Fitz/Lacob/Guber introduce Welts successor: Brandon Schneider
19 years with GSW; “Bay Area kid who grew up a diehard Warriors fan”
Here are notes & quotes from the press conference — billed as a “major business announcement” (I agree, it is) — the Warriors held this afternoon to introduce their new COO, Brandon Schneider, who will replace legendary Hall-of-Famer Rick Welts.
TV play-by-play personality Bob Fitzgerald moderated the media availability, which also included franchise co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.
The only video we will have is clickable atop this article and shows Fitz, Joe, and Peter introducing Brandon, who says he’s a “Bay Area kid who grew up a diehard Warriors fan.” Schneider joined the organization in 2002 in the ticket sales department and worked his way up to Chief Revenue Officer before this promotion.
As I always do for media availability, I took down notes, which are usually for the sole purpose of creating videos and organizing topics for our YouTube channel, which even though we’re approaching 100k subscribers, is still far from what I envision as a vital informational, erudite visual resource for enjoying this great game of basketball and our beloved team (more on this at a later date).
Alas, no additional videos will be uploaded on with this subject matter of GSW corporate, as we know our fans on the channel want to hear more about basketball, from stars like Stephen Curry, and analysis as a reporter on the beat, rather than all the behind-the-scenes business operations stuff.
Plus, any videos I would add at this point would merely be a straight copy (as is the video included above) and I’m not here to just duplicate what will likely be on an official Warriors website or social media account eventually. Btw, you can probably (?) find the entire Q&A on the official GSW Facebook page, as they streamed the Zoom call live there.
But that doesn’t mean there weren’t business mantras and epithets that you could learn from today. Lacob and Guber are two of the greatest minds in business and sports entertainment. And Schneider laid out the strategy going forward for the brand. So, with that, I present to you my notes & quotes from today’s introduction of Schneider as the new GSW COO:
Fitz with the opening remarks, officially announces Schneider as COO.
Now it’s Guber: “We know you’ll lead with your head, but what we really know is you’ll lead from your heart…when we say Strength in Numbers, we meant it.”
Schneider: “Three younger brothers have made me competitive…(joined as a 22-year-old, 19 years, 2002)…As a Bay Area kid who grew up a diehard Warriors fan, this means a ton…we have a better chance of winning the championship now than we did the playoffs (back during 18-year drought)…Operation DubNation…alma mater UCLA…NFTs (NBA TopShot).”
Q&A OFFICIALLY STARTS:
- career: “intellectual curiosity…learned a lot about leadership…not everybody is wired the same…diverse set of employees that we have…leadership is helping everyone fulfill their potential, exceed their potential…I’ve watched Bob Myers and Steve Kerr…creating the culture.”
- to both Brandon and Joe, financial situation? Brandon: “As Peter would say, it’s location-based entertainment…brutally challenging last 13 months…this is a transition…our fans are chomping at the bit…our goal is to make Chase Center the safest venue in the world…test within 48 hours of the game…no one else is doing…getting back to doing what we do best…taken an opportunity to take a step back…things that will carry through even as things get back to normal.”
Fitz - asks Joe to chime in re Chase being long-term goal: “Brandon’s answer was excellent, passed the first test, Brandon…I’m not gonna lie to you, it’s been an incredibly stressful time…are we committed to winning? (the question that people want to know)…both as a business and on the basketball court.”
- Rick Welts relationship: “That’s a tough one to answer. He’s been an incredible mentor for me…he’s the best most respected executive in sports, not just the NBA…our personalities are really different…getting to learn from his style…the sense of calm…idk if he gets stressed…confidence-inducing…deals with issues with the NBA…teams often have frustrations…I watch how he handles everything…he knows the answer before the rest of us but he’s not the first one to speak…let people get there on their own way…give people the leeway to learn from their mistakes…he’s probably mad at me rn because he doesn’t want us talking about him…I cannot thank Rick enough…fortunately I’ve got his cell phone number…will continue to talk to.”
- what sets this organization apart: “I’ll steal one line from Rick…there’s three things…ownership, ownership and ownership and he usually follows that up by saying ‘and we hit the powerball’…how business and basketball work together…we’ve integrated a whole new arm (Chase Center)…having that be a part of our core business is critical…I just got a text from Shaun Livingston and Zaza…basketball side, which we shouldn’t even say because there is no side…it starts with Joe and Peter but it’s also the character of Steve Kerr and Bob Myers…we’re like a 15-second walk farther…Steve Kerr is talking about how he wishes we were even closer…basketball crew wants to be there…part of our secret sauce.”
