Ellison in talks to buy Memphis Grizzlies

Oracle CEO and billionaire Larry Ellison has been getting some sun down in Indian Wells, where one of his sports properties, the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament, has been going on for the last two weeks. That hasn’t stopped him from accelerating his quest for an NBA franchise. The basketball fan almost bought the New Orleans Hornets with the possible intent to move the franchise to San Jose. After those overtures were denied by the league, he’s back to buy another Southern team, the Memphis Grizzlies. CSN Bay Area’s Matt Steinmetz reports that Ellison has a “handshake agreement” with current Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley to acquire the franchise.

The Grizzlies are locked into a lease at FedEx Forum through at least 2017, so there’s no chance of Ellison being able to relocate the franchise immediately (if he wanted to). The Merc notes that Heisley’s asking price is $350 million, a $40+ million premium over the franchise’s most recent Forbes valuation. That figure is also in line with the amount the NBA is looking to get for the Hornets, who are expected to be sold to a consortium headed by LA businessman Raj Bhathal sometime in the next few weeks.

Both Heisley and Ellison were expected to be bidders on the Dodgers. Only Heisley submitted a bid. Frequently criticized for being cheap in his tenure as Grizzlies owner, Heisley managed to end up on the short list of Dodger bidders, making it past the first two rounds after he teamed up with Tony Ressler.

The $350 million sales price appears to be the key for Ellison, as he bid lower than Joe Lacob and Peter Guber when the Warriors were put up for sale. That’s the same amount he bid on the Hornets in late 2010. Still, the franchise is in Memphis and is not going to move for a while if at all. With his interest tied up in the ongoing America’s Cup defense and running a NASDAQ-100/S&P 500 company, you have to wonder if Ellison would end up being something of an absentee owner. An hour jet ride to Palm Desert once a year is a lot more manageable than frequent four-hour trips to Memphis. Despite that “hardship” it’s clear that Ellison wants in on owning an NBA franchise, which is more than I can say for his supposed interest in baseball.

70 thoughts on “Ellison in talks to buy Memphis Grizzlies

  1. Maybe this will motivate Lacob to move to SF faster.

  2. Ellison is the 8th-richest guy on the planet. Think he might be reluctant to pay a couple hundred million to get out of a lease in Memphis?

    • @pjk – Actually yes. He’s indicated that he’s only willing to pay so much for a franchise. He’s always been very shrewd. That shouldn’t stop with owning a team.

  3. So do you think he’d be in it for the long haul in Memphis?

  4. For the record, wouldn’t mind San Jose acquiring an NBA team, be it Grizzlies, Warriors, Kings, whatever. That said, this development doesn’t excite me one bit. For me its all about San Jose getting the A’s downtown. That will satisfy my sports dreams for eternity. Good luck to Larry Ellison by the way (as if he needs it).

  5. Agree with Tony. If the A’s were to move to SJ, I’d be concerned about the San Jose Grizzlies cutting into the south bays sports fan’s wallet.

  6. i dont know much about basketball but is it pretty certain that hell move the team to san jose? if he does, they should keep the name grizzlies and make a logo that looks somewhat like the california flag which has a grizzly bear on it. if coliseum city works out and all the oakland teams stay in oakland, then i really wouldnt want to see the bay area get a new NBA team. but it seams like the A’s will go to SJ, the warriors to SF and the raiders to still stay in oakland and build on the current site. with that being said, san jose would become an awesome sports metropolis with the sharks, grizzlies and A’s all playing playoff caliber sports only a block away from each other

  7. i dont see them moving with the fedex forum being built in 2004

  8. @pjk – Long haul? No. 7-10 years? Sure.

  9. 7-10 years in Memphis? He’s 67 years old. Does he have any connections at all to Memphis? I think he lives on the peninsula.

  10. Even knowing that the NBA does not have anti trust exemption like MLB, couldn’t the Warriors block a move of the Grizzlies to SJ using TV rights or something? Weren’t people who wanted an NBA team in HP pavilion kind of hoping Sac would drop the ball on an arena?
    .
    Basically, it seems that even if ol’ Larry wants to move an NBA team to SJ, he’d have some major obstacles, the lease on the new arena in Memphis notwithstanding.
    .
    And, as pjk already said, Ellison is 67.

