San Francisco mayor invites Warriors to jump bay

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, who last chimed in on a potential Golden State Warriors arena in his city by saying it’d have to be built with private money, kicked off what promises to be an all-out cross-bay arena war yesterday, by issuing an open letter signed by all 11 city supervisors that invites the team to move to San Francisco “in time for the 2017 NBA season” and offers to “work with you to achieve this goal.” The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Lee still would want to use “private financing,” but that doesn’t necessarily rule out the kind of tax breaks that other teams (including the Giants) have gotten to help grease the wheels for new buildings.

For now, with the Warriors ownership still publicly saying they want to remain in Oakland (where they’d be stuck covering $90 million in debt on the 1997 renovations to Oracle Arena if they moved by 2027), the S.F. threat is mostly likely to come into play as a bargaining chip for team owner Joe Lacob in trying to negotiate terms for a new arena in the East Bay. If he’s successful, you have to hope he’ll have the decency to send Lee a nice campaign contribution for his assistance.

4 comments on “San Francisco mayor invites Warriors to jump bay

  1. I did not know about the $90M. However, I wonder how that compares with a typical NBA relocation fee, which the Warriors probably would not have to pay by moving 10 miles. It’s not a market change if they move to SF, I’d think. So it could be that paying $90M isn’t that far out of the question.

    The new location certainly is a lot more scenic. Transit would be a breeze, and players would love that location.

    I’d think the biggest hitches would be 1) finding a private investor, 2) the engineering challenge of building on those mudflats (2017 is probably already out of the question), and 3) traffic/transit.

    One thing about SF would answer itself, though; an arena there would very quickly turn into the busiest arena in the US. In SF, I bet private financing will be easier than average.

  2. My understanding is that the $90 million is a per year deal covering moves between ’17 and ’27 (the W’s pay high rent payments which go towards paying off the ’97 renovations). So if they split the difference and move in, say, 2022, they’d only be liable for half of that, as I understand their lease.

  3. Not to mention there isn’t an arena sized music venue in SF proper right now either. A building there could easily host 200 shows a year just like the Cow Palace once did. They might as well tear down the arena in Oakland if the Warriors move because the building would become immediately obsolete.

  4. Wouldn’t be so sure that SF is just being used for posturing Neil. Seems more likely that the Lacob group just wants out of Oakland like every other team they currently have.

    As for the 90 million. They’d have to service that in a new east bay arena as well. So either way it’s going to have to be paid. Might as well pay it moving to the place you want to be rather than the place no one seems to want to be.