Clippers' Ballmer Open To Rebrand, New Ideas Ahead Of Arena Move
Clippers Chair Steve Ballmer "would not rule out changing the logo -- and the colors, and perhaps even the nickname itself -- when the Clippers move into the new arena" in '24, according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. Ballmer said, "We have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to really step our identity up another level. I don't anticipate making a change, but we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and that is the kind of thing you somehow do in consultation with your fans." Ballmer would "like more viewers for Clippers games, but he also would like to change the fundamental viewing experience." His "ideal broadcast would be streamed and interactive." The Clippers now are experimenting with digital technology, but Ballmer said that their "television rights contract with Fox Sports limits them to 1,500 test streams." However, Ballmer could "solve that problem by buying either Fox Sports West or Prime Ticket from Sinclair." The team's contract with Fox Sports "expires in three years." The Dodgers, Lakers and Pac-12 "already have left" their Fox Sports RSNs, and without the Clippers, the "viability of Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket combination could be in jeopardy." Meanwhile, adding Fs Kawhi Leonard and Paul George has "helped the Clippers almost double the number of season tickets they have sold, from 5,200 last year to 10,000 so far this year" (L.A. TIMES, 7/27).
STAYING PUT: Ballmer said, "We're not moving the team to Seattle," after having heard the question often in the five years since he bought the Clippers. In L.A., Arash Markazi notes Ballmer "feels the need to be as definitive as possible whenever he's asked." While Ballmer "believes Seattle deserves an NBA team, he is steadfast in his commitment that Seattle's potential future NBA team will not be the Clippers." His actions over the past few years have "done more to drive home that point than anything he could ever say." If Ballmer was "interested in moving the Clippers, everything he has done recently is making it nearly impossible to convince" the NBA's BOG that the team "can't succeed" in L.A. After last season "exceeded expectations," the Clippers' "season-ticket renewal rate was a record 95% and they are on pace to more than double season ticket sales heading into next season" (L.A. TIMES, 7/28).