  11. Kind of OT: over at SJ/SV Biz Journal they stated that the Bay Area economy is now the 19th largest in the world to the tune of $535 billion. I’m sure MLB is aware of the strength of this market and in no way will make it Giants only; two-team market it is and will stay! Heck, I’d even go out on a limb and say there’s room for the Grizzlies (if it ever became a possibility).
    FWIW, I do believe the Grizzlies can get out of their arena lease after 2017 (attendance related).

  12. According to this: http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2008/feb/29/grizzlies-are-not-leaving/ which is from 2008, the Grizzlies could theoretically leave after the 10th year in the Forum, which I believe is the 2012-2013 season, provided they not meet certain attendance figures, although it doesn’t detail what those triggers are. They’d also have to pay what’s left of the debt service, $100+ million until 2015, and pay FedEx a portion of their naming rights money back. While paying an extra $150 million or so on top of the purchase price (plus whatever fee he may have to give the Warriors) may not seem like Ellison’s style, I really don’t see him owning a team in Memphis for 7-10 years either. And correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t he willing to pay more than Lacob/Guber two years ago, but he missed the deadline for an “official” bid, so Cohen and Sal Galatioto ignored it?

  13. The Mets lawsuit with the Madoff trustee was settled today. And for a fraction of the 1 billion that was being sought against them. They’ll end up having paid 162 million, of which they’ll likely get a substantial portion back since they were net losers in Madoff’s ponzi scheme. This should eliminate another “distraction” keeping the MLB brass from dealing with the A’s.

    As for the Grizzlies… I’d be concerned if I lived in Memphis. They won’t be there long (definitely not beyond 2017) if Ellison has his way. Which frankly is unfortunate. NorCal doesn’t need 3 basketball teams.

  14. Joe, you’re correct. Ellison did outbid Lacob’s group but his bid was “put in late” was the excuse the NBA gave. That’s why I said I’d be worried if I were Memphis. If Ellison buys them I have no doubt he’ll move them where he pleases eventually, be it San Jose, SF (if the Warriors don’t get there first), or another location of his choosing if he doesn’t want them in Memphis.

  15. @Dan
    3 basketball teams in Nor Cal does seem like a bit much. Similar to having 3 in LA (which almost happened last year with the Kings).
    .
    I just don’t see the NBA liking this at all. Plus, I’m sure they know that Ellison is, well, Ellison (a serious pain in the ass who will never be cooperative with the rest of the owners or the league).

  16. True, but so is Mark Cuban. And he’s ended up being a great owner for the NBA.

  17. I can say I “outbid” Lacob/Guber if I submit a late bid. It’s a meaningless gesture. Actions speak louder than words. Do the math on this. $100+ million to get out of FedEx Forum lease and another $100 million to “invade” Bay Area. I’m highly skeptical that Ellison would do this. 7-10 years is a a fairly short tenure as far as ownership goes.

  18. Well 5 actually. The Memphis lease is easy to break after 2017 since the only metric is attendance which an owner can VERY easily manipulate both actually and on paper.

  19. I just don’t see Ellison waiting until he is 75 years old or so to have his own NBA team in his backyard. What good is a team for him if he has to travel; 2,000 miles to see it? If he gets the Grizzlies, he’ll find a way to quickly get them to either San Jose or Frisco. (Think San Jose would forget about Ellison’s airport curfew lawsuit if he brought the NBA to San Jose? I think so.)…

  20. So where does this leave Seattle- seems like the NBA owes Seattle-and if Hansen can get an arena built-I had figured the Kings or Hornets would head up tha way- but now seems as if both will stay- surprised Hansen wasn’t pursuing grizzlies- or maybe he is-

  21. Probably not. Doesn’t sound like many people knew the Grizzlieswere in play. If Seattle goes after anyone it’ll be the Bucks. As for the NBA “owing” them. They didn’t build an arena when they had a team and the owner and league wanted them to do so and instead sued the league. I’d have no expectation the league would go rushing back.

