Ever since the May 21 announcement that the Golden State Warriors would be moving to San Francisco for the 2017-18 NBA season, local residents have been buzzing with excitement anticipating the relocation of the Bay Area’s beloved NBA team. The Warriors, who have played in Oakland’s Oracle Arena dating back to 1966, will finally return to the city that they first called home in 1971 after moving from Philadelphia. This transition plan, which San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee calls his “legacy project,” includes a $500 million dollar budget, 100,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, and a new arena that will be built under the Bay Bridge between the Ferry Building and AT&T Park.
While the prospect of a new arena is certainly elating for fans, perhaps the most promising aspect of the Warriors’ eventual move to San Francisco is the team’s recent rise to relevance. At this point in the current NBA season, Golden State boasts a 26-17 record and is looking to reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2006-07 season. This week, Warriors power forward David Lee was named to the All-Star game for the second time in his career, and in doing so became the first Golden State player to be elected as an All-Star since Latrell Sprewell in 1997. Along with Lee, the Warriors have a budding star in point guard Stephen Curry, a crop of promising young players such as Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes, and a solid bench unit highlighted by Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry. The success of this Warriors squad bodes well for its future tenure in San Francisco, and has many students at the University of San Francisco eagerly awaiting the team’s arrival.
“It’s exciting because every time a team moves into a new stadium, you really want them to be good,” USF freshman Tyler Lym said.
“For instance, take the Miami Marlins. They moved into a new ballpark, but they still suck, and they haven’t really brought any hope. So having a good team that can actually play well come here is a big bonus. It makes things a lot more entertaining.”
Despite the hopefulness and enthusiasm surrounding the Warriors’ relocation, it is rare that such a drastic change occurs seamlessly. While the time of the team’s move to San Francisco has been confirmed, there is still much debate and negotiation concerning the construction of the arena and the management of city space.
One issue is that it will be difficult to provide sufficient parking, due to the density of the city’s downtown and waterfront areas, and also because the stadiums that the 49ers and Giants call home cover a considerable amount of land. On top of the parking problem, the new arena will have to be much smaller than Oracle Arena, as the proposed capacity is 17,500 compared to the 19,596 that Oracle houses. As fans await the announcement of the architects that will be building the arena between piers 30 and 32, they have expressed concern over the amount of traffic, overcrowding, and lack of recreational space.
Although the means by which the arena will be built are far from set in stone, Warriors owner Joe Lacob has remained faithful and continues to advocate for his team’s relocation.
“We do believe that it’s the right thing to do for the Warriors,” Lacob told Sam Amick of USA Today Sports.
“It’s going to [change] the capabilities of our franchise in so many ways. It’s the right thing to do for the Bay Area. It’s the right thing to do for the city of San Francisco to have a facility like that that will be useful not only for basketball games but so many other events. The city doesn’t have that.”
As a whole, the Warriors fan base has echoed Lacob’s sentiments and has remained confident that the team will arrive in San Francisco without too many bumps on the road. Residents to the west of the Bay Bridge not only have a new basketball team and arena to look forward to, but also an area of entertainment that will likely host many events outside of basketball. This advantage, along with Golden State’s current success and the bright future that lies ahead of them, indicates that the Warriors will become a welcome addition to the diverse, decorated, and sports-crazy city of San Francisco.
“It’s definitely going to bring another aspect to San Francisco,” Lym said. “I mean, San Francisco is already fun enough as it is, but the stadium will bring more good restaurants and new shops, and it’ll make it even more fun to explore the city.”