplace feeling. We looked at all the arenas, and I think what we ended up with [is] the most intimate arena in the country.
Q: Have the politics of the arena situation been discouraging or disillusioning?
Ranadive: I kind of understand that people have different views. This is a situation where we bought the team, we bought the Downtown Plaza … and I’m a very optimistic person.
Q: Can you summarize your vision?
Ranadive: Your kids are going to look at their phone 400 times a day whether you like it or not, and if a fan comes and pays the price of admission, drives all the way, battles traffic, they should have at least the same information they can get at home. And they should be able to order food without leaving their seats. To knock mobile is a Luddite view of the world. It’s not one or the other. You can watch the game, high-five your friend, or interact with other fans. We want to be the showcase for the three vectors: globalization, technology, and sport as an agent to contribute to the local community.
Q: Both David Stern and his successor, Adam Silver, targeted India for the next phase of the league’s global expansion. Given the lack of facilities and infrastructure, realistically, how long until the NBA schedules preseason games in your hometown, Mumbai?
Ranadive: Right now, we’re just saying we’ll build out the fan base. When you approach these things, you take a long-term view. You don’t ask, “How am I going to make money right now?” (SACRAMENTO BEE, 2/17).