  22. the NBA wanted a new arena in Seattle but the city not only played the “let the rich owners build their OWN arena” game, but passed a referendum virtually assuring no arena gets built there. So the chips fell where they may. A fairly NBA-ready arena is there in San Jose…

  23. Fairly being the key word. Modifications would definitely need to be made to the HP Pavilion to make it a passable NBA venue just like they were going to be needed in Anaheim at the similarly aged Honda Center. As it stands today it could not host an NBA team long term. And of course SOMEONE would have to pay for those modifications.

  24. @Dan,
    Whether SJ lands NBA or not, I believe upgrades (perhaps major) will be needed for The Tank prior to 2020, especially if SF builds a spanking new arena for the Warriors. My solution: naming rights post 2017, as that is when the current deal with HP expires. Sell the rights to a Silicon Valley corporation (Apple, Adobe, eBay, or even HP again) for 30 years at plus $200 million and BAM!…you have funding for a major upgrade.

  25. @Tony D. – Once a venue has gotten a naming rights deal, every subsequent deal is going to be worth less and less. HP could renew, but probably not for more than 10 years.

    The improvements I’ve described previously that would need to be done for HP Pavilion would probably cost $100 million easy, and would have to be undertaken as a partnership between the new team, the Sharks, and the Arena Authority/City.

  26. $100 million? What kind of new improvements does the arena need that would cost $100? I’m not talking about the Grizzlies also needing a practice facility in San Jose. (The whole arena only cost $165 million.in 1993 – a bargain compared to the $400 mill Taj Mahal arenas going up today, like Newark’s.) What’s the link to your previous posting about the arena improvements?

  27. Thanks RM for the clarification. Perhaps something like a $50 million naming rights deal, extension are in order post 2017. That would at least cut the $100 million figure in half. By the way, how much is Oracle paying to have their name attached to the Coli/arena?

  28. @pjk – HP Pavilion is a bit on the smallish side. I figure 100,000 square feet of new construction and building out of existing building to suit NBA will cost $25 million. New more flexible lower seating bowl and complete replacement of seats throughout will cost $50 million. Additional tweaks to suites and clubs: $25 million. Look at it this way: that’s cheaper than what Minneapolis is thinking about paying to redo Target Center ($155 million). I don’t think I’ve ever posted actual estimates before.

  29. As someone who has attended Warriors games and NCAA Tournament games at HP Pavilion I have to agree with ML. The Arena is setup well for hockey but not so good for basketball.

  30. if anybody saw the half time ceremony to retire mullin’s #17, lacob got absolutely booed off the stage. mullin had to step in before it quieted down then the boos rained down again, then barry for some reason try to quiet the crowd down but that didn’t work, in fact it probably got the crowd more upset.

    bad moment since it was mullin’s night and what will come out of this both locally and nationally likely too will be how the crowd reacted. imo it’s w’s fans having reached a tipping point with this franchise. it was only a decade ago that they booed cohan with his son standing next to hi during the all star game in oakland when he presented an award to jordan and he was booed off the court and after that cohan never showed his face publicly again it seemed since that day.

    ellison come save the bay area nba fans by moving the hornets to sj please!

  31. @letsgoas – What an embarrassment. It’s obvious the fans who were booing were clueless as to what tonight was all about. They totally ruined what was supposed to be a special night for Chris Mullin.
    .
    As far as Ellison being a savior, I think the Warriors proved this past off season that having a boatload of money doesn’t always translate into success.

  32. Ellison is a winner: He’d do whatever it takes to win. These current Warriors are just as much a bunch of losers as the Cohan Warriors, so far. It would be great for Ellison to bring a second team to the Bay Area and give the Warriors some – gasp! – competition.

  33. @fc: The biggest folly from the fawkward Mullin retirement ceremony was Rick Barry lecturing the crowd on “showing class.” Whether you approve of the booing or not, it’s foolish to think you can calm thousands of a agitated fans by scolding them. Also, those people paid their money to be there. If they want to boo, that’s just how it’s going to be. Honestly, that’s the most kick I’ve seen that fanbase have in years too, so that ownership should feel honored the fans still show up and care enough to boo.

