Why Moving The Warriors is Bad for The Team and San Francisco
The Golden State Warriors are Better than Ever … So Why Does Management Want to Move?
There’s nothing Bay Area sports fans hate more than winning. That’s the only explanation for why we keep screwing around with our winners. First came the Niners, who won a gazillion championships playing at Candlestick and were on their way to another championship run under Jim Harbaugh. So what does the team do? Fire Harbaugh and move to hot and sweaty Santa Clara, where nosebleeds cost $200 in a stadium nobody – and we mean nobody – likes. They’ve been losers ever since.
Now it’s the Golden State Warriors’ turn. They are now officially the best team in the NBA, thanks in large part to the crazy fans at the Oracle – “Roaracle” – arena in Oakland, who have a well-deserved national reputation as being the loudest, most zealous fans in the league. So what do the new owners want to do? Screw it up, of course, by building a behemoth arena down the street from AT&T Park and directly across the street from a brand new children’s hospital in the heart of the city’s biotech district in Mission Bay.
Sick children and their families are going to love it. Total gridlock, ambulances stuck in traffic. An emergency room only 1,000 feet from the brand-new arena with plans to host 225 Warriors’ games, concerts, conventions and more a year. What’s not to like? That great East Bay fan base is sure to wither away once they get a whiff of the new ticket prices. And let’s see whether the transplanted techies in SF stick by the team, even after today’s star players get older and move on. Soon enough the Warriors will be back to the Cow Palace days, playing in front of a big empty room.
Teams aside, it’s just not a good idea to plunk a huge arena down in the middle of Mission Bay. The city likes to brag about the taxpayers not being on the hook for any arena costs. But the city’s own budget analyst proved that storyline wrong last week, saying that of the $60 million in transportation improvements needed to support the project, the arena would generate tax revenues to cover only half, leaving a gaping $29.9 million budget deficit funded by taxpayers. In total, it’s now estimated the arena will bring in a paltry $1.5 million in net annual income, barely enough money to fix all the problems the arena creates in the neighborhood.
What’s worse, the city is rubber-stamping this project through a record-fast approval process, and not giving the public an opportunity to learn the facts and weigh in. San Francisco residents should question their Supervisor in advance of a Dec. 8 board meeting when city leaders will have a chance to vote on the project. The public deserves to know where the money is flowing – and fans deserve to know why their team is moving. A Mission Bay arena will certainly make more money for Warriors’ owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, but it will destroy the Mission Bay neighborhood and price out the team’s amazing fanbase in the process. That’s a lot to lose for a team that knows how to win.