After George Steinbrenner passed away Tuesday, we were reminded of how he bought the Yankees for $8.8 million only to watch his empire grow to an estimated value of $1.6 billion last year. Quite a return, right? Now completely flip that around and you have Peter Guber, the new owner of the Golden State Warriors after he and Joseph Lacob paid a record $450 million for the franchise. Suddenly Donald Sterling doesn’t seem so insane.
Guber has been a minority owner of the Boston Celtics, after failing to purchase stakes in the Los Angeles Dodgers, Anaheim Ducks, and Sacramento Kings. He’s also been a Warriors season ticket holder and plans to help his new franchise back to the success that it hasn’t seen in 35 years. The Warriors last won a division title in 1976, and the Warriors’ two NBA titles came in 1956 and 1975. Presumably the expensive price is indicative of Guber’s desire to win before fans who witnessed the last title die.
Get the Bay Area’s hopes up, LA Times:
“There’s pure joy to telling the story, seeing the audience and exceeding their expectations,” he [Guber] said. “I’m very excited to take this legacy and make it bigger. And to win.”
Guber’s challenge is intense. He says his investment with Lacob — the prior record was the $401-million purchase of the Phoenix Suns in 2004 by Robert Sarver — underscores Guber’s commitment to reward a strong fan base that ranked 11th in attendance last season despite the team’s 26-56 record.
In fairness, Guber used to be the head of Sony Pictures, so he’s used to paying ridiculous prices for failures.
*waits for high five from Vince*
The favorite to purchase the Warriors had been Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, but he has a bit of a reputation for undervaluing companies and prospective purchases, according to his critics. Word has it that Ellison was pussyfooting with his offers and Guber swooped in, dropped a dumptruck full of money on previous owner Chris Cohan’s doorstep and the two laughed as Ellison went back to his giant mansion full of money with no sports teams.
Guber is presumably worth $26 billion, so the record-setting purchase matters very little to his finances. So despite the fact that the team he just purchased for almost half a billion dollars has made the playoffs once in the last 16 years, Guber says he’s confident in his purchase and expects the team to start winning again. Then someone slid him a copy of the roster.