  34. Warriors: Always drafting early, always lousy. One playoff appearance in 15 or 16 years in a league where 16 teams make it.

  35. why was lacob out there on center court anyway AFTER mullin’s great speech. the whole ceremony took way too long, think it was past the 30 minute mark when lacob went out there to stroke his ego a bit in the love fest for mullin when everybody i think just wanted to see the jersey # unveiled after his speech. what was lacob doing, give a little spech of his own and then to give mullin and his family a one week trip to hawaii. w’s fans are a pissed off org and have been screwed over so much over the past few decades.

    also dating back to 92/93 which would make this season the 20th year, they’ve only made the playoffs two times and three “winning” seasons. the first year with webber in 93/94, the We Believe season in 06/07 and then the season after where they won 48 games but didn’t make the playoffs due to the west being stacked as we never saw a conference before.

  36. To all those idiots out there who claim that the Giants having the entire Bay Area to themselves would make them Yankees west and perennial powerhouses…I give you “our” Golden State Warriors. They’ve had the market all to themselves for an eternity, with one championship to show for it, perennial suckers for the most part. Take away that fluke playoff run of a few years back, and it’s been God-awful NBA for the Bay.

  37. letsgoas, Hornets just signed an agreement with NOLA this week. They’re not going anywhere.

  38. Rick Barry is such a pompous ass.
    .
    That said, it really sucked to see the booing but it also sucked to see the way that ceremony was handled. Contrast that with how the A’s handled Rickey’s night… Dave Freaking Newhouse (Lew Wolff hater extraordinaire) was the MC?!?!?!? For all the talk of how bad an owner Lew Wolff is, he apparently can run circles around Joe Lacob.

  39. As for the Warriors, it was a stupid move by the ownership for even being on the court knowing how hated they’ve become. That said, the fans were even worse and were completely classless. Barry may have been ill timed in telling the crowd they were classless boobs, but he wasn’t wrong. And yes it made the top headlines after Manning on ESPN so congrats Warriors fans, the whole nation is laughing at you. Makes me glad I’m a Kings fan.

  40. Briggs – There’s a time and a place for booing. No matter how much money you pay, booing at a jersey retirement is not appropriate.
    .
    pjk – Again, having all the money in the world will not guarantee success. The Warriors threw dollars at Chandler and Jordan, but weren’t able to land eiither of them. Their failure in the FA market is what drove the Warriors to make this deal for Bogut.

  41. Look at Ellison’s track record: He has conquered both the computer industry and now the America’s Cup race. Sound like a guy who’ll be happy to just sit back and collect ticket revenues and sit courtside for a perennial losing team? I don’t think so, either.

  42. 1) ML, my only point with Ellison’s failed bid was to show that, for all the talk about not paying more than he felt the team was worth, when it came down to it, he was willing to spend above and beyond that. He just didn’t think he had to play by the rules and thought he could get them after the deadline. I don’t think it’s absurd that, two years later, he’d spend more than he’d prefer to get the Grizzlies out of Memphis, be that to San Jose, Anaheim, or wherever.
    2) I think the fans were completely justified in booing Lacob. It was his fault for trying to stick himself in Mullin’s moment, which I’d imagine he thought was a spot that would make him off-limits to the boos. And even though he certainly would’ve gotten bood as it was, from the intro “we’ve saved the best for last” to his disdainful “now that we’ve gotten that out of the way” after the first minute or so, he just kept digging the hole deeper. Fans don’t have many chances to so clearly rebuke an owner, and I thought they made the most of it. As Jeffrey said, LW didn’t make himself the focus of Rickey’s night, and Lacob had no business doing it last night. Maybe it’d be one thing if he’d owned the team for 30 years and had a long term relationship with Mullin, but he’s had the team for all of about 20 minutes. If he’d just keep his mouth shut and weaseled his way into some nice photo ops, this would be a non-story. When Tom Hicks was dragging the Rangers into what would become the auction mess, he was at least smart enough to not put himself into a spot like this. At his last opening day, Chuck Morgan barely skipped a breath between saying Hicks’ name, and introducing Nolan Ryan, so while 50,000 of us would’ve loved to boo old Tom, we loved Nolan, and weren’t about to boo him.

