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Are Larry Ellison, San Francisco next for Warriors?

Mar 22, 2010, 3:51 PM EST

Larry Ellison.

Just had to get that out there. If you are mentioning the announcement that the Golden State Warriors are for sale and potential next owners — not to mention what that will mean for the franchise —  you have to start with Ellison. Because he’s said he’s interested and he’s ridiculously rich. Think about it this way, the Blazers are owned by Microsoft’s Paul Allen, who Forbes estimates is worth about $13.5 billion, the Nets have Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov coming in worth about $13.4 billion.

Larry Ellison is worth more than them. Combined. Try $28 billion. If he really wants to buy the Warriors — or the entire NBA — nobody is outbidding him.

But there are a number of other bidders for the Warriors, as Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News breaks down. The one name he throws out is Mark Mastrov, the founder of 24 Hour Fitness.

Kawakami says all of these new bidders have one thing in common, wanting to move the team to San Francisco.

According to my sources, almost all of the major parties interested in the Warriors are looking to possibly move the team to San Francisco, in a newly built (privately financed) arena in Giants’ parking lot adjacent to AT&T Park.

That includes Ellison, I’m told, though I believe he’d want to own the Warriors wherever they play-his company’s name, after all, is on the current arena.

With a bigger sponsorship base and a new luxury downtown arena, the Warriors would almost certainly have a higher revenue stream if they were located in San Francisco.

I’ve heard that the Giants could be involved in several of these forming groups, either as a background partner (remember, they’re also minority owners of Comcast Bay Area) or larger player in the purchase.

The financial model is one you’re seeing in more and more cities — build two arenas near each other (or an arena and a second major concert/event venue) and use the foot traffic those drive to sell retail, restaurant and even housing space nearby. Putting a new home for the Warriors near AT&T Park fits that bill.

Ellison, by the way, could probably afford to build a new privately financed arena with the money that falls between the seat cushions in his couch.

Who knows what the team will look like by the time it gets there, or is sold. Expect that Don Nelson will be gone, because any new owner will be sane. But name players like Monta Ellis or Andris Biedrins (although moving the latter will be hard with Isiah Thomas out of the league, nobody sane is taking on that contract). The team makeup could take a hit.

But people in the Bay Area will make that sacrifice to get a new owner. They’d pretty much sacrifice Joe Barry Carroll to the gods if they thought this would speed the process along.

  1. djmelvis - Mar 22, 2010 at 6:57 PM

    “They’d pretty much sacrifice Joe Barry Carroll to the gods if they thought this would speed the process along.”
    Get real. W’s fans would sacrifice Joe Barely Cares for a pizza and a 6-pack. Heck, they’d do it just to forget the W’s traded Robert Parish & (the draft pick that became) Kevin McHale.

  2. Larry - Mar 22, 2010 at 8:11 PM

    What’s happening in the NBA is that if you are not a Billionaire you are a broke pig. Multi-Millionaire owners get out. About half of the owners are billionaires. It’s going to be hard to convince the players to take major pay cuts in the new CBA (2011) when the teams are owned by many of the world’s richest men, despite losing what David Stern says is 400 Million dollars the past year. That’s about 13 M a team. The players will feel real sorry for these broke owners.

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