Apr 24, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Co-founder and Oracle chief executive officer Larry Ellison sits court side before game three of the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs between the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
4. Oprah Winfrey, David Geffen, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison
Now we’re talking about a serious power group with a ton of money behind them. Between the three main partners, this group, which I’ll name Phantom of the Oprah, has a combined net worth of around $58.4 Billion. I don’t think $1.3-1.5 B is going to hurt any of their wallets too much.
Geffen tried to purchase the Clippers from Sterling back in 2010, while Ellison, the eccentric Oracle CEO who also runs the America Cup, tried to purchase the Golden State Warriors in 2010, though he fell short despite having the highest bid.
Perhaps Geffen and Ellison now feel it is their destiny to own an NBA franchise and that this is the best opportunity to acquire a team. Having both failed to acquire a team before, they may feel motivated to overpay for the Clippers and blow everyone else out of the water, much like the Guggenheim Baseball Partners did when they bid on the Dodgers two years ago.
Lastly, having Oprah aboard as a figure head would be fantastic for the league. There is no doubt that Oprah is one of the most intelligent people in the business world and would be a great asset to the league, especially for bringing in female fans.
If this group can pony up the right amount, they may be a real contender for the Clippers. However, I have my concerns about having “too many cooks in the kitchen”. While Ellison is certainly the biggest backer financially, it’s not like Geffen and Oprah don’t have big money of their own. If egos begin to get involved, and Ellison, Geffen, and Winfrey all have them, this could be a potential disaster. I don’t foresee that, but it has to be a legitimate concern for the NBA.