The Golden State Warriors accumulated 40 years without participating in the Finals of the NBA until they returned in 2015, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers from Lebron James with a Stephen Curry On, who won his first award as league MVP. It was the beginning of a promising story on the court that, until 2022, has accumulated six finals in eight seasons, the most recent being the one that will begin against the Boston Celtics on June 2.
The success story of Warriors It has two aspects: what names like Curry, Klay Thompson and head coach Steven Kerr have done on the court, but on the other hand there is the financial management and business consolidation that Joe Lacob and Peter Guber have had as owners of the team. from the year 2010.
“Since current ownership took over this team, the Warriors brand has continued to expand, lead and innovate on and off the court and around the world. Whether it’s through the Chase Center, the pioneer status in bringing in Rakuten as their patch sponsor, the culture created and expanded under Rick Welts (former president and COO) during his time at the helm of the team, or the opportunities they provide to its athletes and employees to express points of view and act on issues related to cultural change, the Golden State brand has never been more golden for its partners, fans and the sport”, he explains to The EconomistJoe Favorite, sports business consultant and professor of Sports Management at Columbia University.
In 2010, the Warriors were owned by Chris Cohana telecommunications businessman who had claimed to be ravaged by the economic crisis of the early 2000s and who also faced a $160 million tax evasion charge.
Back then, Golden State only had three stars in the Finals. NBA and was in the middle of the historical record table, on a par with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Detroit Pistons. Also, under Cohen, they had only made one playoff run in a 15-year span.
The NBA put up for sale through an auction to the Warriors franchise, it reached a cost of 400 million dollars. The final two contenders were the group headed by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, as well as Larry Ellison, who at the time was considered the sixth richest person in the world with an estimated fortune of $28 billion (according to Forbes).
Although Ellison had more capital, Lacob and Guber managed to get hold of the property by offering Cohan a resounding offer of $450 million before withdrawing from the auction, according to The Athletic. The sale went through, and the Warriors have since raised their franchise value to $5.6 billion today, making them the second most valuable team in the NBA behind only the New York Knicks (5.8 billion).
“Golden State’s team culture brought in free-thinking, telegenic individuals who helped put them in a position for success on and off the court. These are characters who are leaders beyond the score on the court, such as Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson, who have excelled as people, citizens and entrepreneurs and all that began with what they have built Joe Lacob, Peter Guber, Steve Kerr, Bob Meyers and Rick Welts, in a top-down rhythm”, adds the Sports Management academic.
After 12 years of management, the group headed by Lacob and Guber has consolidated a dynasty of winning teams that have reached six Finals of the NBA in eight seasons, a record that had last been achieved by Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls between 1990 and 1998.
Now the Warriors have the third most NBA titles with six, only behind the 17 of the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, although if they win the 2021-22 series they would be alone in third place and break the tie. of six crowns they have with the Chicago Bulls.
In the 90s the Bulls consolidated their brand due to their high level in the NBA. How does that impact compare to what the Warriors are doing now?
“They are different times, teams and objectives. Sport today is more global, it can impact people around the world in an instant, and the vehicles for global success are different. Jordan as a brand set the standard, but a lot of that also had to do with the masterful way David Falk and his team guided him off the court. Warriors ownership is different, as elite organizations have a much greater opportunity to grow a global footprint than previous teams. The opportunities are greater today than then.”
According to figures from the NBAAs of April 2022, the Golden State Warriors are the team with the third highest merchandising figures globally, above the Bulls and Nets, but below the 76ers and Lakers. Individually, Stephen Curry’s jersey was the third best-selling jersey, behind only those of James Harden (76ers) and LeBron James (Lakers), but well above Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic, the last two MVP winners. of the league.
Among the most outstanding actions of the Lacob and Guber duo are the construction of the Chase Center for about 1,400 million dollars (opened in 2019), where the Warriors play since 2020, and the sponsorship alliance with Rakuten from 2017 for an estimated 20 million dollars a year, which has just been renewed until 2023.
However, in April 2022, the franchise announced the launch of its Golden State Entertainment (GSE) platform, a new business division that will create licensed documentary content, produce music, and host non-basketball live events in the Area. the San Francisco Bay.
“The Warriors understand that we are already committed to storytelling, we are deeply embedded in the culture. Content is king, whether you are talking about content in the form of games, music or movies, the ability to generate content that speaks to people will always be central”, said David Kelly, executive team legal.
Due to the incursion of this new platform, the Warriors expect to generate revenue of about 700 million dollars at the end of 2022, according to Brandon Schneider, president and chief operating officer of the team, in an interview with CNBC. In addition to Golden State Entertainment, the franchise is eyeing a partnership with a cryptocurrency company and leveraging the blockchain industry to power its cryptocurrency-type products. NFT.
The only thing you will have to wait for within your GSE platform is a documentary about your greatest figure, Steph CurrySince the NBA prohibits the creation of such audiovisual material while its players are active. For now, the actions are based on the release of a single with K-pop singer Bam Bam, also boosting international loyalty lines.
—What do the Warriors need to improve on business and marketing?
—“In a world where change happens in an instant, I would say that they shouldn’t change much. May they continue to seek progress, innovating and leading. In fact, I don’t see that changing at all as long as the ownership is in place and the company culture stays true to itself,” concludes Joe Favorito, envisioning continued success on the court and in business for the current finalists. of the NBAthe Golden State Warriors, who are going for their seventh title.