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New-look Clippers considering mascot, weighing options for future of local broadcasts




Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is introduced to the crowd during a fan appreciation event at the Staples Center
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is introduced to the crowd during a fan appreciation event at the Staples Center
Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

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The times they are a-changin’ for Los Angeles basketball.

The Lakers are coming off their worst season in franchise history and will have to earn back their reputation as top dogs on the Staples Center court. Meanwhile, the Clippers have a new owner (who may be lacking in hair but certainly not in dance moves), a new logo (which released to…mixed reviews), and now it appears they are considering adding a team mascot.

The L.A. Times reported this week that the team was in the “planning stages” of the process, but didn’t indicate what the mascot or its name might be. Clippers beat writer Broderick Turner says team brass have discussed names (“Seagull Knievel” didn’t make the cut) but are still conceptualizing what the mascot would be. Assuming the team decides to go forward, the Lakers, New York Knicks, and Brooklyn Nets will be the only remaining NBA teams without a mascot.

While fans in L.A. will be able to see Clipper games as usual this season on Fox Sports’ Prime Ticket, the team’s local broadcast future is up in the air. Last week, the New York Post reported that Clippers owner Steve Ballmer turned down an offer of $60 million from Prime Ticket to continue broadcasting Clipper games locally, and is considering the idea of starting his own, over-the-top network instead.

While some think Ballmer, Microsoft’s former CEO and a billionaire several times over, is bluffing to get more money out of a regional sports network, others think he’s serious. But starting the Clippers’ own network would be difficult, since there are no other models in the NBA upon which to base the service.

Do you think Steve Ballmer is smart to try and get more money out of a regional broadcast deal? How successful do you see an over-the-top network being, if Ballmer decided to make one? In terms of the team mascot, what do you think it should be? What should its name be? Do the Clippers even need a mascot?

Guests:

Dan Woike, Clippers beat writer for the Orange County Register. He tweets @DanWoikeSports

Lee Ohanian, professor of economics at UCLA and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University