Tech honchos have descended on Oracle Arena, the Warriors’ soon-to-be-replaced home court that has looked a lot like Madison Square Garden the past two months. In game one of the NBA Finals on Thursday with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in town, the average ticket price for a seat was well over $1,000. Courtside seats sold for more than $50,000 apiece. At Sunday’s Game Two, longtime Apple exec Eddy Cue sat at half court. On the other side, WhatsApp founder Jan Koum cheered on the Warriors just three seats over from well-known investor Ben Horowitz. On Thursday, Warrior’s owner and former Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Joe Lacob had to move away from the fan sitting courtside next to him because she was cheering for James. That fan was Rihanna.
As he told it at Chat Sports’ Minds Behind the Game panel, he tired of Rihanna’s boisterous rooting for LeBron, and needed a buffer. In a later segment of the panel, Lacob estimated that Rihanna paid $50k per seat for the game, which is insane. Though, she probably more than recouped her cost in all-important, priceless Internet publicity.
A recent study from the Triange Offense shows that most players and teams play better with Rihanna in the building. The Barclays Center, home of her beloved Nets, are 4-1 when Rihanna attends home games. “I have to support the Nets,” she said the night Barclays Center opened in September 2012. “They’re part of my clique.”
There were plenty of celebrities at Barclays Center night for Saturday’s festivities. The list included rappers Nicki Minaj, Common and Ludacris, singer Rihanna, comedian Kevin Hart, tennis icon John McEnroe, boxer Floyd Mayweather, actors Adrian Grenier and Michael Rapaport and director Spike Lee.