SBJ/March 14-20, 2011/Franchises

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  • Warriors ownership sets benchmarks for team as part of season-ticket renewal effort

    New Golden State Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are going public with bold bets of success.

    Rarely do NBA owners make specific team predictions, but this duo is looking to shake up the Warriors with a season-ticket renewal effort that promises to put the team and players in unfamiliar places — such as the postseason and the All-Star Game. Lacob and Guber, who paid a record $450 million last year to buy the Warriors, are calling their renewal effort the Risk Free Article of Agreement.

    Guber and Lacob
    NBAE / GETTY IMAGES
    Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have guaranteed season-ticket holders that the team will make the playoffs in 2011-12 and have a player in the All-Star Game.
    The offer includes the written expectation being sent to season-ticket holders that the team will make the playoffs next season for the first time since 2007. Should they fail to do so, ownership is offering a freeze on season-ticket prices for the 2012-13 season.

    The team also is predicting that it will win at least 25 home games next year at Oracle Arena, a benchmark reached just three times in the past 16 years. In addition, ownership is expecting that the Warriors will have a player selected next year for the All-Star Game, something that last occurred in 1997, with Latrell Sprewell.

    Should the team fail to deliver on winning 25 home games, the Warriors will give season-ticket holders an exclusive two-hour player autograph session. If a Warriors player does not get named to the All-Star team, season-ticket holders will receive autographed player merchandise.

    The Warriors also are offering full refunds plus above-market 5 percent interest to season-ticket holders for any games lost due to a lockout next season. The interest will be paid to season-ticket holders from the time of their deposit. The refund is per league policy, which calls for refunds plus interest for games lost to a work stoppage, but the NBA has not yet set a specific interest rate. The Warriors have cut season-ticket prices for next season around 12 percent.

    “It is time that we make a commitment that is equal to what our season-ticket holders have made,” said Warriors President Robert Rowell. “We are committed to higher standards, and we need to be accountable.”

    Delivering on their promises would mean a sharp turnaround for the franchise. Through March 10, the Warriors had a 28-36 record and were on track to miss the playoffs. The Warriors have made the playoffs once since 1994.
    The campaign is an aggressive move by Lacob and Guber to re-energize the Warriors franchise after the 15-year tenure of former owner Chris Cohan. The duo has done little organizationally, at least publicly, since taking over the team.

    Through March 10, the Warriors were averaging 18,651 fans per game at Oracle Arena, up 4.6 percent to date from last year and 10th best in the 30-team NBA.

    “It’s about letting our fans know that we understand what we have to do, and you don’t see that a lot from ownership and management,” Rowell said. “This is about the direction of the team and about protecting our season-ticket holders.”

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