Cohan on the other hand strikes me more as the calculating logical owner who sees dollars returned and ROI when he looks at his players. I can only imagine his blood pressure skyrockets every time he sees Adonal Foyle. The equivalent in a fans life would be driving a 1975 AMC Pacer and knowing you can't sell it for what you owe on it, and have 4 years of payments left. Ouch. Cohan, a successful businessman, wealthy but not Mark Cuban, or Larry Ellison wealthy, leverages much of his fortune, takes out loans, and buys the team. Why? Most of what is written about Cohan's motives all lead back to money as being what drives him.
A Brief Chronicle of Cohan criticisms
If money instead of championships, victories, and happy season ticket holders is the yardstick by which we measure Chris Cohan, how is he doing?
After a bleak end to the 90's in franchise value, the Warriors have done considerably better adding over 100 million in value to the franchise over the past 6 years. Warriors franchise value continues to increase YOY although net income was (-) for 2005. The Forbes numbers aren’t out for 2006 yet, but considering the increase in season ticket sales last season, expect the Warriors to be cash flow neutral to positive for last season, even taking into account higher Payroll (Foyle, Fisher). Going into the 06-07 season on the heals of a 15% increase in ticket prices, combined with high renewal rates even after another disappointing season, the Warriors are well positioned to make money.
Cohan's original 1994 final purchase price: 130 Million
1995: By all accounts Cohan overpays for the Warriors since their valuation was around 80 million when he invested 25 million for a 20% stake in the team. He then pays 130 million for the franchise.
1999: Forbes reports a net loss of 7.7 milliion on revenue of 31.8 million, last in the league in attendance. Forbes reports franchise worth 140 millon, or barely more than the 1994 purchase price.
2000: Brutal post lockout year season with average attendance of only 12,418, essentially what they had in 95-96 their last year in the old Oakland arena.
2001: 22% increase in attendance , and one of only 2 sub .500 teams to boast double digit increases, Wizards being the other, due to the Jordan Factor.
2002: 7,000 season ticket holders versus 13k in 1992
2003: Ticket revenues up 7% over 2002 , sponsorships up 10%, TV revenue ahead as well, season ticket renewal rates were in the low 80 % range.
2004: 21% increase in value to 228 million , on 76.1 million in revenue and 8.1 million in net income, before taxes.
2005: 7% increase in value to 243 million , on 81 million in revenue and a net loss of 3.1 million. Losses probably due to higher operating costs, player salaries.
*Incomplete since the Warriors are a Privately owned entity
Most recent franchise valuation 243 million
An 87% increase in 11 years. For those that complain that the increased franchise value alone is why Cohan holds onto the team and keeps costs down, consider the potential increase in value Cohan could have had from investing in the S&P 500 over the same timeframe. If Cohan had simply invested his 130 million in the S&P 500 in 1994, he would be sitting on 320 million instead of a paltry 243 million.
A simple interest investment returning 8% annually over 11 years would have Cohan seeing 303 million. Considering the prime rate was 8.5 % when he bought the team, he most certainly would have been better off financially investing his money almost anywhere else. If Ellison did want to buy the Warriors, it is fair to say he would be willing to overpay, potentially offering a similar deal to the rumored 400 million dollar offer made for the Sonics. An argument could be made that once Cohan figured out he made a bad investment, he had to turn it around to make some money off of it. If this is the case, then why not accept an offer from Ellison, and walk away. Cohan is not demonstrating an "It's all about the Benjamins" behavior pattern.
Regardless, it is hard to make the case that buying the Warriors was a wise investment choice for Cohan. He most likely knew that going in, so it wasn't about the money. This is a man who took a 9 million dollar inheritance and turned it into a 160 million dollar cable company. It is fair to say that in the 12 years he has owned the warriors he could have taken that 130 million dollar investment and done far better than barely doubling it.
If not money then what? All I can think of is ego, and if it's ego it's bad news for Warriors fans. With dollars there are equations, logic, entire industries and professions dealing with making sense of it. You can't rationalize with ego. I would much rather lose $100 than admit I was wrong, and would spend money like water if it would prevent me from failing. So when we hear, "Chris Cohan will sell the Warriors when he has a championship ring for each hand." I believe him.