Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Moving day coming for Golden State Warriors?


By Justin Taylor

Is the end of Oracle Arena near?

Let me just start by saying that I’ll be going to games whether they are played in Oakland, San Jose or San Francisco.  The first and most important question is whether or not I will have as much fun when I go.  Maybe things will change as the new ownership group continues to make honest efforts to produce a winner but for the last 30 years the most entertaining part of going to Warrior games has been the crowd itself.  Does the owner getting booed at Oracle act as additional motivation to cross the bay?  Pricing out the most hardcore and loyal fans would probably take care of that problem. 

I don’t think there is any bigger motivation for making such a move other than the cash that would pour in from new sponsors.  The prospect of building their own stadium with as many luxury suites as possible and having the clientele to fill them probably comes in a close second.  Outside of money what are the motivating factors? I guess that’s a stupid question because what other reasons do you need?  My answer to every tough question in sports or in life is usually to say, “Follow the money.”

The other money angle in play is that San Francisco offers superior non-basketball related revenue streams.  If he has his choice, where does Jay-Z play his next Bay Area show? San Francisco, Oakland or San Jose? How about U2, Madonna, Rihanna, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, (insert your own crappy teeny bopping name here) Chris Rock, Disney on Ice, the circus, WWE etc…The list goes on and on.  San Francisco has lacked a big time arena venue for years and don’t think for a second that gets lost on Joe Lacob and his little Dodger buddy McGuber.   If these guys can make this deal they will be making money hand over fist for more than just 41 shitty basketball games a year.  It could be the premier venue on the west coast with its Embarcadero waterfront location.

Of all the proposed locations the SF logistics are the lousiest.  BART doesn’t exactly drop you at Pier 30-32.  It’s almost a cold ass winter mile long walk to that site and the Caltrain station is even further.  On top of those two options being a royal pain, where do you park?  There’s no question that if you can make a day in the city out of it, San Francisco cannot be beat.  Outside of watching a Warrior game on a beach in Hawaii I can’t think of a better game day experience anywhere.  Don’t let those visions make you forget about those days when you get off work, rush home, grab your hat and jersey, rush out to grab a bite to eat just in time to watch the Warriors get their teeth kicked in.  I’m sure we’ll be better by then but did anyone see that Spurs game?  The best part of that tragic excuse for a game was the fact that I was on 880 doing 80 in a matter of seconds.  After the Spurs basically brought their starters out from halftime in street clothes I realized I might as well go home and find a D league game on TV.

Proposed site pulled from the Chronicle

My biggest concern about a move to The City is the in game atmosphere.  I hate it when teams jack up prices and kick the most hardcore and loyal fans to the curb (or in the nuts, then to the curb) in favor of more suits and suites.  I despise that move more then the Lakers and the Dodgers combined.  That isn’t “sports hate” though, it’s “those greedy money grubbing bastards!” hate.  I love it when I’m lucky enough to get hooked up with great seats to a game, even if it does only happen when we blow and people can’t get fair value for their seats.  You think I’m getting good seats to the Laker game next year?  How about when we move to the city?  Anyways, the point is, I can’t stand getting stuck between some stuffy executive and another asshole banker when I do strike ticket gold.  These guys care more about who is at the game than who is in the game.  It’s a problem in the lower rows in Oakland and you can bet it will only get worse in San Francisco.  Corporate crowds are the worst, give me a seat 20 rows back to sit with the real fans any day (unless you’ve got courtside or row 1 in which case everyone else can go to hell and I can be reached at trappedingoldenstate@gmail.com).  I’m thought of a clammed up crowd has me worried to say the least (I see some of my fellow Niner fans nodding along).

I see San Jose as nothing more then a play to keep Larry Ellison out.  Just the prospect of moving to the South Bay means that the software tycoon can’t get approval to install his own hardware until they break ground somewhere else.  These owners don’t want to purchase a timeshare at HP Pavilion and the city couldn’t be dumb enough to build a second arena, could they?  It may just be the miserable experience from the late nineties but I don’t ever want to see the Warriors play there ever again.  Our existence for the one season at the San Jose Arena was depressing.   Even with a better roster (cause we can all agree it couldn’t be any worse than that one) it would just be a harsh reminder of our pathetic past.   I realize that might be an idiotic statement considering our history in Oakland but even when the team craps it’s pants the crowds are world class.