  43. Lacob was just on KNBR and mentioned his partner, Peter Guber, is bidding to buy the Dodgers with Magic Johnson. I wonder how that would work in negotiations with the Gians to build next to AT&T. Then again, he also denied that they are leaning to SF in the first place. Furthermore, the Earthquakes playing at AT&T shows that these dramatics don’t always translate across codes.

  44. To clarify on the Rick Barry stuff, he was on 95.7 this morning and he came off as a jerk. The people booing were the “young people” in the upper deck. The Warriors shouldn’t have known, or supposedly cared, that the fan base isn’t all that happy with Joe Lacob, etc. I agree, booing was not cool at a jersey retirement ceremony. Equally not cool? Joe Lacob even being on the floor to give a speech when he knew that the fan base isn’t all that happy with him. It isn’t a small pat of the fan base either.

  45. @NT,
    By stating that they (Warriors) weren’t “leaning” to SF, was Lacob suggesting that they may not go to SF and a new arena? Could be good news for the city of Oakland or, albeit more farfetched, San Jose/HP Pavilion.

  46. pjk – Unlike the corporate world, you can’t bully yourself to an NBA championship.

  47. Tony, he’s indicated in the past they’re not leaning toward SF or Oakland but rather leaving all options open. All options being another rebuild, or new arena in Oakland or a new SF arena. Not really good news for Oakland, but not bad news. Remember the Warriors, unlike the A’s, haven’t said they’re bolting. As for SJ, they’d never leave their newer (internally), larger, basketball specific arena in Oakland for the so/so for basketball arena in SJ.

  48. Couple of points:

    1. Anaheim was not going to re-do the lower seating bowl and only minor changes to suites themselves. Anaheim needed to build a new locker room and a Pro-Shop that could house another team….Plus a 15,000 square foot terrace and a restaurant.
    http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/nhl/news/story?id=6670740

    2. San Jose would only need to add another locker room as the suites were upgraded a short time ago already.

    The renovations to the lower seating bowl are unnecessary. If you look at the designs of the shared NBA/NHL arenas you will see they are configured more for hockey than NBA to avoid the problems US Airways Arena had in Phoenix when the Coyotes played there with obstructed views.

    That is why Anaheim never had it in their renovation plans to re-do their lower bowl seating.

    As someone who saw basketball in both Oracle and HP in all areas of the arena, Oracle is only better if you seat in the angled seating in the corners of the lower bowl. Every other place HP had a better view, especially in the upper deck.

    HP has better concourses, club level, and its a tie with suites in my book. Although the two rows of stadium seating in the suites at Oracle are pretty cool versus 1 row in HP.

    3. Ellison can easily make sure the Grizzlies miss their attendance marks. All he has to do is increase ticket prices. Memphis is one of the poorest cities and metro areas in all of the NBA. By increasing prices regardless of the product on the floor people will not show up because they will be priced out of the place.

    4. Today Memphis is 21st in the league in attendance despite having a state of the art arena and a very talented team that advanced deep into the playoffs last year…..Tells you something like NO about how bad that market is for the NBA…..Plus the team loses $$ yearly and the current owner has been trying to sell for years.

    5. Finally, Kudos to Joe Lacob for having the balls to trade Monta Ellis and do the “right thing”. Ellis is not a PG and does not make anyone better around him. You cannot play Curry and Ellis in the same backcourt and expect to succeed in the NBA. By trading him for a true C in Andrew Bogut who if he plays 65 games a year improves the team in the long run.

    With a Curry, Thompson, Lee, and Bogut core the team is setup to finally make the playoffs perhaps next year. All are young and talented enough to make the Warriors a consistent playoff team…..Something they were nothing close to right now or in the near future with Ellis.

    People will be cheering for Lacob in the future….he finally did what Cohan refused to do. Make a trade where the team had to get “worse” before it could get “better” in the long run.

