Tim Harris Rumors
Shortly after the Lakers moved their games from the run-down Forum to the utilitarian Staples Center downtown in 1999, they leased half of a sprawling recreational complex in El Segundo for their training headquarters. They still share the Toyota Sports Center with the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, who have public ice skating rinks in the noisy building. The Lakers have practice courts and rudimentary training facilities, but the cramped confines forced them to move several business departments to another office building down the street. “A couple of years ago, we realized that as we grew, we needed to find a new facility,” Lakers chief operating officer Tim Harris said. “We wanted to build our own facility and have our own identity. … We want players to treat this place like a second home.”
The Lakers’ rebuilding process may appear uncertain. But clarity emerged on another front. The Lakers and KSPN-710AM reached an agreement that will extend their radio play-by-play partnership for two additional seasons up through 2021-22. John Ireland will continue as the Lakers’ radio play-by-play announced, while Mychal Thompson will remain as the color analyst. Lakers president and part owner Jeanie Buss made the announcement on Tuesday as a guest on KSPN-710AM. “ESPN and the ESPN brand are synonymous with excellence, and we’re proud to be affiliated with them,” Lakers Senior Vice President of Business Operations/COO Tim Harris said in a statement. “The management and employees are consummate professionals and people we enjoy working with, and we’re very pleased to extend our partnership with them.”
Contrary to reports, Jeanie Buss says the money from the Time Warner deal is set, guaranteed regardless of ratings. The stakes, and consequences, however, are still high. “The team is obviously not doing as well this year — injuries and whatnot. Knock on wood, so far the effect [on business] hasn’t been horrible,” says Lakers COO/senior VP of business operations Tim Harris. “You look at the key indicators: OK, how are the ratings? The ratings are a little down.12 They are down relative to the Lakers, but they are still strong relative to an NBA team. Sponsorship interest is up. That’s good. The big indicator is tickets, and so far we are holding our own. Yeah, there are some soft nights every now and again, but by and large the interest is maintained. Now, if the team stays exactly where they are now, and you and I are having this conversation in another year, am I gonna say the same thing? I don’t know.”
It seems to have begun already as Taiwanese tire company, Maxxis has signed on to become the official tire of the Los Angeles Lakers. Maxxis made the announcement on their website today, and Lakers COO and Senior VP of Business Operations Tim Harris was happy to bring them aboard: We are excited to welcome Maxxis as a new marketing partner of the Los Angeles Lakers for this season. We showcase similar values, including commitment to providing high-quality products and ensuring that our products measure up to the toughest competitors in our respective industries.