I know it’s a different thought process for ownership but as a fan I have more questions than answers.   Where are the advantages for fans in moving into a wealthier zip code?  I’m a believer that the fans could care less where the stadium is as long as there is a decent entertaining team on the court.  We haven’t even required that much to show up 20 of the last 30 years.   Part of me thinks that all Lacob is doing with these other options (as much as we all know he’d love to be in SF) is to put as much pressure and leverage as possible on the city of Oakland.  Joe and McGuber know full well that the prospect of losing the A’s, Warriors and probably the Raiders again will lead the city to cry uncle and comply with any and all demands in planning and building a new arena.

It seems Oakland’s biggest disadvantage revenue wise is the sponsorship issue.  Have no fear though; I’ve got a solution for that one.  Something nobody has tried in years.  Put a freakin winner on the floor!  Sponsors are worse than fair weather and bandwagon fans, they just want to be associated with a hero.   Funny how I’m looking at a Lakers crowd at the Staples Center on TNT as I say that.  Does anybody remember how hard it was to get tickets in 2007 or how much those seats cost?  It didn’t matter; the pool of fans starving to watch a winner was so large they came in droves.  Five minutes later Comcast was out in front handing out T-shirts and signs with a phrase that was jacked from a fan.  “We Believe Playoff!”  All they did was correct the English.  I don’t think anyone believes that once the Warriors are contending for a title and setting the Bay Area on fire that companies in the Silicon Valley are going to say, “We only advertise within 40 miles of our headquarters and we hear bad things about Oakland.”  The truth is they don’t give a shit as long as they know people with money are in the building and watching on TV. 

East Oakland is what it is and a new arena won’t change it but that part of town doesn’t even come into play when you hop off 880 and into your seat within minutes.  I do have another Oakland site that should be considered though.  There is land the A’s considered for a stadium at the edge of the Jack London Square and the Port of Oakland they dubbed Victory Square that would breathe major life into the area.  There is a spot on either side of Jack London, the A’s proposed site and one just on port property just on the north side of the area.  They have a ton of brand new empty retail space that I’m sure 20,000 people coming through 60+ nights a year could fix.  It’s also the most inviting part of Oakland (outside of the hills of course) and is the only potential destination spot in the city.

Remember what China Basin looked like before Pac Bell popped up?  This place is on the water too.  There are already transportation options with Amtrak, BART and space for parking not to mention dining and entertainment options in the neighborhood.  You are probably halfway to making it a great downtown hotspot.  It’s not LA Live but screw that whole scene down there.  Give me some Everett and Jones Barbeque or some jazz and sushi at Yoshi’s over that wannabe Hollywood crap any day of the week.

TNT and ESPN's stock photo pulled from somewhere else.

What do ESPN and TNT do every time they televise a game from Oakland?  They send lone camera (probably some intern or the guy no one likes) down to Jack London to show the country BEAUTIFUL Oakland, California while half of the audience says, “uh huh? Sure.”  Put an arena down there and make it a destination for people outside of Oakland.  Give the local and national news something to look at other than Occupy protests and murder rate statistics.  If you’re from the area and think that the city is too stupid and/or corrupt to make that happen, well, I don’t have a comeback for that.

So if the stadium does end up in San Francisco what would the fan base look like at that point?  Will I be sitting next to an out of town venture capitalist, a tourist or a real Warrior fan?  Is there enough foot traffic in the city to fill the place night in night out since transportation and parking will suck?  (Don’t think for a second that you won’t be paying $50 to park you’re car for a couple of hours.)  Is Joe Lacob ready to get booed mercilessly on a nightly basis from the time they break ground across the bay until moving day?  There are a lot of questions that need answers but I guess we’ve got about five years to figure it all out while the Golden State Warriors are Trapped in Oracle Arena.

15 comments:

  1. As with most cities that are fortunate to have a big league team, they don't know what they have until its gone. SF right now has a big void with 49ers leaving. Oakland doesn't have a void...yet.

    I just don't get the waterfront arenas. Its a basketball arena. There is no need for it to be near the bay. It needs to be (1) downtown, (2) near public transportation (3) in a safe area and (4) near restaurants so that people hang out.

