Peter Guber Rumors
How do you get people to go to a pro sports game? Peter Guber: It’s like making a franchise of Star Wars or Batman—in my case, Batman. When you build a franchise, the fans in a sense own the characters in the franchise. When you build a team, the fans have to own the team. I was always interested in sports, but I like the relationship between the players, the brand, the bond, the fans, the product and the experience when you put them all together—the brew you have is something quite unique.
How so? Peter Guber: When you go to a basketball or baseball or football game, sports that I own, you’re a participant. You actually think that you make a difference in the outcome, and you do. It’s a fact. That participation, that energy that you expend, bonds you to the product, to the players, to the team. It’s a very active experience.
We had a detailed discussion about the plans for the arena, the site lines, and Welts said that there are definitively no plans to house an NHL team there. That was an early decision–it’ll be built in NBA dimensions, not to fit both NBA and hockey, Welts said. We also had good conversations about Welts’ experiences working alongside Adam Silver in the NBA offices before Silver became commissioner, about what it’s like to work for Joe Lacob and Peter Guber and about the Warriors’ place in the market place.
In only five years, the Golden State Warriors ownership group led by CEO Joe Lacob and Mandalay Entertainment boss Peter Guber brought to Oakland the basketball franchise’s first championship in 40 years while turning around a money-losing business operation. At the same time, former venture capitalist Lacob has reinvigorated the team’s philanthropic foundation and created a game plan for a new, privately funded $1 billion-plus arena in San Francisco’s Mission Bay. It’s all part of the basketball fanatic’s passion for winning. “We’re a sports organization,” he said. “We’re supposed to win.”
Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber made a public commitment soon after buying the team from Cohen in 2010 that they would privately finance a new arena, without any money from Bay Area municipalities, in San Francisco. The costs of the new building and surrounding developments in the Mission Bay area of the city are estimated at $1 billion. Lacob and Guber spent $450 million on the team and they’re committing up to a billion for the new digs. They have to start making their money back at some point.
The new arena will seat 18,000, less capacity than the 19,500-plus that have sold out 133 consecutive games at Oracle. There are local groups that oppose building at the new site, which is near a children’s hospital, because of concerns about egress to the hospital on game nights. But the city issued an 800-page environmental impact study on Friday that claimed it would be able to handle the additional traffic that would develop in the area if the arena — scheduled to open for the 2018-19 season — gets final approval.
In 1988, the Pistons moved even further north — 31 miles north of Detroit on Interstate 75 — to Auburn Hills, where auto-affiliated companies like BorgWarner, the parts manufacturer, and Autoliv, which makes seatbelts, airbags and other safety products, have their corporate headquarters. “It certainly went from being a blue-collar crowd at the Silverdome to a white-collar crowd,” said Joe Dumars, who played 13 seasons in Detroit after being drafted by the Pistons in 1986. “We used to always acknowledge that. The Silverdome crowd were the assembly workers who built the cars, and the Palace crowd was the executives of the auto companies.” But the move to Auburn Hills was nonetheless a financial boon for the franchise.