It is a good time to be a Golden State Warriors fan. 2015 NBA MVP Stephen Curry and the currently undefeated NBA Champion Warriors appear to be on the cusp of a dynasty that could dominate the NBA for the next decade.
This is a marked change for a team that – prior to 2015 – was in a 40-year championship drought. Now, as the No. 1 franchise in the NBA, the Warriors are optimistic and energized for a number of reasons: the “Splash Brothers” are just hitting their stride, the Warriors are moving to a new home in San Francisco, (with a new name as well) in 2018, and a new generation of fans are realizing that California has a legitimate NBA franchise other than the Los Angeles Lakers.
Curry had a remarkable year in 2014. Besides winning the NBA Championship and league MVP honors, Curry also was the top vote-getter for the All-Star Game, where he then won the All-Star Weekend three-point contest. On the weight of the “Splash Brothers,” the team’s value – according to Forbes – has tripled from 2011, from $363 million to $1.3 billion today. This high profile has propelled the team’s merchandise sales.
In June, for example, Curry’s jersey became the best-selling jersey in the league, overtaking long-term sales leader and Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James. The Warriors’ newfound popularity has also extended to team-branded merchandise; Warriors merchandise has become the best-selling in the league, according to Fanatics.com.
Mapping Warriors’ Country
Despite playing in Oakland, the world champions are a Bay Area team. California has the most NBA franchises of any state – besides the Warriors, the state is home to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers, and the Sacramento Kings – meaning that franchise claims to exclusive market territory can be competitive, at best.
As of 2014, most of California, (and the majority of the West,) can be counted as Lakers territory, while the Warriors’ outreach mainly remains limited to the counties immediately surrounding Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley. The 2014-2015 championship and the team’s strong start this year are likely to change this somewhat, but the close proximity of Sacramento means that the fanaticism for the Warriors is somewhat limited to the 16 counties in the Bay Area.
The analysis of Golden State’s merchandise purchased reflects this trend. The most units of merchandise per capita were purchased in near proximity to the team’s Oakland base. The three best-selling areas – San Francisco’s Financial District, the downtown area, and Palo Alto – are all highly affluent areas within 50 miles of the Warriors’ arena and highly invested in the region’s financial and high-tech industries.
Of notice is the fact that merchandising sales drop off significantly in the northeastern portion of the Bay Area. This is in part due to the influence of Sacramento, which is only around 80 miles from Oakland via I-80.
Tracking Where Warriors Fans Live
Typically, for apartment dwellers and for office workers, it is simpler and more convenient to receive personal packages at work. The growth of online purchasing has made workplace personal deliveries a growing trend, despite the fact that many employers consider them a nuisance, as they must commit man hours to the receipt, sorting, and delivery of these packages, as well as managing the possibility of theft. In a recent Swiss Post study, for example, 75 percent of all respondents indicated that they receive a personal package at work at least once or twice a year, and 20 percent admit they receive such a package once or twice a week.
With the delivery of Golden State Warriors merchandise, this is no different. Zip code 94111, which receives 6.01 units of Warriors merchandise per 100 residents, is San Francisco’s Financial District and the Embarcadero – home of AT&T Park and Fisherman’s Wharf. With a residential population of just 3,496, the area is 76 percent renters with a cost of living 151.1 percent of the national average.
Zip code 94105 is Downtown San Francisco. Bordering South Beach and Union Square, the neighborhood – which has a renter population of 49 percent and a cost of living of 140.6 percent of the national average – largely consists of government offices and financial firms. Google, Old Navy, the Gap, Autodesk, and Electronic Arts all have offices and/or headquarters in this area.
Zip code 94304 includes the majority of Palo Alto and small portions of Los Altos Hills and census-designated Stanford. Palo Alto is one of the wealthiest and best-educated communities in California, as it is the home of Hewlett-Packard, VMware, Tesla Motors, Skype, PARC, and IDEO. It is also the incubator of Google, Logitech, PayPal, and Pinterest.
Not all of the top zip codes for Warriors merchandise are business zones. While zip code 94065 is the home of Oracle and Electronic Arts, the zip code encompasses Redwood Shores – one of the most affluent areas in California outside of the greater Los Angeles area. Zip code 94502 – which includes the northwestern portion of Alameda’s Bay Farm Island – is known as much for its housing developments and the Chuck Corica Golf Complex, not to mention the Oakland Raiders headquarters.
Zip code 94547, which makes up most of Hercules, is a bedroom community for San Francisco and Oakland. The community is largely a residential suburb; the city’s largest employer is Bio-Rad Laboratories with over 1,700 employees. This area, mostly consisting of working-class families, suggests that Warriors fans need not be affluent or work for Fortune 500 companies. The only true prerequisite for fanaticism is passion.
While the Warriors’ market is small compared with other clubs’, it is a growing market that strongly believes in its team. The Warriors should continue to be a force to be reckoned with for years to come, which is great news for Warriors merchandise sellers. As seen with the growth of Stephen Curry’s jersey, the league is ready for a new premier team – and for many, the Warriors fill the bill.
Shop now for Golden State Warrior gear on Fanatics.
We looked at Fanatics merchandise sales data for zip codes within the Bay Area, and using the latest U.S. Census population numbers, we determined the number of units shipped to each zip code per 100 residents. We filtered this by looking only at zip codes that had at least 1,000 residents in the 2010 Census.