The Golden State Warriors may have missed out on the basketball’s highest accolade this time around, despite featuring highly in the NBA Championship odds, but it’s not all doom and gloom for the Warriors.
According to Forbes, the Golden State Warriors posted revenues of $765 million in the last financial year to raise their overall value to a staggering $7 billion. It’s not bad for a team that started out in Philadelphia and only won their fourth NBA Championship in 2015.
How then, Golden State Warriors, a team that was once an afterthought in the NBA gone on to become the most valuable franchise in the league? Read on to find out.
Let’s see how The Golden State Warriors become most valuable franchise?:
To most of us who work regular jobs, $7 billion is just a number on a screen, something we can’t really get our heads around. To put that figure into perspective, it’s more than the GDP of Montenegro, Belize and Somalia.
That’s a level of finance that could not have even been countenanced in 1946 when the franchise was founded as the Philadelphia Warriors and became a founding member of the BAA.
Even in 1962 when a group of San Francisco bay area investors purchased the franchise and moved the team to the Golden City, it would have been impossible to predict the franchise’s current financial situation.
Style and Popularity
The move to San Francisco certainly helped with the franchise’s marketability, making them a more attractive proposition to investors and sponsors. The pioneering work of Don Nelson in the 1980s also helped to build the franchise’s brand.
Famed for his up-tempo style of basketball that favoured technical, offensive play over defense, the Warriors became everyone’s second favourite team. Once again, this made the Warriors more appealing to investors and sponsors.
Instead of being your average run of the mill franchise who played a bland style of basketball, the Warriors were a team that got fans out of their seats, whether that be in the stadium or at home.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Golden State Warriors were once again getting fans out of their seats with their high octane running game. The squad, comprising of stars such as Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin were nicknamed Run T.M.C thanks to their full throttle running game.
Like Don Nelson’s team, this hugely exciting squad ultimately fell short when it came to winning the NBA Championship. What they did achieve though, was building a reputation for the Warriors as an exciting and exhilarating franchise.
Fans of pragmatism may scoff at this and say that the only thing that matters at the end of the season is whether a team has won the Larry O’Brien trophy or not. Commercially speaking though, success isn’t as important.
Sponsors would rather have their name associated with a losing team that excites fans and gains plaudits for their play than for a bad tempered and controversial winning machine.
The Lacob and Guber Era
In 2010 Joe Lacob and Peter Guber paid $450 million to buy Golden State, to a cacophony of derision after Forbes had valued the franchise at just $315 million. Lacob, a former season ticket holder who had been captivated by the offensive play of Don Nelson and Guber, an insanely rich Hollywood producer set their sights on the big time.
Their plan to turn the Warriors into the biggest name in basketball was two-pronged, first they would revolutionise the franchise’s commercial department. Secondly, they would transform the team into a stylish winning machine, knowing that combination of the two would make them a financial behemoth.
In the 13 years since their takeover the duo have been successful on both fronts. The Golden State Warriors have forged a reputation as an incredibly savvy commercial entity in recent years with the reported $60 million jersey sponsorship with Rakuten an example of the franchise’s commercial acumen.
On the court the Warriors have been even more successful, winning the NBA Championship in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2022 playing some beautiful basketball along the way. This dynastic period of success combined with the franchise’s savvy approach to commercial matters has seen them become the highest valued franchise in the NBA.
If you’re a Golden State Warriors fan and are feeling downhearted about your teams recent loss in the playoffs, don’t forget the remarkable steps that the franchise has taken in the past couple of decades and the bright future that the team has ahead.