  49. @Sid – Anaheim didn’t have to redo the lower bowl because it was done properly at the start. San Jose would have to do it. I’m amused at how you keep saying HP is superior in some ways as a basketball arena, citing the upper level as the reason. Guess what? The upper level is not what provides serious revenue. Much of the upper level for NBA teams is practically a loss leader. Those corner lower bowl seats, the ones you say are better at Oracle, are corridors and empty space at HP. That has to be addressed to maximize revenue. Take the San Jose blinders off and look at the history of arenas throughout the league. The NBA is not going to be satisfied with building a few walls and calling it a day. The NBA franchise will already be in a disadvantageous position at HP (scheduling, revenue split) when they move in unless the Sharks own a piece of the team. Maximizing revenue is of the utmost.

  50. Rick Barry being any kind of an arbiter on class is the height of absurdity. I’m sure all Barry’s old teammates recognized his “show some class” glare as the close relative of his “how could you drop that pass” glare he used to shoot them on the court.

    Barry would have been well-advised to remember Mike Dunleavy’s quote before getting involved in any dispute, “He lacks diplomacy. If you sent him to the U.N., he’d end up starting World War III.”

  51. @ML “Those corner lower bowl seats, the ones you say are better at Oracle, are corridors and empty space at HP”
    .
    I see your point comparing corner bowl seats at Oracle and HP, but not sure I see it comparing HP and Honda Center. The picture in your earlier post showing Honda Center in NCAA config seems to show some might big corridors and empty space in the corners.
    .
    Also, assuming this is a deficiency, not sure why it wouldn’t be considered a deficiency for hockey as well.

  52. Despite what happened last night, Oakland basketball fans are the best and most loyal in the NBA. True Warrior fans aren’t going to become Grizzly fans as long as the team stays in Oakland. Bringing another team to San Jose would just mean two weak franchises in a tiny two team market.
    Lacob didn’t belong on the court last night. If he wants to succeed he should commit to Oakland.

  53. Sid, have you been to basketball games at HP Pavilion? As I stated earlier, I have seen Warrior and NCAA Tournament games there and it is far from ideal.

  54. Because the holes don’t exist when the arenas are both in hockey config.

    HP Pavilion - Basketball

    Take a look at the HP center in the corners when it’s in basketball config. The seats that are blocked in by the basketball seats extending out, themselves extend out in hockey config filling in the majority of the empty space that exists during basketball config.

    You can see Honda Center has the same issue. Though with Honda Center part of the “luxury seat” issue is offset by that arena’s luxury box set up. Honda Center has two levels of luxury boxes below the upper deck whereas HP Pavilion only has one level of luxury boxes below the upper deck. The second level of HP Pavilion’s luxury boxes are up in the rafters at the top of the upper deck.

    Honda Center NCAA Tourney 2008 UCLA vs Texas A&M

  55. Warrior fans are great and they do very well in Oakland. That said, the team is pretty invisible in the south bay. I find it surprising when I see so much as a license plate frame repping the team down here. That comes from the whole basketball/hockey seasonal divide, or at least that is the only why I can explain it.

  56. @ Ted – your typical team fanboism shows through again. ” Bringing another team to San Jose would just mean two weak franchises in a tiny two team market.” So you consider the whole Bay Area a “tiny” market even though GDP is above many nations? How many people in the total populace here again? I will agree with you however that “True Warrior fans aren’t going to become Grizzly fans as long as the team stays in Oakland.” and will parallel it with the A’s move to SJ: true pumpkin Gnats fan will remain loyal fans regardless, so the whole “fan conquest” argument should be thrown out the window….

    @ NT – There are some pockets of fans, but I can see many growing up Lakers fans during the Showtime years. I converted back to the W’s once Run TMC took off, and followed Timmy to Miami…

  57. Anon, attack the argument, not the person arguing it. I’d agree with him. The Bay Area is a smaller market when it comes to basketball. The Warriors do ok, but they’re not sold out every game and are definitely skewing their attendance numbers somewhat (to what extent we can’t know but they’re not reporting actual attendance). And there is not much hype around the team despite them being the only game in town when compared to the Giants, Niners, Raiders, and Sharks. Could the Bay Area be a bigger market with some work by an ownership group, sure. But to date it hasn’t been done.

