The fight continues for the Golden State Warriors arena

Victoria Groenewold and Thania Arce,

Hard hats on, neon vests worn, cranes in the air. After a six year struggle, the Golden State Warriors Arena is finally being built.

The organization will move its team from Oakland’s Oracle Arena to San Francisco’s  Mission Bay neighborhood. Construction on the $1 billion team-funded 18,000 seat arena began Jan. 17. The move to the new facility will occur in the 2019-2020 NBA season, according to NBC Bay Area News.

The new arena will be more modern and interactive for fans, better food options to enjoy during the game and if a person can’t afford a ticket, they can still experience the game as they watch from a restaurant window. The idea for this state-of-the-art arena, also called Chase Center, started in 2010 under ownership of Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, according to the Mercury News.

“I like it because this means the team is growing and becoming bigger and better. They’re the best team in basketball and deserve an amazing new stadium which Oakland can’t offer,” said Daniel Hoffknecht, a resident of Oakland.

However, the Mission Bay Alliance has strongly opposed the building of the new arena.  The group includes former UCSF researchers, faculty and stakeholders involved in protecting the future of healthcare and biomedical research at Mission Bay, as stated by their homepage.

This group filed lawsuits against the idea of an arena on grounds it would affect the environment, traffic and overall safety of the community. Although San Francisco Superior Court judge Garrett Wong did rule, on July 18, 2016, in favor of the arena being built in the city, Mission Bay Alliance sources stated that they will continue to fight it.

The move has wide impact on parking, traffic, the neighboring hospital and overall fan ticket affordability.

Kanchana Mukka works in the technology department for SFPD and has concerns over the parking and overall traffic for Mission Bay. “Traffic will definitely be affected because it’s already bad as it is. We don’t have proper parking,” said Mukka. It is reported from the MLB website that AT&T Park hosts 81 home games per season and over 200 events per year which will soon be held at the Chase Center arena, according to the Chase Center website.

The arena is a concern for the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay and the Mission Bay neighborhood. Allen Jones, a TV host and who’s going to continue the fight among the Mission Bay Alliance, expressed his concern over the development of the new arena. “It was a horrible idea, but the thing is when people want to cram something in, they don’t care about all the logistics,” Jones said.

The new Warriors’ home is 1,000 feet away from the hospital and down the street from AT&T Park, according to the Mission Bay Alliance website. “I hope to God it won’t get built. It’s bad enough when there is a baseball game,” said Mary Ellen Doyle who is currently a patient at UCSF Medical Center.

An estimated 2 million fans will attend the new Warriors arena every year. Meanwhile, fans are concerned about the affordability of season tickets.

Steve Meister who has been a season ticket holder of the Warriors for the past six years, questions if he’ll be able to renew his tickets. “My seats will average $175 each next season and depending on the price of the seat license fee, will determine if we keep our seats. This season we sold most of our tickets to help pay for play-off tickets due to the increase cost,” said Meister. According to the Mercury News, the average price to see a Warriors game cost people $286.00

Golden State Warriors’ organization is pleased with the change. “Every city needs it. We need it. It will be great for San Francisco,” said co-owner Peter Guber at the breaking ground ceremony on Jan. 17 at the new arena site.

San Francisco fans expressed their excitement with the change too. “I love the Warriors. Any sports arena is positive for the youth and community,” said Kathleen Villasenor who is part of the Mariposa Hunters Point Yacht Club in San Francisco.

Brandon Jones, who works for Save Oakland Sports and is a member of Warriors Grounds, argues “Oakland has been the Warriors home base for over forty years. They’re a Bay Area regal team,” said Jones.

Die-hard Oakland Warrior fans have not embraced the change. “I think it’s obnoxious. They’ve been here so long and fans supported them when they were garbage and now that they’re winning, they want to move to San Francisco. Teams were more loyal to markets and now they go where the money is,” said L.D. Louis, a resident of Oakland.

Indeed, money is a major part of this arena’s new location.  Morgan Chase holds naming rights over the Warriors for the next 20 years, earning a reported $15-20 million annually,  according to Sports Business Daily.

The arena is bound to change the Mission Bay neighborhood. It was an industrial area and a parking lot for AT&T stadium visitors and now to a variety of businesses from coffee shops to bustling small housing complexes. It also includes the SFPD as well as the Fire Department, as stated by SPUR News.

The Warriors are returning home to San Francisco where they played from 1962 to 1971, before moving to Oakland. They started in Philadelphia where they played from 1946-1962.