Golden State Warriors President & COO Brandon Schneider joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss NBA viewership reaching a new high and the team’s NFT collection for the 2022 playoffs.
– Well, the NBA playoffs are in full swing, and that means a chance at another ring for Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. The team recently launched a playoff NFT collection to mark the start of the postseason. Joining us now to discuss all things Warriors, we’ve got President and COO Brandon Schneider.
Brandon, we’re going to get to the NFT collection in just a bit. Let’s talk about the playoffs. The first weekend, seeing really strong ratings– what do you think is driving the eyes to these games?
BRANDON SCHNEIDER: The people want to see the Warriors. No, I think we’ve been fortunate. I think– we’ve been a successful team, obviously. We were the first team to go to the finals five years in a row since the Celtics in 1966.
So there’s been a lot of recent success, and then I think it’s also the style of play. I think people really gravitate to Stephan Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and now Jordan Poole, at 22 years old, has been a rising star. And then the other thing is I think they see the energy at Chase Center.
When you’re watching on TV– and I wouldn’t know, because I’m there– but what people tell me is you can feel that energy on your TV. It just makes it feel like the huge event that it is. I think all those things combined create the ratings scenario that you’re describing.
– Yeah, Brandon. I wanted to ask you just about riding the hype here. I understand that the Warriors are engaging in an NFT offering with some of the players and some of the moments in Warriors history. Tell us a little bit more about that offering and also how you’re pegging that to this 2022 playoffs– that first round against the Nuggets.
BRANDON SCHNEIDER: We’re really excited about this second offering. So we were the first sports team to do an NFT drop just about a year ago. It’s still the highest grossing, or most successful, drop that any team in sports has done.
So we’ve been working hard to kind of figure out, what do we do to come back? Because we want to make sure we’re kind of pushing the envelope. So we are really closely following the NFT community, the crypto community, and so what we came up with– we’re actually the first sports team ever to do a responsive NFT drop.
For those that don’t know what that means, it means that the utility of the NFTs is tied to the performance of the team. We did 3,000 NFTs. When you minted your NFT, there was one of 12 different NFTs that you could get. You didn’t know which one you were getting. Varying levels of rarity and varying levels of utility.
Then, as the Warriors advance, every time we win a playoff series, every single NFT holder gets another NFT, and then some select holders, depending on which NFT that you minted, receive physical goods, like autographed jerseys, price packs, things like that. The idea was to make this fun. We wanted to create something so that our fans win as the basketball team wins.
– Brandon I’m going to– this– I’m going to say it’s a cynical take to bring on more Warriors fans, but I say that as a disgruntled Laker fan at the moment. What has been the buy in? I mean, what kind of interests have you generated through this latest NFT collection?
BRANDON SCHNEIDER: It’s been great. So we now– since this happened on Friday, we now have the two highest grossing, most successful NFT drops in sports. I think it’s a testament to our fans. I think we’ve created offerings that were interesting to people and they saw the value, obviously, but I think we wanted to embrace, again, that NFT community– people that are really into NFTs– but we also wanted to create an offering that our fans that are big fans and maybe curious about NFTs kind of introduce them as an entree into NFTs, which was really important to us.
The other thing that I think has helped, Akiko, is we’ve partnered with FTX. Some of these platforms, some of these NFT platforms, you have to have a MetaMask wallet, and you have to use Ethereum or Solana or Cardano or other specific types of crypto, which is great for the crypto NFT community, but for a lot of our fans that are dipping their toe in this water and learning, it’s a barrier to entry. So with FTX, you can use any type of cryptocurrency– any of the ones I named, and a lot of other ones– but you can also use your credit card. So I think that that opened up accessibility to a larger percentage of our fans, because we think we’re in the very, very early days of NFTs, Web3, the metaverse. So we think we can play a role in helping to educate our fans while making it really, really fun for them.
– Brandon, just to take a step back to the way that this NFT works– again, it upgrades as the team advances deeper into the playoffs. And I hope they do. I hope they meet my Nets in the finals. I think they– I think they will. But I want to ask you, what happens if they lose? What happens to the NFT?
BRANDON SCHNEIDER: Well, we won the first two games of the first series, so we’re on a positive track, Brian. But it’s a good point. So I think when we looked at it– the value of the initial purchase, that’s what you’re buying. So you’re paying– and these minted at $499.99. They’re scarce. There’s only 3,000 of them. We have 60 million social media followers globally, just to give you a sense of the scale of the Warriors brand.
There was a lot of demand for these things. So we think that the initial offering has a ton of value. And then the way we would view it, and we hope that our fans and NFT holders view it, is as we advance, that’s just additional sort of icing on the cake. So if we win the first round, you get another NFT. We win the second round, you get another one. Various physical goods. So we think those are just extra benefits as the Warriors advance.
– Brandon, I noticed you didn’t engage in Brian’s question about the Nets advancing. You’re in the Western conference. Obviously, you think the Warriors are going to go all the way there. Who would you want to face in the East?
BRANDON SCHNEIDER: Akiko, I’ve been doing this for a long time. This is my 20th season with the Warriors, and as I mentioned, went through five finals runs in a row. I’ve learned something very simple.
We have fans asking us all the time– when I sit at the games, asking me, who do you want to play in the first round, Denver or Utah? Who do you want to play in the second round, Phoenix or Memphis?
And my response is really simple. Careful what you wish for. These are all very good teams.
So I think as we advance, we just hope– we’re focused on ourselves. We’re excited to have Steph Curry healthy. We’ve got our full team, aside from James Wiseman, who unfortunately is out for the year. But our other 14 guys are healthy for the first time all season. So we feel like we’re really clicking and coming together at the right time. So that’s our focus.
Now, Brian, I will say– I will comment on your comment– I think playing the Nets for obvious reasons would be fun. There’s obviously been a lot of hype around their team throughout the year. Kevin Durant had three incredible years playing for the Warriors. Like, Warriors fans love Kevin Durant. So obviously, if we were fortunate enough to make it to the finals, and the opponent was the Brooklyn Nets, I think that would be incredible.
– Well, hey, Brandon, I’ll see you at the Barclays Center in a few weeks. How about that? How about that? Brandon Schneider.
BRANDON SCHNEIDER: I’ll see you at the Chase Center too.
– All right. Hey, coast to coast. Coast to coast. Brad Schneider, Warriors president and CEO. Thanks again for stopping by. Good luck in the playoffs.