Golden State Warriors Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Cabalquinto discussed the necessity of community involvement and her career move from entertainment to sports at a Berkeley Forum event Thursday night.
Cabalquinto also spoke about the financial logistics of moving from Oakland before the 2019-20 season and building the first 100 percent privately financed arena in San Francisco.
Cabalquinto was the eighth speaker at the Berkeley Forum, a nonpartisan student run organization, out of the 16-person lineup this semester. Her appearance was co-sponsored by the Sports Analytics Group at Berkeley. There were about 80 people in the audience in a classroom in Barrows Hall.
“We’re sort of living this sports moment, you know?” Cabalquinto said to the crowd. “This doesn’t happen all of the time.”
Cabalquinto said it is important for an organization to recognize that its success can be just a fleeting moment, and realize that a team needs to monetize its success so things can run when the team is not as strong.
Cabalquinto said in her speech that she used to work in finance for the entertainment industry before becoming the Warriors’ CFO in 2013. She told the audience that the Warriors’ owners looked for people from diverse backgrounds, and she was hired to bring something new to the table.
“What is basketball but a live production?” Cabalquinto said to the crowd. “It’s like reality TV, right?”
She began the discussion on basketball by asking the audience members if they knew why her favorite numbers are 7, 11 and 35. An audience member immediately called out that those were the draft numbers for Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, respectively.
Throughout her talk, Cabalquinto emphasized the importance of maintaining goodwill with the community. It is the best way to ensure support when the team is not playing well, Cabalquinto said. She mentioned the Warriors Community Foundation and its focus on education and supporting schools in the Bay Area.
“We are the Bay’s team,” said Cabalquinto in a Q&A session. “We have no plans to abandon our fan base here (in the East Bay).”
When discussing the new arena, Cabalquinto pointed out that from a financial standpoint, it is better to own real estate. The arena in San Francisco, the two surrounding office towers and 100,000 square feet of retail — all of which are still being built — would be theirs. Right now, the Warriors only rent.
Campus freshman Rishabh Parekh said the event was a great opportunity for students to be in a small classroom with a high-ranking member of a local sports organization.
“I am a really big sports fan and NBA fan,” Parekh said. “It was like a dream. (The event) has inspired me to find out more about the finances of sports teams.”