    1. Downtown. So that people can come after work.
    2. Public transportation...how does Jack London Square and the embarcadero line up. The arena needs to be near AT&T Park in SF where the Caltrain, T and N Lines all converge. Bart will drop passengers off and they can take either to the game.
    3. Safe. Does it feel safe at night? Do families and women attend.
    4. Near restaurants. Unlike football, there isn't much tailgating for basketball. Typically people meet up at bars and restaurants.

    There is a sense of urgency with Mayor Ed Lee in SF. Oakland doens't have that sense because none of the teams have said they are leaving. While I feel bad for the fans who won't be able to afford the games, that is what happens. There are niner fans who have gone to the games for 50 years, yet won't be able to purchase the 50 yard line seats. Well, they can purchase the nose bleed seats. This is the price of success.

    Yet, something has to happen. Do you really think that Lacob and Gruber's dream was to build a world class arena in Oakland. They only way that happens is if Oakland bends over in a big way for this team. The only reason that they haven't played their hand is for leverage. They have it.

    Another question. Would they get as much non-basketball revenue if they build in Oakland AND the Oracle Arena still remained? Chances are that the Oracle Arena would still compete for those Britany Spears concerts.

    IMO, SF is where they are going. SF is bending over backwards to offer anything to pull the W's back...especially with the niners leaving. SF doesn't have an arena. There will be no competition from another arena for events. Plus, it locks Ellison out of bringing a team to SF. Perhaps they then make a play for the Sharks.

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    1. Absolutely!! What, SF put a 5000 space covered parking garage on top of the venue? Car Wash for the removal of bird S off the fans?? Dilemma of the 1989 earthquake with the true W's fans inside? How deep will the shit literally get? LOL There's few true fans anyway! Yea they state they are. I do not travel to any contest any more by car. Guess this phases me out! Fans, paper(Money/no value) is the key to all. They don't care if the seagull shows up with a ticket. The green is all that matters. This deal prices the fan out of the game of basketball & will be a reason of failure in all sports. Could you see the arena sold out but all ticket holders a no show LOL. Good for me, on the big screen then( I live 130 mi from the city) LOL. Just write-off's for the moguls anyway! These screw the fan days are just around the corner. Will the Franchises moan when there is no one in the P.L.,line for a hot dog, ETC? Then watch the city moan over lost tax revenues. Keep the game where the fans show. As it is now! Otherwise goodbye sports in general. Excellent blog to respond to JacksonSF. Leave the W's in Oakland. If for nothing more,the real W's fans. My wife saw the picture of the projected venue. Her first word "EARTHQUAKE". She told me,don't ask her to attend a game there! Thanks for another controversial article J. This is why I show up here! S

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  2. FYI the other day the peoplemeter read 6220. I saw this as a good sign. 62-20 record in 2012 met my expectations LOL. My new projected visiting #'s 8500. S

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  3. Jackson and Paul T...I hope the Giants are just putting out their plans for Mission Rock to put pressure on the Warriors to line up with their money...no question it's the best option for everyone and I want to catch a Giants and Warriors game on the same day while only parking once!

    Sorry SRG, you know the team doesn't want to stay...they'll play every card possible to get across the bay, I feel bad for everyone who will either get priced or commuted out of attending games, my dumbass will figure it out either way...I'm Trapped like that...

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  4. Come back home. Drop GS.

    Welcome back 'The City' jerseys.

    Go SF Dubs!!

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  5. Lacob and Gruber are here to win and make money. He spend more than any owner ever for the W's and my guess is that he doesn't want the status quo. My guess is that Gruber (who just purchased the dodgers) and is involved in Mandalay Bay has granded aspirations for the warriors. One of the Giants owners once told me that the W's would increase in value by 20% by moving to SF.

    Something is going to happen soon with the Warriors. Do you really think that Lacob and Gruber are going to build a brand new, state of the art, arena in Oakland? Why not just stay in the Oracle Arena?

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  6. ultimately moving is whats best if the warriors want to be relevant again. it's sad but its about name recognition. where is 'golden state' they ask. everyone knows where San Francisco is. its just more glitzy and glamorous than industrial oakland. it doesnt matter thats they're literally right next to each other, we're a top ten market in the body of a small market team. sure, some fans are gonna be pissed. but lacob was a season ticket holder for a decade, too. im sure he'll want to make money, but its not gonna be horrible for the average joe. with the 9ers gone and other B.A. team possibly on the move, the warriors will be a huge draw for sports fans.

