It’s official. The Golden State Warriors are NBA’s Franchise Team of the Decade. This is per Sports Business Journal, which just bestowed the title on the basketball team after evaluating franchises in all major sports over the past ten years. Given the team’s combined performance over the period, the award shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.
Why Warriors are NBA Team of Decade
In the past decade, the Warriors have won three national championships and have appeared in the NBA Finals five consecutive times. The last time a team went the distance so many times was in 1957 when the Boston Celtics finished a five-year appearance streak. The two teams are also tied for the best six-season total record with 373 wins and 119 losses.
The Warriors also have an impressive 478-262 overall record since November 2010, which certainly shows why they are the team of the decade. That was when the team was purchased by its new owners, Mandalay Entertainment Group CEO Peter Gruber and Kleiner Perkins venture capital firm partner Joe Lacob. The two paid $450 million to buy the Dubs from Chris Cohan, founder and CEO of the now defunct Sonic Communications cable TV company. At the time, it was the highest amount paid for any NBA team, and well above the $130 million Cohan had paid.
Behind the scenes, the team is just as successful. It has a season ticket waiting list of more than 40,000 and leads the league in revenue, an achievement it has maintained for the past three years. Through corporate partnerships and other programs, it has increased its revenue 1,000% over the past decade.
Warriors President On Award
When the award was announced, President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Weltz didn’t waste time acknowledging the honor. He told CNBC, “It’s a huge recognition for all the work that people have put into this organization this decade,” adding, “We went from being a team that when they were ready to play expected to lose, to a team that believed they had first had a chance to win and then expected to win. That’s a gigantic shift in the culture of the Warriors.”
Weltz joined the franchise in 2011. Since then, he has been instrumental to the team’s growth as a business, overseeing the launch of the first, and still only, privately-funded sports arena in the country, Chase Center in San Francisco.
The success of the organization certainly hasn’t been due only to Weltz’s actions. He was quick to point out that former head coach Mark Jackson played a big role in turning the team around and setting the foundation upon which current coach Steve Kerr was able to build. He also threw praise at Stephen Curry, the team’s star guard and most recognizable figure. Curry is a six-time All-Star and a two-time MVP, and is halfway through a contract that is the second-highest in the history of the league. He signed a five-year contract with the Warriors in 2017 worth $201 million, $5 million under that of Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets.
Weltz added, “When your best player is not only the athlete and talent that he is, but also the person that he is, you’ve got a heck of a head start in trying to create something special.”
The Warriors have come a long way to become the NBA Team of the Decade, completing removing any semblance to their former selves. The team is now reportedly worth about $3.5 billion, according to Forbes, making it the third-most-valuable team in the league, as well as the tenth-most-valuable sports team across the entire global sports industry.
This isn’t the first time that Sports Business Journal has shown the Warriors some praise. It also chose them as the Team of the Year in both 2014 and 2016. Weltz adds, “We are truly humbled to be recognized with this prestigious honor by the Sports Business Journal, especially when you consider the number of outstanding organizations across all sports. The past decade has provided our fans, business partners and all constituents with many incredible memories.”