New Warriors co-owner Peter Guber. (politico.com)

Warriors Lacob and Guber Talk Larry Riley, Untouchable Stephen Curry, And Engaging Fans

On Thursday, Joe Lacob And Peter Guber bought the Golden State Warriors for $450 million -- outbidding Larry Ellison for the rights to own the team.

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Joe Lacob and Peter Guber Media Luncheon: Golden State of Minder Rich Twu Eye Witness Account

Lacob and Guber’s media came and went but from the sounds of it, it was full of talk and talk that fans, like myself, like to hear. Rich Twu of Golden State of Mind offers up some wonderful details of the business side of NBA basketball at the Media Luncheon with Lacob and Guber, which just so happens to be the things that I love reading about. The game of basketball is wonderful, but most often than I think not enough attention is paid to the political economy of professional sports, which is equally important to the product displayed to you on your home court. Twu’s piece is a really great read that I believe any fan of the professional sports should read up on.

With that said, Guber (via Rich Twu’s amazing eye-witness account) had some interesting tips on marketing, which I am amped about:

His approach is very engaging. Along with the raspy Bostonian accent, he’ll do a fair amount of hand and arm gesturing, even some finger pointing and poking you just enough to make sure you have his full, undivided attention.

He talked about his concern that young fans aged 7 or 9 would have a hard time coming to a 7:30pm game at Oracle on a Tuesday night. He talked about perhaps having a mascot to re-engage such fans. He talked about how he hated it when someone sang the national anthem and you couldn’t hear what he or she was singing. And how he wants to somehow tie in social media, to which Bucher joked that ethernet at an arena was all but an impossibility.

Guber even broached the subject of anime or animation on-screen at the arena. He joked that the dot races were terribly outdated, although Bucher quipped that they were hugely successful. Guber wasn’t disagreeing with that, but he was hoping for better ideas and even more engaging experience.

It was clear that Guber was ready to put every ounce of his expertise to work, for the benefit of Warrior fans.

Of course, in the press, he will now be forever tied to his, “We’re not the cure for cancer, but we may be the cure for Cohan” quote.

This is just a snippet of what Rich reported on, but I wanted to quote this in length just because I think it gets at some of the ridiculous-ness of the Cohan-era. There’s probably little he can do to change the start of games (interesting approach though putting families first), but his calling out of the randomness of the “Thunder” mascot, his desire for a new mascot (for the kids!), and new in-game entertainment is definitely in the right direction.

We’ve discussed this ad nauseum on Golden State of Mind in the past about what really matters: the actual game or the marketing. And since the Warriors fan base loves the team regardless, marketing tends to get the backseat. But with years of cellar-dwelling with no sign of hope, I, personally, wanted the Warriors to at least make the rest of the experience of going to the Oracle fun. What’s up with the lousy food (even in the Smirnoff Lounge)? Club 200 is family friendly and in the right direction, but what about the adults looking for some "nightlife"when they’re not sitting in the area that allows them access (by the Warriors rules at least) in the Smirnoff Lounge? And instead of Smirnoff, how about something more exciting. How about the “Petron Lounge” or the “Rose Lounge.” Lets get more current!

Anyway, you all should read the whole thing because it is worth it. And it should get you excited about a new Golden State Warriors experience, possibly, that may attract not just more fans, but more free agents.

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Chris Cohan Era Officially Over, Lacob and Guber Take The Reins For Good

Marcus Thompson II with the story.

The NBA announced Friday morning that the sale of the Golden State Warriors franchise has been completed following unanimous approval by the NBA Board of Governors.

Joseph Lacob, a Menlo Park venture capitalist, and Peter Guber, CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, take over as principle owners of the Warriors. Back on July 15, the team announced that owner Chris Cohan had agreed to sell the franchise to the pair for $450 million.

“We are delighted to welcome Joe Lacob and Peter Guber as majority owners of the Warriors,” NBA commissioner David Stern said in a statement. “Their commitment to the community, strong ownership group and business acumen will benefit the Warriors and their passionate fans both on and off the court.”