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  7. I agree about SF being THE place to be for the future...i do have a slight problem with the issue of relevance...i think having a winner is the only way to truly do that...look at the clippers all these years playing in the same damn building as the lakers or New Jersey who i still think will be irrelevant until they put a winner on the floor in brooklyn...relevance came with Kevin Durant to Oklahoma city just like orlando with dwight howard (until he stops holding the team hostage and moves on) I don't think SF will help land free agents or anything like that...it still won't be new york or la but i could be wrong about that...No matter where the play in the bay the place will be packed though, i just hope it's packed with real fans...

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    1. well, again, 49er fans are being priced out. i dont see management having the sack to raise prices drastically if they do move. dont want their houses burned down by pissed off fans, right?

      and, for sure winning is more important to being relevant. i'd rather have them win a championship in oakland than spend another year watching the lottery positioning in SF. but its all a process of what lacob has in mind. he cleaned house internally, and from his mentality of trying to land a bigtime star, i can tell hes geared to putting the dubs on the map through dramatics. a new stadium always creates a blip on the nation's radar. say what you will, at least lacob has a vision.

      and, perhaps the most important part of this equation: if the dubs move to SF, they can wear those slick yellow SAN FRANCISCO jerseys again. permanently.

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    2. Sign me up! I've already got mine!...lol...I'll rock a J-Rich in the new arena!

      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/23/SPR71O7FMN.DTL

      Niner fans are already feeling it, did you here how much those PSL's cost? like a minimum 20k and then you've got to buy the damn tickets...It's going to be at least that much in the new arena because there will be more events there...

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  8. I enjoy reading your blog, but something needs to be pointed out. If the Warriors were to move to pier 32, it would be more convenient to get to there by public transportation than Oracle Arena. The walking distance between the Embarcadero bart stop and pier 32 is 0.8 miles which is about 15 minutes, according to google. From the Coliseum bart stop to Oracle is 0.5 miles which is about 12 minutes, again according to google. So really we’re talking about 3 more minutes of walking? Cmon. Plus I think most people would rather take 15 minutes to walk along the water, in downtown SF, and go underneath the bay bridge then spend 12 minutes walking over the railroad tracks and around the Coliseum.

    Also the pier 32 arena would be finished around the same time as the new SF transbay transit center which will have a new Caltrain stop. And the distance between there and pier 32 is 0.6 miles which is practically the same distance between Coliseum bart and Oracle. So this will make it much easier for the San Jose and south bay crowd to see the Warriors than going to Oracle.

    Parking is going be a problem. But if the Giants can do it for 40,000 people a game/81 games a year, I think the Warriors can figure it out for 20,000/41. And SF Warriors fans have been Barting it out to Oracle for decades, it wouldn’t be too much to ask for Oakland fans to Bart in to SF so the Warriors could play in a brand new, state of the art arena. I mean it’s not like Lacob is moving them to Seattle or something

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  9. All great points...Ultimately I am an advocate for the SF arena but I did want to make some cases for Oakland because I doubt many others will. Thanks for reading and putting the time in to really think and research my points whether it be cause they are wrong or right...Hopefully I'll be able to continue to put out some decent content and keep you engaged. After 7000 hits from nothing in about 3 weeks I value reads like this more than anything...Don't hesitate to call me out if i'm wrong or if i'm getting too soft...lol...the last thing i want is to be the Joe Smith of bloggers...

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  10. I've enjoyed quite a few of your blogs from the past weeks. A few pieces of advice though...

    Proof read your work and look out for common grammatical errors. There were at least a few that I noticed while pretty plastered.

    Second, sometimes less is more. I skipped through a few parts of this post because it seemed long winded.

    I think the photos you tend to post are great though. With experience I think you will be on your way to being successful in this endeavor.

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    1. thanks for the read and the advice...being your own editor when you're not an english major is quite a pain...if you see blatant stuff an email is appreciated at trappedingoldenstate@gmail.com

      Someone should start an online copy editing service! Or maybe i just need to look...

      Thanks again for reading!

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  11. A comment on the Kawakami article had the best idea I've heard in a while! Move the team to SF and move the D League team to Oakland and rename them the Oakland Oaks!!!!! how perfect is that?

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