Per "a source with knowledge of the terms," venture capitalist Mark Stevens purchased a share of the Warriors at a price point valuing the entire franchise at a clean $800 mil, ESPN's Darren Rovell reports. That's a lot of dough by any measure, but it's all the more eye-popping in light of what Golden State was supposedly going for earlier this year. Forbes calculated the team to be worth $555 million in January, which ranked it five spots behind the $800 Chicago Bulls.
Forbes' estimate actually sounded pretty good, given that the group led by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber originally purchased the club for just $450 million in 2010.
That's some kind of inflation.
The equity interests Stevens acquired previously belonged to Vivek Ranadive, who bolted the Bay Area to join an investment group paying a record $550 million for a 72 percent stake in the Sacramento Kings and their existing arena in May. Were one to speculate about why Stevens paid such a premium for Ranadive's old stake in Golden State, it may have something to do with the scarcity of opportunities to get in on up-and-coming teams like the Warriors. Buying into the NBA often means accepting humbler beginnings—like the Kings.
It also had something to do with where the Warriors are going from here according to Stevens himself (via NBA.com)
This is an incredible opportunity for me. Under the guidance of Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, the Warriors have established themselves as a top flight organization in a very short time. The future of this team and franchise is unbelievably promising and I’m looking forward to contributing my part to help us achieve our goals.
That "unbelievably promising" future is as much a function of the Warriors' plans for a new arena (in San Francisco) as its talented young roster. From that perspective, Stevens himself will add value to this operation as well. He knows the community, and he knows how to make money. Co-executive chairman Joe Lacob appreciates the help (also from NBA.com):
We’re extremely excited about the addition of Mark to our ownership group. He brings an incredible track record of success in the business world, primarily as a venture capitalist in the Bay Area, and his expertise on many levels will certainly aid us in our quest to become a World Class organization. We’ve managed to take a step closer to that goal today with Mark’s arrival.
Fans don't see their owners in action all that often, but they're essentially the brains behind the brains of the operation—the ones ensuring a franchise remains financially sustainable. Those costs have become paralyzing for some front offices on account of the steep luxury taxes ushered in by the NBA's most recent collective bargaining agreement.
The way things are looking in Golden State, money is of no consequence. Not even $800 million of it.