By Shannon Cole/Staff Writer
For 43 years, the Bay Area’s only basketball team has called Oakland home. Although their name suggests otherwise, the Golden State Warriors don’t belong to the entire state of California: they belong to Oakland.
But in April, the team purchased a plot of land across the bay and are planning to move to San Francisco.
When the Warriors leave Oakland, it’s likely Oracle Arena will leave too.
The city of Oakland and Alameda county both benefit from the tax dollars on Warriors merchandise, ticket sales and for the other stadium uses such as concerts and conventions.
Neither the city nor county have the money on hand to finance the much-needed revival of the 54-year-old arena, especially without a new tenant secured.
Big sponsors like Oracle probably won’t stay around either; they’ll spend their money elsewhere.
It’s likely Oracle Arena will be razed and redeveloped into condominiums or another unnecessary, unwanted strip mall.
And with the arena go the jobs.
Both the Warriors organization and Oracle Arena employ hundreds of residents who journey from the ends of the East Bay—from El Cerrito, Concord, even Livermore—and they take BART to get there. Those employees would have to add both a cross-bay BART and a MUNI trip to their commute, and additional $12 cost for each round trip.
Unless the Warriors subsidize transit for their employees, workers earning minimum wage would lose almost an hour’s worth of wages just to get to work.
The Warriors also seem unaware that MUNI is one of the slowest, most outdated transit systems in North America, one whose infrastructure cannot handle 18,000 more commuters on game days.
Even for fans who live in San Francisco, getting to Mission Bay is difficult by any mode of transportation, and parking in the area is hard to come by. Traffic snarls around the arena could have very serious implications if they were to cause any delays in or out of their closest neighbor, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.
Some UCSF employees have formed the Mission Bay Alliance, a group which opposes the arena’s environmental and traffic impacts to the area.
For fans that manage to get to the arena, the added cost will be their time and money. Game tickets will cost more than they do at Oracle and parking will also be more expensive.
The extra costs added to tickets, concessions and parking will help fund the more than $6 million in operating costs for additional MUNI service and construction.
But the greater, less tangible loss for fans is team pride.
The Warriors were the first to bring a major sports championship to the city of Oakland since the Athletics won the World Series in 1989. Oaklanders will lose the pride that comes with watching their hometown team defend their championship titles.
Traffic fiascos, jobs revenue losses and inconvenienced neighbors have a place in the Bay Area, and it’s not Mission Bay—it’s in Santa Clara.
The Warriors would be wise to learn from the mistakes made by other sports franchises in the area and invest not in San Francisco but in Oakland, the place that’s invested in them since 1972.
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