At most, the Warriors have just three games left at most in Oracle Arena. There’s Game 3 of the NBA Finals tonight (9 p.m. EST, ABC), Game 4 on Friday and Game 6 on June 13, if necessary. The Golden State faithful are expected to pack the 53-year old venue.
The Warriors will move from Oakland to San Francisco’s newly-built Chase Center for the 2019-20 season. Since its opening, the franchise has posted a 2083-2214 record overall (both home and away).
Here’s what you need to know about the arena, as well as the future one across the bay.
1. The Stadium Was Completed Just Before its First Game in 1966
The first game at the then-named Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena was on Nov. 9, 1966, except it was actually for hockey. The California Seals and San Diego Gulls of the WHL almost had the game postponed due to concerns that the arena wouldn’t be finished on time.
According to Katie Dowd of SF Gate, the venue was finished 53 minutes after the game was supposed to start. It was played anyways.
Eight o’clock came and went. The teams sat in the dressing room as work crews finished the final touches. The crowd of 9,415 — the stadium held 12,000 — waited restlessly. Finally, at 8:53 p.m., the place was ready.
It wasn’t perfect. “Spectators in some lower rows found themselves looking at the heads of fellow fans in temporary seats, or looking into railings unfortunately located at eye level,” the AP wrote. “Because of the scurry to get facilities ready, the teams didn’t have practice time and the ice itself proved too soft.”
The then-San Francisco Warriors played at the arena intermittently, sharing home games with the Cow Palace in nearby Daly City. The franchise’s first game there was on Oct. 24, 1967 according to the team website. They switched full-time to Oakland in 1971-72.
2. Oracle Bought the Naming Rights to the Venue in 2007
Charles Phillips, president of the computer software company Oracle, bought the naming rights to Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in 2006. The initial 10-year agreement was extended into the 2018-19 season.
“We welcome the opportunity to align ourselves with the Oracle
brand,” said Warriors President Robert Rowell on NBA.com at the time. “The Warriors are rapidly progressing toward our goal of becoming a championship organization, and partnering with Oracle is another sign of that progress. They are undoubtedly the best in the world at what they do. We look forward to
tapping into them as a valuable business resource.”
In addition, the venue underwent a $140 million interior renovation in 1996 that increased basketball capacity by more than 4,000, to its current occupancy maximum of 19,596. A total of 72 luxury suites and other exclusive clubs were also added.
3. The Chase Center Was Built to be the “Madison Square Garden” of San Francisco
The new arena is located in the Mission Bay neighborhood, which is blocks away from Oracle Park, the Giants’ ballpark.
Per Katie Dowd of the San Francisco Chronicle, “The 18,000-seat arena hosts its first event on Sept. 6, when Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony perform.”
Chase Center broke ground in 2017 with the expressed intent of being the “Madison Square Garden” of San Francisco.
“From day one, we said we wanted to build the Madison Square Garden of the West,” says Rick Welts, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Warriors in a statement to Chase. He spent 17 years as an executive in the NBA’s league offices in New York.
“Having watched what they’ve done with the relationship they have with Madison Square Garden and what they’ve brought to the table to make it a better consumer experience,” he says, “they understand how music, sports and family shows can be a great brand association and add value to their customers.”
4. The Move From Oakland Has Greatly Upset Some Local Fans
The move has not come without controversy or resistance. Local citizens in Mission Bay formed a group called the Mission Bay Alliance to protest.
“The Warriors want everybody to believe the arena is a slam dunk, but the reality is the battle is just starting,” said Sam Singer, a spokesperson for the group in 2015 to ABC7.
Singer’s biggest complaint seemed to be the parking concerns, as the University of California San Francisco medical campus is already bothered by the congestion caused by Giants games.
“It’s already challenging with the Giants on home games,” said one UCSF employee.
Besides traffic, opponents reportedly want the arena site for further UCSF expansion and publicly say the stadium is not a good fit.
“It’s out of whack with bio tech and health care,” Singer said.
Meanwhile, many Oakland residents see the move across the Bay as a slap in the face. Marcus Thompson of the Mercury News makes this point.
This is about siding with the frustrated and angry fans who can’t shake the sting. This is about being in unison with those who don’t see the Warriors’ move as a good thing, just one last, final slap in the face.
This is about those who proudly represent the East Bay culture in this Bay Area civil rivalry, especially those who carry a flag for Oakland, and sees this as a major blow.
5. The Price for NBA Finals Tickets at Oracle This Week Has Been Huge
Four NBA titles. Hall of Fame players such as Rick Barry, as well as future Hall of Famers such as Steph Curry and Kevin Durant. There’s no doubt the lore around Oracle Arena is deep and rich.
With the Warriors scheduled to host the Raptors in Game 4 of the NBA Finals, a customer has set a new record for a per-seat purchase by paying $50,507.50 each for two seats totaling $101,015, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.
It’s worth noting that this is likely a record purchase per seat through a team’s official website. During the 2017 Finals between the Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, somebody paid $133,000 total for two seats for Game 5 at Oracle Arena. As noted in this article by USA Today Sports, service fees were nearly $10,000 per ticket, more than three times the face value of the tickets ($3,000). In other words, the tickets sold for roughly $113,000, meaning that each ticket was sold for roughly just under $57,000 each.
The rent is pricy enough in the Bay Area for people to be shelling out six figures for game tickets. As Michael Weinreb of The Ringer puts it, some fans such as political activist Allen Jones are just not ready to let the arena go.
But that’s why I’m standing on this corner with Allen Jones: Because he might be one of the last people in San Francisco who refuses to accept this stratified future as an inevitability. Even as he looks upon the facade of an arena that’s nearly finished, Jones believes he can still stop the Warriors, who will host Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Oakland on Wednesday, from ever playing a game in San Francisco. And if this sounds ludicrous, that’s because it probably is. But at least it’s of a kind with the mind-set that long rendered San Francisco unique
That type of passion will and has cost thousands of fans more than just a pretty penny.