Spurs add Airbnb founder Joe Gebbia as minority shareholder

The Spurs added a unique minority shareholder on Tuesday: Airbnb founder and billionaire Joe Gebbia.

Gebbia tells The Athletic. that he has a new strategic partnership role with the Spurs, joining billionaire Michael Dell, founder of Dell Technologies, and San Francisco-based investment firm Sixth Street as new investors in the Spurs. This continues a further restructuring of the organization under the leadership of Peter J. Holt when he took over in June. assumed the position of managing partner. A new minority ownership group has stepped in for the Spurs, marking a generational change as Holt leads the franchise’s next era.

“I like to be around people who have dedicated their lives to something, their craft. And I remember thinking: one day I want to be the NBA of the business world,” Gebbia said The Athletic.. “I want to be an entrepreneur in the NBA. I’m a big Spurs fan. Big fan of coach Pop (Greg Popovich) and the Spurs have had great success with five championships since 1999. by 2014, legends on the team such as Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, David Robinson, Tim Duncan.

After decades of consistency without much change in the team’s ownership group, the Spurs have slowly attracted new blood, just in time for a new $510 million deal in San Antonio.

Gebbia, 40, was born in Atlanta and grew up a basketball fan, even serving as a point guard for the Hawks. in 2008 he founded Airbnb (airbnb.com) and last year founded the nonprofit Airbnb.org, which allows hosts on the platform to house people in times of crisis. He has also worked throughout the pandemic to find temporary housing for front-line workers and Afghan refugees who will arrive in 2021. sought asylum in the United States.

Gebbia said the Spurs were drawn to the philanthropic and social impact they’ve made over the years, and he believes San Antonio can play a role when he and Kevin Durant helped fund basketball and tennis courts in San Francisco in 2019.

“It’s crazy to think that a 16-year-old kid will one day actually become an investor and part owner of an NBA team,” Gebbia said. “I mean, it was beyond my wildest childhood dreams.”

The Holt family has run the team for over two decades, since first joining the team in 1996. His father, Peter M. Holt, was chairman for 20 years before his then-wife, Julianna Hawn Holt, took over. three years. in 2019 Peter J. Holt took over as Chairman and CEO.

Spurs attracted a new round of investors last summer. Holt says several minority shareholders wanted to sell as they made plans for their future. He saw it as an opportunity to bring in new investors who “could help us take this incredible legacy and make sure it’s a living legacy.” Dell purchased the franchise for 10 percent. Sixth Street occupied 20 percent. Thirteen previous investors in Spurs sold shares to make room for new partners. Each brought new capital to the Spurs and opportunities to modernize the franchise, with the Holt family remaining the largest shareholder.

Change comes as Spurs transition between eras and on the pitch. San Antonio is coming off a two-decade title streak and is building a talented new core around starters Dejounte Murray, Derrick White and Jakob Poeltl, along with prospects Keldon Johnson, Josh Primo and Devin Vassell. Gregg Popovich remains as their Hall of Fame coach, RC Buford as general manager, and Brian Wright, in his third season as general manager and head of basketball operations. Spurs have long been known for their culture and it’s clear that they want to maintain it.

“We emphasize the culture here in San Antonio and the Spurs, so pretty quickly the beats were aligned with Michael Dell, Sixth Street and Joe,” Peter J. Holt said.

The new money and new owners came almost simultaneously as the Spurs began building their training complex. In November, the Spurs broke ground on the 504,000-square-foot mixed-use campus that will house their new facility.

Gebbia is now on board with an NBA franchise after going through the league’s due diligence process, and while he wants to learn in the Spurs organization, he plans to keep an open mind about his chances of becoming NBA property.

(Photo: Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

What are the biggest questions facing Spurs ownership moving forward?

Mike Vorkunov, National Basketball Business Reporter: Spurs are definitely at a transition point. They are building around a new young core and it will be interesting to see where their organization goes as well. Popovich is clearly one of the greatest coaches of all time, but at 72, there’s a chance he’ll decide to do something else in the next few years. With Popovich becoming the head coach and team president, it would mean that the franchise would need to find a new team leader. So over the next half-decade, the ownership group can figure out a number of important questions.

How will Gebbia’s background help him in this role for Spurs?

Vorkunov: You’d think Gebbia could provide some of the insight that helped him become a successful founder and entrepreneur. It will also depend on how much input it gets. As a minority participant, it’s unclear what his voice and role will be in the group, which is still led by Holt, whose family has run the team for decades. It will pay off when the Spurs bring in this new group of equity owners, who will bring new capital and new people to the organization at the ownership level.

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