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Steve Ballmer says even at $2 billion Clippers “perfectly decent investment”

Aug 19, 2014, 1:10 PM EST

Steve Ballmer has been consistent when asked about spending $2 billion on an NBA team — he thinks it’s a good investment. He admits he paid a Los Angeles beachfront price for the Clippers, but he’s quick to tell you that at least the team has a good income stream and turns a profit. Which is more than most tech companies he’s invested in.

He echoed that again Tuesday morning, saying it was a “perfectly decent investment.”

NBC’s own Mike Florio stepped in to host the Dan Patrick radio show on Tuesday and interviewed Ballmer, talking about his not-exactly-subtle rally and the price of owning an NBA team, as well as his future plans with the Clippers. Which if you’re a Clippers fan you have to like because he plans to stay out of the basketball operations side.

  1. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 19, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    The only thing cooler than being a billionaire is owning an NBA team.

  2. chawbacon14 - Aug 19, 2014 at 1:34 PM

    Why did he not buy the Sonics in 2006, or even in 2008 before the team left Seattle ?

    Even for half of 2 billion, he could’ve solved all of Seattle’s problems. He could’ve bought the Soncs for 350 million.

    For 50 million, he buys out the terrible lease with the city, which paid off the KeyArena 1995 construction bonds.

    And he could’ve built a new arena for 500 million.

    If he had made that offer, there is no way the NBA approves Clay Bennett’s request to move the team to OKC and Bennett is left to either own the team in Seattle or sell to Ballmer.

    This is very puzzling, because local wealth in Seattle wanted nothing to do with buying the team from Howard Schultz, which tells me, they knew something we all did not know. Maybe Seattle’s problems with the NBA were deeper than just an arena issue.

    • k3nn3k - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      Probably because he was still heavily involved and employed by Microsoft back in 2006/2008. He only left this year. Now that he has some time on his hands, why not buy a team of a sport that you love. I would.

      • chawbacon14 - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:34 PM

        He kicked the tires on the deal in 2008, when there was a discussion of a 250 million redo of KeyArena. I forgot the details, but he was looking at the team then, just before it left Seattle.

        NBA was not going to accept another rennovation of KeyArena, so Bennett still held the better hand.

        If Ballmer had offered a new arena, he trumps Bennett. But Ballmer just spoke to the redo of the old , too small, KeyArena.

  3. azarkhan - Aug 19, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    At $2 billion dollars the Clippers are laughably overpriced, but that is just about the right amount for Steve Ballmer’s ego.

    • slowclyde86 - Aug 19, 2014 at 2:16 PM

      Maybe, maybe not. If I had to bet, however, I would put my money on the world-class financial analysts over some dude anonymously posting on the internet. That may just be me, though.

      • mattness11 - Oct 26, 2014 at 10:37 AM

        Good thing those world-class financial analysts are the VERY ONES who say the Clippers are laughably overpriced!

  4. hopelessinseattle - Aug 19, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    Well, I don’t know what sort of profit the Clipper’s make, but based on estimated value of other franchises you way overpaid Mr. Ballmer. But then you had a history of doing that while CEO of Microsoft….still if anybody can shell about 2 B for anything, who am I to criticize. I can barely afford a ticket to a single game.

  5. hopelessinseattle - Aug 19, 2014 at 3:12 PM

    Well, I don’t know what sort of profit the Clipper’s make, but based on estimated value of other franchises you way overpaid Mr. Ballmer. But then you had a history of doing that while CEO of Microsoft….still if anybody can shell out 2 B for anything, who am I to criticize. I can barely afford a ticket to a single game.

  6. sportsnut101 - Aug 19, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    He overpaid
    Def
    Only way u turn a profit is if the tv deal is for 2.1billion lol
    U want to be out the shadow of lakers
    Then build ur own arena

    • Kurt Helin - Aug 19, 2014 at 9:57 PM

      For the record, the Lakers did not build Staples. It was constructed by the Kings owners AEG (who on a percentage of the Lakers). The reason Staples was built was to be a foot traffic driving anchor for the LA Live development and residential units in Downtown. The Lakers being a good draw helped, but they did not build it.

  7. myhawks1976 - Aug 19, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Economics lesson.

    Value of any item is what someone would pay for them. 2 billion WAS the value of the Clippers. Cause he was willing to pay it. The real question… .what is the value of the clippers NOW?

    • chawbacon14 - Aug 19, 2014 at 7:56 PM

      I would guess that Ballmer is under water with this investment.

      But he does not care. Franchise valuations only matter to an owner who wants to sell.

  8. thundercocck - Aug 19, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    He’ll break even when the new TV deal gets done in 2 years

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