Lacob and Guber had pretty much been operating the franchise since the purchase was first announced, but it’s nice for Warriors fans to have it in stone. They no longer have to worry about the fates conspiring to somehow botch the sale and give Cohan back control.

How far can Golden State rise under what appears to be competent management? And how quickly can they do it?

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Chris Cohan Rejected Larry Ellison's Final Bid. Was It In Time?

Well, here's an interesting twist. According to Ellison he had the highest bid, but Cohan rejected it anyway.

"Although I was the highest bidder, Chris Cohan decided to sell to someone else. In my experience this is a bit unusual. Nonetheless, I wish the Warriors and their fans nothing but success under their new ownership," said Larry Ellison.

Counterpoint came from the firm in charge of the sale, Galatioto Sports Partners. (HT HT Golden State of Mind)

 We were moving forward with the high bidder right to the end,” Galatioto said. “I think there’s an Oracle press release saying they were the highest bidder, but they jumped in at the last possible moment with a bid that was … I can’t comment on what it was.
 
“But these deals are not just the headline price. We had to get a very clean deal with the group that won and we had a high certainty of close. Nobody gets to take a shot after the clock expires, not even if you’re LeBron James.
 
“And you know what, the game was over for about three minutes when they took their shot. It doesn’t count.”

It's possible Ellison's just trying not tot take one on the cheek. He doesn't want to look bad for not spending the most on the Warriors and didn't submit his bid until the last minute. If it IS true, this is a bizarre turn of events and totally out of character for Cohan, who has never shown himself willing to turn down a deal that maximized his bottom line.

What do you guys think?

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Warriors Sold For $450 Million To Joe Lacob And Peter Guber

According to CNBC, Larry Ellison did not win the bid to buy the Warriors. Instead, Joe Lacob, managing partner at private equity firm Kleiner Perkins, and Peter Guber, chairman of Mandalay Entertainment have bought the team for $450 million.

The sale was brokered by Galatioto Sports Partners, which has been involved in the recent sale of the Charlotte Bobcats and Chicago Cubs.

The Warriors franchise, which was bought by Chris Cohan in 1995 for $119 million, was valued at $315 million by Forbes in December of last year, but the Warriors’ location in the Bay area undoubtedly added more interest and thus a higher price.

Ellison looked to be the top candidate to buy the Warriors, but was unwilling to match the $450 million bid placed by Lacob and Guber.

And if you are thinking about the possibility of the team moving, Tim Kawakami points this out:

Lacob lives in the Bay Area. I don’t know much about him, but there’s little incentive for him to move the Warriors.

Lacob is expected to handle the primary roles of the ownership while Guber serves as a secondary role.

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Will the Golden State Warriors Sale Be The Largest NBA Purchase Ever?

Chris Cohan seems to be milking the Warriors sale for all it's worth. Totally in his character. Steinmetz again with the down-low.

Cohan has an offer on the table -- one that exceeds $400 million -- but he is holding up the deal in the hope of bumping up the sales price even further. Ellison, along with the current minority owners of the Warriors, remains the frontrunner to buy the franchise, but another candidate remains in the mix.
 
A Warriors source told CSNBayArea.com on Tuesday that Mandalay Entertainment Group chairman Peter Guber was the other finalist. Also involved in that group is Joe Lacob, currently a minority owner with the Boston Celtics.
 ...
 
The source who said Cohan is delaying the process did indicate the situation is fluid and that things could change quickly. However, at this time the source said there was concern about getting the deal done by the weekend.
 
...

One thing seems certain: If a deal does get done it will top the $401 million that the Phoenix Suns fetched in 2004, the highest purchase price for an NBA franchise.

Good news for Warriors fans--the higher the deal, the more likely Ellison will be the only one willing to go that high. The bad news is that Ellison might not overbid. Still highly likely it'll be his team, but don't pencil it in yet.
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