Perhaps you’re one of those who think that the tech billionaires of the world already have enough and shouldn’t be playing around with a sports team. You’ll find many who probably think that, even if there’s irony in the revenge of the nerds scenario and the supposed lack of interest of sports in high school. In reality, plenty of tech nerds were probably more interested in sports during high school and college than pop culture knows. If nothing else, they were studying the economics of major league teams to see how much of a cash cow they could potentially be.
If you think former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as new L.A. Clippers owner was one of those nerds, your guess is as good as mine. Just because you work for Microsoft doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the complete picture of a nerd. While Bill Gates and Paul Allen once fit those personas with the glasses, unwashed hair, and computer revolution era clothing, they’re not thought of as being nerds now with their broadening interests. It’s Paul Allen who now becomes the model to follow if more tech gurus decide to get into the sports team business.
The Value of Paul Allen as Owner of the Blazers, Seahawks, and Sounders
Ever since Paul Allen bought the Portland Trail Blazers in 1988, he’s added continual profit to the entire franchise, all thanks to Allen’s large pockets. He not only took the Blazers back to the finals twice in 1990 and 1992, he also helped build a new arena in Portland that was double the size of the old Memorial Coliseum. The Rose Garden Arena has been a showplace since the 1990s, and it still is despite being purchased by an insurance company, hence the Moda Center.
Outside of some seemingly intrusive acquisitions, the Blazers have become one of the most profitable teams in the NBA. He’s done the same for a major league football team with the Seattle Seahawks that’s he’s owned since 1997. With the Seahawks winning the Super Bowl this year, it’s probably going to become one of the most profitable and most-watched football teams in the NFL through the rest of the decade. An improved Blazers team almost gave thoughts of the same thing happening, despite losing in the second round of the playoffs to San Antonio.
And let’s not forget that Allen also owns the Seattle Sounders FC, a major league soccer team. With continual sellouts of games and other celebrities in co-ownership, it’s another major franchise he’s handling with aplomb.
When you remember that Allen also owns Ticketmaster, it might make you bristle to think that he’s so successful at owning sports teams. Nevertheless, he’s proven he can run a sports team even better than he did when co-owning Microsoft. Through smart business acquisitions and never skimping on quality when it comes to treating fans right, Allen is someone Ballmer no doubt looks up to. If Ballmer applies the same Allen methods to the Clippers, it’s probably going to be in good hands.
Plus, with tech gurus suddenly taking on major acquisitions, are we about to see tech companies make a play for more major purchases in the future?
Tech Companies Investing in Movies
You may not have known that those running major companies are also investing in independent film recently. Take for example, Joe Newcomb, who became wealthy as a Texas chemical trader and who had enough money to invest in the movie “Dallas Buyers Club” last year. Even the daughter of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison helped fund “American Hustle” and “Her.”
It’s an example of unexpected outside companies starting to invest in things that we never thought would even cross their way. When it comes to entertainment and sports teams, though, both are perpetual moneymakers that never really have slowdowns. In the field of movies, many are investing because they know ancillary rights will mean big checks coming in down the road if anything else has economic slowdowns.
As Paul Allen proved, investing a healthy amount of money to assure quality will almost always pay back, particularly with a sports team. You have to think of the fans when it comes to owning a sports team and keeping them inspired through every means possible. The L.A. Clippers have to hope the occasionally isolated world of Microsoft didn’t make Steve Ballmer susceptible to not understanding what the public wants.
At least having Donald Sterling gone will be a good start in earning the public’s trust.