Lacob and Guber, fresh off officially getting the reins to the Warriors franchise, have made themselves as public as Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag of MTV's "The Hills." After their media luncheon with gumbo that couldn't pass Warriors beat writer Marcus Thompson's palate, they sat down with AOL's Fanhouse to answer some questions about the current state of the team from players to the admin up top and about improving the Warriors fan experience.
What's so great about listening to owners?
It's pretty obvious for a Warrior fan for the last 16 years having to witness no blueprint besides selling (sexy) throwback jerseys, exploiting fan nostalgia of what we used to be like, as opposed to building for what we can be.
As I mentioned before, I'm extremely excited about the holistic planning from what you see on the court to what you see off the court. Basketball is a business and Guber knows a thing or two about entertainment with his whopping 50+ flicks nominated for an Academy Award. I'm quoting at length:
At the same time, you have to think about what the business is. The business is entertainment. It's sports, but it's entertainment sports. That's what it is. And it competes for leisure time activity and leisure time dollars just like everything else. Do I go to this basketball game, do I go to this football game, do I watch this thing on television, do I play this video game? (Fans have) a certain amount consumable income that they can spend and a certain amount of time and a certain amount of what I call rooting interest, and they have to divide that.
This (sports) is a unique communal experience. When we look at the metrics or the analytics of this, you'll find -- and I'm making this number up -- 2.3 people go to 9.6 games per year, drive 5.1 miles, wait 10.9 minutes and stay there 82 percent of the time. It's just what it is, all right? And you're competing with everything else. So what you have to compete for is the product on the floor -- winning, which is crucial -- and that fan experience.
How do you engage that fan? Where do you engage them? How do you engage them and their interest to commit in going to the game? To commit to listening on the radio? To commit to following it on the Internet, to being interactive on the Internet about their opinion? When somebody has an opinion, they're no longer a passenger, they're a participant. They metabolize the experience completely differently.
So you look at all those things, and ask yourself: what is it like to walk into the arena? What is it like to park the car (or, truthfully, as it was pronounced with his Boston accent: pawk the caw)? The idear (yes, idear) of having difficulty to pawk the caw is really a challenge. If you're having trouble pawking the caw, you know what they're doing? You could guess this for a month and you'd never guess. ... You know what they're thinking about? How the f**k am I going to leave here at the end of the game? They're having trouble pawking the car, and they're thinking, "I'd better leave in the 7th inning or early in the fourth quarter because otherwise I'm trapped getting out of here."
I know you don't think that, but what does that do to your business? It means one less thirst-quenching opportunity, one less chance for merchandising. Their fan experience -- nobody wants to go to the whole game and (hear), "You missed the (end)? They came back from 32 points and you didn't see the last four minutes? What are you, crazy?"
So you're thinking about a fan experience, holistically. At the core center of it is everything he's talking about, and that's the most important thing. But it's not the only important thing. So you have to believe that you're going to be successful and bring those things to it at the same time. It's not one ball in the air, it's five balls in the air.
As a consumer (a broke one at that spending on credit) and someone who studies consumerism, I'm extremely cognizant of how far my (non)money is going to go at the game. If the product on the court is terrible, I'm going to feel like I got ripped off. But, I can appreciate the fact that Guber is pretty upfront with the fact that monetizing the fan experience/engagement with sports is all part of the process. And with that, Guber is also admitting that fans are equally important. Of course they're just trying to make money of us, who isn't? But sports is entertainment and if he can transform the Oracle from Hay Place into Disney Land, lets do it! Winning is everything, of course, but if they can make the fan experience a little more exciting, I'm all for it.
For those that don't know what Hay Place is, check it out: