Tag: Vivek Ranadivé


Sacramento approves new Kings arena in final vote


Years and even decades of struggles came to an end on Tuesday, when the Sacramento City Council voted 7-2 to approve a new Entertainment and Sports Center that the Kings will call home as soon as the 2016 season. This is the final vote on the arena and demolition of a failed mall at the new arena site in Sacramento’s downtown will commence immediately.

Tuesday’s vote was marked by all-day celebrations including appearances by owner Vivek Ranadive, point guard Isaiah Thomas, and a host of local figures that were instrumental in keeping the team in town.

Sacramento had tried for years to come to an agreement on an arena with the intransigent Maloof family, who lost the means to own an NBA team and desperately sought to relocate as a solution to their financial woes.

The team was eventually sold to Ranadive after Seattle billionaires Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer tried to cut a quick deal with the Maloofs, which the league rejected because of its preference to keep the team in Sacramento. The Maloofs begrudgingly sold the team to Ranadive after it was clear that they had no other choice.

Kings fans have dealt with relocation threats for many years and their grassroots efforts to keep the team were well-documented. Their local politicians and business leaders made a concerted effort to keep the team in town. That support was the difference between keeping the team and suffering the fate of other cities like Seattle that did not want to play ball on the issue of public funding for state-of-the-art arenas.

While the topic of public funding for arenas is controversial, what isn’t in doubt is that Sacramento put its time and money on the line and the city deserves tremendous credit for keeping its team. Tuesday’s vote leaves just one last step in a long journey – opening night.

Kings offer challenge after ESPN ranks the franchise worst in major sports


ESPN caused a stink in Sacramento recently when ESPN the Magazine released its franchise rankings across the four major sports.

The cover contains the headline, “#1: The Memphis Grizzlies are the best franchise in sports” followed by “No. 122: The Sacramento Kings are not.”

While this rating could have been somewhat explainable if the hapless Maloof family still owned the team, the firepower and momentum behind new ownership led by Vivek Ranadive — the group that successfully fought to keep the Kings in Sacramento and get a new stadium built — should have moved the franchise many, many spots up that list.

ESPN released a press release explaining their rationale:

“Every year, ESPN The Magazine compiles the results of fan surveys and financial analysis to determine which teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL offer the greatest rewards for all the emotion, money and time that fans invest in them. … In all, 122 teams from the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball were ranked in order, based on a weighted average of scores in eight areas ranging from the quantitative to the emotionally subjective:

• Fan relations (25.2%)
• Affordability (17.4%)
• “Bang for the buck” (16.8%)
• Stadium experience (12.4%)
• Players (11.30%)
• Ownership (10.2%)
• Title track (3.6%)
• Coaching (3.1%)”

The Sac Bee’s Jason Jones reported that the rankings were “based off last season’s ownership, coaching, etc.”

That makes ESPN’s decision not to adjust those rankings for easily predictable improvements a curious one.

Fast forward to Saturday night, the Kings issued their own press release challenging ESPN.  The team released advertisements saying, “Hey ESPN. Nice Airball. New Era. New Swagger. The Best Fans Await You. 11.15.13.”

The messaging references the Nov. 15 nationally televised home game between the Kings and the Detroit Pistons on ESPN.

“Under Vivek’s leadership, there is a lot happening in Sacramento: a new ambition, new investments in talent and arena infrastructure, and a new commitment to our wonderful community,” said Kings President and Chief Operating Officer Chris Granger. “We have the best fans in sports and we will work tirelessly until we give them the best franchise in the world.”

“We love ESPN, but think they could have given us the benefit of foresight in their rankings,” continued Granger. “They know what we have going here. And, if they don’t, we’re going to show them when they visit us on November 15.”

As we’ve seen when Kings fans rallied in unprecedented ways to save their team, ESPN may have a hard time finding a crowd shot representative of the worst franchise in sports.

Report: Hall of Famer Chris Mullin joining Kings’ front office

Chris Mullin hall of fame

Here is another tie between Golden State and the new ownership of the Sacramento Kings.

Sacramento’s new owner Vivek Ranadive and been a minority owner with the Warriors, and with him he brought over coach Mike Malone. Now they are close to bringing in a former Warriors’ GM.