- initial goals? “Building of Chase Center…I’m gonna steal one of his lines (Guber)…’this is the beginning of the beginning’…there’s always that next opportunity…we’ve actually been closed than we were open…when we opened last year we had injuries (Durant, Klay, Steph)…we’re looking forward to opening Chase Center with the team that we have…what Joe often says to us is Disney started as a theme park…we’re gonna leverage the insights and the creativity of our team…keeping the main thing the main thing…evolve…we will always be looking ahead.”
- Thrive City: “I can see it being a real gathering space.” Encourages Guber to add: “The idea that we’re both a beacon and lightning rod…beacon…real estate investments…digital investments…location-based entertainment is part of our business…adjacent to our physical structure…he has to be multitasking (Brandon)…we have to start over, we have to reignite that…it’s been a year and four months of ‘left off’…we need people to be able to gather…fingers crossed.”
- first to-do on Thrive City? “First on the to-do list is focus on April 23rd…that’s already in progress (Thrive City)…as we plan ahead for the next couple years…it’s gonna be a process…we’ve got the next three months with Rick…think about exactly what does happen July 1st and beyond…strongest leadership team that we’ve had in the last 19 years.”
- where from Bay from, first Warriors game was 8 years old, how was interview process, feeling when you got the job? “Grew up on the Peninsula…Menlo School…I was actually 7 years old…Warriors beat the Nets in four overtimes…it is a dream job for me and I said this to Joe and Peter…I started the job selling tickets…especially growing up a Warriors fan…the process with Joe and Peter…you could say I’ve been on an 18-year interview…you work every day to do the best you can do…I was nervous leading up to it…but once I sat down with them (Joe and Peter) I was not nervous…they’ve both been incredible mentors to me…you and Marty Glick were tag teaming the President’s job…(Joe) has always taken an interest in me…we both pretend I’m not a Giants fan and he’s not the owner of the Dodgers…always looking ahead…my example for Joe…the night of or the day of winning the championship, he’s already looking ahead to next year…when they called me, it was last Wednesday, Joe called me…three minutes later…(he conferenced Peter in)…I was speechless initially…it was just fun listening to them…why they had chosen me…I’m sitting here eating all this up…I had a 1030a meeting…75 people…it’s like 1031a…looking at my computer screen with 75 people…Rick…texting me…my heart’s racing…something I’ll never forget…it’s a dream come true.”
- international brand growth? “Fortunate to be part of the NBA…creating the global brand that we’re all a part of…Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson…I shouldn’t name names because now you gotta keep going…we’ve got more Facebook fans in the Philippines than we do in the United States…first team in the NBA to create a Weibo account, we were definitely the first team to create a TikTok account…opened up opportunities to use…(usually a) 75-mile radius…can now do partnerships internationally.”
END OF Q&A; CLOSING REMARKS:
Fitz - closes with Joe, Peter and Brandon on fans testing: “about the safest building in California…to DubNation.”
Joe: “We spent a year literally working on this…safest venue, and that includes Dodger Stadium…only organization in the world…testing every single person…and we’re paying for it…I want to be safe, we all want to be safe…we’re kind of all creating it on the fly…one other thing, though…it’s all about the people…it’s who you hire and who they hire…how to they work together and how do they collaborate…he’s built a great organization below him (Brandon)…now we’re entering a whole new phase…what we originally set out with this arena…sports, media and technology.”
Fitz: “DubNation is as great a group of people,” intros Peter.
Peter: “We’re in the business of a modern-day campfire…we have to ignite them…diverse people all cheering for the team…for artists…(shops in Thrive)…digitally…state of the heart business…to our brand, to our promise and our premise.”
Fitz: “Brandon, I’ll give you the final word…your childhood team.”
Brandon: “(thanks everyone, refers to Rick ownership mantra even though Joe said people)…the fact that Joe and Peter interviewed other internal candidates…DubNation…create that great experience for our fans…and go Warriors.”
Fitz closes: “let another chapter in Warriors history begin.”