By Brian Hinchion
It didn’t hit me until I saw the huge steel girders sticking out as I pulled up to the red light at the intersection at 16th and 3rd Streets a couple months back. The shell of Chase Center, the new Golden State Warriors stadium was, indeed, truly on its way to being erected.
As a lifelong Warriors fan who was born and raised in San Francisco, I should be jubilant that my team is moving closer to where I live. But, my reaction for this new stadium is bittersweet. Sure, I’m happy that they’re moving closer to me, but what exactly does this new stadium say about this city?
Make no mistake, the new Warriors stadium being built right now is all about money. When Joe Lacob and Peter Guber bought the Warriors less than ten years ago, I assume they were targeting moving to San Francisco from the beginning.
The Warriors were cellar dwellers for most of the franchise’s existence, but in the last ten years it has transformed into the formidable juggernaut it is today. And, for all that time, Oracle Arena has been at the heart of it all. Oracle is an old stadium by most modern day standards, but it has been remodeled in the last 30 years and serves every NBA fan well who visits these days.
And in a few short years all three professional sports teams could be gone from Oakland. Oakland and the East Bay ave been getting the short end of the stick when dealing with sports franchises.
The Warriors are moving to San Francisco, the Raiders are moving to Vegas and the A’s hope to rebuild a new stadium but for now have to settle for what is, in their eyes, a subpar facility. The recent Warriors dynasty started with the cheers and roars from Oracle Arena in Oakland.
Chase Center will have many more amenities than the barren desert that is Oracle, and it will be cheaper via public transportation. So why isn’t this a slam dunk for me? The fact is, one of the biggest concerns that remains unanswered is how the congestion of two majorly popular franchises stadiums — AT&T Park and the Chase Center — will affect Mission Bay.
The biggest concern is the hospitals in the area. How does an ambulance getting an urgent care patient safely and quickly to the hospital navigate the area in a timely fashion whilst the Giants and Warriors could be playing at the same time? It’s not ideal at all for public safety and this was most likely overlooked or brushed off with the money that would be generated from this stadium more in the forefront of the decision makers minds.
The entirety of this move is indicative of the “new” San Francisco that favors money interests over tradition and loyalty of its fans. From a business perspective, it’s understandable for the Warriors and their owners to make this move to San Francisco. But at what cost to the fans?
There is no question that lifelong fans will be alienated by the move, replaced instead by fair-weather rich company employees who are looking for something to do on a Wednesday night.