Hall of Famer Chris Mullin will join the Kings, reports Marc Stein at ESPN.

Sources say that Mullin has been recruited by the Kings to expand upon his previous senior advisory role in support of new general manager Pete D’Alessandro and majority owner Vivek Ranadive.

D’Alessandro got his start in an NBA front office with the Warriors under Mullin, and it was Mullin who recommended that Ranadive hire D’Alessandro as GM.

This should work out well as the two have a relationship in the past. Plus, another voice, another set of eyes in a front office can be a good thing.

Mullin is a Dream Team and Hall of Fame player who also has worked in NBA front offices. He was the Warriors guy under the former owner Chris Cohen until he lost a power struggle with Don Nelson. Since then he has worked for ESPN as an analyst.

Report: New Kings owner eyes Mike Malone as coach

Mike Malone Warriors

Golden State’s Mike Malone has been in the group with Brian Shaw and Mike Budenholzer the past few years — top assistant coaches that get interviews but have yet to land in the big chair.

That could be about to change for Malone — it’s a good thing when the owner wants you.

And the new owner of the Kings wants him, reports Ric Bucher of CSNBayArea.com on Sulia.

Warriors owner Joe Lacob used what he learned as a Celtics’ minority partner to shape his new team. Vivek Ranadive, former Warriors minority owner and now presumptive Kings primary owner, apparently is doing the same, beginning with putting Warriors assistant coach Mike Malone on his list of candidates to be the Kings’ next head coach, a source said.

Malone also is said to be in the mix for the Los Angeles Clippers job, according to ESPNLosAngeles.com. Why? Because Chris Paul likes him, of course. Malone was the lead assistant for Monty Williams in New Orleans Chris Paul’s last year there and he really liked playing for him.

But it will come down to owners, which may give the Kings an advantage. Clippers owner Donald Sterling is personally involved in the coaching search for his team (he hired Vinny Del Negro after being charmed by him even though management wanted someone else). He realizes the Clippers are on the verge of contention and while maybe the untested Malone can get them there he seems to be thinking veteran coach (think Nate McMillan).

In the Kings case, the owner knows and apparently likes Malone. The Kings have some potential — if you can get the best out of DeMarcus Cousins nightly — but that is a project where Malone can learn some on the job because the team is rebuilding still. Don’t be shocked if other names like Brian Shaw come into the mix in Sacramento as Ranadive tries to replicate the kind of turnaround in Sacramento that Lacob had with Golden State.

Technology and the future of attending an NBA game

Vivek ranadive 2

NBA teams are struggling to figure out how to fit modern technology into the live NBA experience. How we get information and share our experiences is changing with technology, and teams are trying to figure out how to keep up.

Mark Cuban in Dallas says he wants to eliminate the “look down” moments, so his team is not texting stats and information to season ticket holders during a game, something that has them looking down and playing with their smart phones and not soaking up the live experience.

But other teams may go the other way — and find a way to make it work for their business model.

Enter Vivek Ranadivé. He is the brains behind Tibico, a $4 billion software company that tries to take the mountains of data out there, sort through it for companies and help them get the right information to the right place at the right time. And they’re good at it.

Ranadivé is also a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors. He is profiled in this month’s Esquire Magazine and talks about how the Warriors could blaze the trail for NBA and other sports on how to use the information they gather.

Ranadivé believes the Warriors can be a model of how an organization can revolutionize its operations through the use of real-time data. His vision goes roughly like this:

When a ticket holder arrives at Oracle Arena for a game, he could flash a bar-coded pass to enter the parking garage, sending a signal that he has arrived and allowing him quick and easy entry to the game. The computer system would know that at last week’s game, he bought two youth jerseys. It would also know that there’s a surplus of youth hats at the team store at the moment, so it could send him a text message offering a 20 percent discount on hats. When he’s in his seat, he’d be able to watch instant replays and other exclusive content on his phone. At the end of the third quarter, when the computer system showed that the concession stand near his seats had too many hot dogs, it could send him a buy-one-get-one-free offer — because it also knows that he sometimes buys hot dogs at games.

The right information to the right people at the right time in the right context. (Fans creeped out by this could opt out.)

It’s an interesting vision. One not for everyone (it may play better in San Francisco than Oklahoma city), but for teams it is the kind of thing that could radically alter their business.