Joe Lacob

Report: Warriors’ Joe, Kirk Lacob put up millions as e-sports franchise owners

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AP

Report: Warriors’ Joe, Kirk Lacob put up millions as e-sports franchise owners

The Lacob family already has it all in the NBA. Looks like it's time for a new challenge as the Warriors go for their third championship in four seasons. 

Warriors majority owner Joe Lacob and his assistant general manager son Kirk have been accepted into the North American League of Legends Championship Series as the newest e-sports series franchise owners, according to Jacob Wolf of ESPN

Joining the e-sports world as franchise owners of the world-wide game will not come without a large price tag. 

The Lacobs will hand over a $13 million entry fee for the League Championship Series over the next few years. First, they must pay an $8 million fee upront. Not owning an existing franchise in prior League of Legends seasons will cost them $3 million alone. 

This isn't new for the Warriors. Joe Lacob is the third Warriors co-owner to buy an e-sports team in the last 18 months. Peter Gruber is a leader in aXiomatic, an investment group that purchased majority stake in Team Liquid back in July of 2016. Also, minority owner and venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya is a part of a $3 million seed round of funding for e-sports organization Cloud9.

Personal preference: Kings get to host All-Star Game before Warriors

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USATI

Personal preference: Kings get to host All-Star Game before Warriors

The Golden State Warriors, pressing their advantages to the maximum as is their financial wont, have submitted a bid to host an NBA All-Star Game no sooner than 2021.

This is much is known, though. While Michael Jordan is likely to be there, neither Chris Cohan nor his son are likely to join to reprise their special moment from the 2000 game in which Cohan was presenting an award to Jordan at the game, brought his son with him to the floor, and still got booed by the crowd as though he had set fire to Santa Claus in front of Mother Teresa on national TV.

Chris was, you see, not very popular.

But the Warriors’ bid, which will no doubt be approved once the kinks of the new building are sorted out, also flies in the face of Joe Lacob’s old pal Vivek Ranadive, who already has a new building in Sacramento and would like to have his own All-Star Game.

The most noteworthy problem in Sacramento, of course, is that there aren’t enough hotel rooms to satisfy the demand, and the B&B business isn’t so thriving that it can cover the overflow.

But it is also Sacramento, one of the league’s typically more forlorn franchises, and the team hasn’t hosted a game since 1966 – three cities and four buildings ago, when Sacramento was Cincinnati and Golden 1 was the Cincinnati Gardens.

In short, while the Warriors would just be piling on its massive marketing and attraction advantages, Sacramento probably needs the game more. It would at least give Ranadive one less to envy the team he tried to run but couldn’t and has tried to chase but can’t.

And somehow, given Lacob’s relationship with Ranadive and vice versa, a joint venture seems out of the question.

Thus, knowing that this is clearly a wrong-side-of-history argument, I’d prefer (to the extent that I care) that Sacramento get something sooner than Golden State, if only so the league will at least acknowledge that the franchise exists beyond David Stern preventing it from being moved to Seattle.

And if Adam Silver has to sleep at City Hall in a pup tent next to Jerry Brown because he can’t get into the Hyatt Regency, well, I can live with that.

The Warriors' pending luxury tax bills might pinch a good deal more

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USATI

The Warriors' pending luxury tax bills might pinch a good deal more

There is no compelling reason why you should necessarily believe, let alone care about, the exhaustive ESPN story about 14 NBA teams losing money in these flush times (or ten, or nine, depending on what numbers you use).

But at some point the Golden State Warriors might have to do so.

The report is a head-scratcher not because the authors, Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe, don’t know what they’re doing – quite the contrary. They are very good at what they do. But it is because the NBA has never had more money at its disposal, even after all the massive player contracts they have paid out in The Great Money Burn, and has, as owners are wont to do, decided to fight over how all that money is distributed.

The Warriors are among the league’s best earners ($91.9 million profit a year ago, even after paying $42 million in revenue sharing), but if 143 (or 10, or nine) teams are losing money after the $24 billion TV deal that crazed them all, all of a sudden the Oakland economic juggernaut might well find itself with significantly less.

Not enough for you to care, necessarily, but enough that their pending luxury tax bills might pinch a good deal more than they already do, and enough that their new arena turn from loss to profit might be delayed.

The ESPN report is careful to point out that other arena income isn’t factored into these numbers, and the old canard that there are always three sets of books – one for the tax man, one for your partners and the true one – has never been more useful. In short, without knowing the source of documents Lowe and Windhorst received, we cannot educatedly speculate on the motive behind the leak.

The Warriors will be fine no matter whether the league decides to make sure all teams are genuinely profitable every year by recalibrating revenue sharing or tax payments. They have gone from a fringe operation economically to one of the industry leaders (the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knickerbockers are still the king and prince regent of this royal family).

But the only thing that makes billionaires itchier than having “not enough” money is watching one of their partners having what they consider “too much” money. Which is to say, more money than they themselves do. The boardroom battle over that will begin shortly, if it hasn’t already started.

Money’s funny that way. After all, if there’s one last quarter heading toward a sewer grate, there will be 50 well-dressed middle-aged and old men bashing heads in unison trying to grab it before it falls.