  58. @Nam Turk – I have several friends in the South Bay who are season ticket plan holders. The W’s fanbase is strong here, though I suspect people would easily switch to a new team if one came in (and was good). The Bay Area is a very good NBA market. I’m not sure it would support two teams well. Unlike the Giants’ argument, there is a real threat of an incoming team leaching fans from the W’s. No antitrust exemption to help the league or the W’s.

  59. Anon, I am a Warrior fan who has never converted or jumped bandwagons to Miami or LA. I am not sure what Fanboism means. The Bay Area is a tiny two team market compared to other NBA two team markets is it not? We are not talking about the A’s and the Giants here so I am not going to respond to your Gnat Pumpkin comments.

  60. This conversation takes me back to the portfolio.com study on expansion markets and the various economic prerequisites for each professional sport. That report showed that here was not enough economic might in the Bay Area for a new NBA franchise (if you combined what it called the San Jose market with the Oak-SF market). I think a second NBA franchise in the Bay Area (no matter where) would be bad for the NBA’s bottom line.

  61. @ Ted – That’s nice that you’re a W’s fan, so am I. Fanboism means that you hype up your favorite team regardless of any argument others may present. As for the Bay Area being comparable to other 2 team markets, that’s an easy thing to say since there aren’t many 2 team markets in the first place. The closest would be LA and their population does dwarf ours, but our corporate base is much stronger and attendance requirements is much smaller in an NBA venue vs. MLB. And regarding the halloween Gnats discussion, we’re always talking about the A’s here, since after all, it is the “new A’s ballpark” site or did you take a wrong turn on the Bay Bridge?

    @ Dan – The Warriors historically are in the top 10 of NBA attendance averaging more than 90% of capacity for the past 7 years even with crappy teams, an uninterested coach, dysfunctional front office, and crappy owners . I’m sure this will accelerate more once they move to their new venue in SF. I would also argue that basketball is one of the most popular sports here, so i think it is a much stronger market than people think.

  62. Anon, there aren’t many other two team markets for a reason and there is no reason to believe that Northern California could adequately support three teams. I also wonder how well the Warriors would have drawn over the past 10 years in San Francisco or San Jose.

  63. Ted – No need to guess how well they would draw in SJ. In 96-97, they drew an average of 15,167 which was then the highest attendance in team history. While it is just one data point, it is a very critical one illustrating that the South Bay could support a team within its locale.

  64. Anon, actually it’s nothing of the sort. You’re looking at a one off in a one team market when the arena was still a new novelty. Not a great metric to assume a second NBA team would draw well to an older less basketball friendly arena, particularly IF the Warriors do make a move to a new basketball pleasure palace on the SF waterfront.

  65. Anon, they were novelty when they played in San Jose. I am not sure that fans down here would put up with a team that never wins and I am sure that they would lose much of their East Bay fan base when they moved to San Jose.

  66. Not to mention that the STH’s had to re-up in the SJ year or lose the rights to their seats. A North or East Bay STH might be willing to make that drive for one year, but not for good.

  67. @ Ted – I would argue that the Sharks, even with all their success, haven’t won any championships but enjoy rabid support even for a sport as foreign as ice hockey. Since you grew up in the South Bay, you know how popular basketball is with the local kids since it’s much more easy to get a pickup game of hoops as opposed to the other major sports. However, I realize that there isn’t much support of local college basketball for some reason….

    @ Dan – Yes, it is an admitted limited sample size unfortunately, but interesting nonetheless. If there were any novelty associated with a new team/venue, I would note that the Sharks support would of faded by now. BTW – did you notice that with the recent lockout the “We Believe” reunion was showcased in SJ as opposed to Oracle Arena? Not much there i know, but interesting nevertheless.

    @ Brian – I was not implying a move by the W’s south, but rather a 2nd team in the South Bay. If such a thing occurred and I admit it is more speculation than anything at this time, the W’s would essentially own SF and the EB.

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