Is a Warriors Move Back to San Francisco Really in the Team’s Best Interest?

National Basketball Association

The Golden State Warriors have a tremendous home court advantage. They have broken the record for winning the most consecutive regular season games at home. And they want to move. Is it time for a reality check?

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Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena in Oakland. Photo Credit: Bryce Edwards..

Owners of the Golden State Warriors plan on moving the team from Oakland to San Francisco – despite unrivaled support from long suffering East Bay fans.

My English teacher at Skyline High School in the Oakland Hills would have spilled red ink all over her desk if I had ever dared write a sentence like this in an essay:

“If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!”

So why am I writing it now? First of all, I graduated from Skyline a long time ago. Secondly, I have something I want to say …

The Golden State Warriors have broken an all-time record for consecutive NBA regular season wins at home, and the winning streak continues.

So far the hoopsters are 56 to 6 for the season – with 46 straight wins across two basketball seasons at the Oakland’s Oracle Arena.

Do the Dubs have a home court advantage, or what???

Now let’s talk about attendance.

As of the end of the 2014-15 NBA season, the Golden State Warriors had chalked up back-to-back sellouts for game after game over a 10 year period.

They averaged 18,000 basketball fans per game in each of the previous nine seasons – and nearly 19,600 fans for the 2014-15 season.

They must have installed a few more seats.

Long Suffering Fans

But wait … Lest we forget … The fans were not filling the arena to revel in team victories. In fact, Warriors fans were often thought of as “long suffering”.

Until very recently, the Golden State Warriors rarely made it to the NBA Playoffs. They were, in fact, hardly a force to be reckoned with!

And yet, despite their dismal performance on the court  …

On 15 May 2011, the Bleacher Report reported that the Golden State Warriors had the NBA’s most loyal fan base.

“The Warriors have made the playoffs once in the past 17 years, while owning the NBA’s second-worst winning percentage during the last 16 years,” BR wrote.

“Every year, seats are nearly full at Oracle Arena, yet fans’ hopes are dashed by mediocre team performances and poor results. Due to their feverish support, loyalty has become the fans’ trademark. It’s easy to support a winner, but supporting a losing product for so long—well, Golden State fans know all about that.”

San Francisco Wannabes?

A few years back, owners of the Golden State Warriors announced plans to move the team from Oakland – a city that has supported a mostly mediocre team (at best) through thick and thin – back to San Francisco (a city that never really embraced it). They only played there a few seasons.

Is this basketball’s version of Stockholm Syndrome? The Warriors have always seemed to me to be San Francisco Wannabes …

When the Warriors put “The City” on their jerseys, everyone knew which “city” they were talking about. I can assure you it was not “New York City” or “Salt Lake City” or “Jersey City”. And it was certainly not Oakland …

Initially, the owners wanted to build an arena on stilts over San Francisco Bay, which would have blocked views of Treasure Island, Angel Island, Yerba Buena Island, the Bay Bridge, and the beautiful East Bay Hills.

Does anyone remember that triple-deck freeway that was torn down following the Loma Preta Earthquake in 1989?

I think most people would consider it good riddance to bad rubbish. It should never have been built in the first place.

That part of San Francisco languished in the freeway’s shadow (despite repeated attempts to revitalize it) until the structure was torn down.

After which the district came back to life and has been transformed into one of The City’s most vibrant neighborhoods.

Sydney Opera House? Not!

Mayor Edwin Lee, who was a big supporter of luring the Warriors West, said an arena on the waterfront would do for San Francisco what an opera house did for Sydney, Australia. Oh, really?

All I can say is, either Edwin had never been to Sydney or he had never seen the artist’s conceptions of the arena.

It would have been a massive eye sore. Certainly not anything even remotely on par with the Sydney Opera House.

Besides, why would a city with the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Coit Tower, the Transamerica Building, and cable cars that go halfway to the stars need something that rivals an opera house in Sydney, Australia?

Thankfully, that idea was scrapped. Views of the bay are safe. Current plans call for the arena to be moved inland several blocks to a part of town called Mission Bay.

The US$1 billion project, which will include two office buildings and a public plaza, would be located just one block from a massive medical centre, which opened in 2015.

Mission Bay Alliance

A group known as the Mission Bay Alliance has filed suit to block the project. Among the concerns are parking, traffic, and the environment.

The Warriors should be worried, too. Will the the loyal fans that stuck by the basketball team during the two decade long thin years follow them like children following the Pied Piper back to San Francisco?

They might. They might actually follow the team wherever it goes. Would that include a move back to Philadelphia?

And then, maybe they won’t. Maybe they will think of other ways to spend their money and pass their time. There’s really no way of knowing.

It has taken 40 years to build this fan base, and it could evaporate in just one or two lackluster seasons.

Which begs the question … Why take the chance?

With apologies to my high school English Teacher …

It ain’t broke, so please don’t fix it!

 

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4 Replies to “Is a Warriors Move Back to San Francisco Really in the Team’s Best Interest?”

  1. Of course they should stay in Oakland where their loyal fans are. Convenient easy access location. Going to SF with all the traffic to get there and park etc. No Good!!
    I remember my Dad taking me when Rick Berry was playing at the Coliseum. Why do they want to do this and mess up a good thing? Oakland has been home for the last 40 years, keep it that way.

  2. Good article. Correction though: You stated that the Warriors played in San Francisco for 14 seasons before moving to Oakland. That is actually incorrect.
    The Warriors were only played games in San Francisco for 9 seasons from 1962-1971, before moving to Oakland permanently. And even during the 9 years that they played in SF, they actually started playing several home games at the Oakland Arena(today known as the Oracle), which opened in 1966.
    The truth is, besides those wannabe Laker, “City” Jerseys, San Francisco has really been completely irrelevant to the overall history and success of the Warriors. 9 years, embarrassing attendance and no championships is the legacy San Francisco has left behind for the Warriors. Even Philadelphia has done far more for the Warriors than SF has.
    I know those facts may sting some people, but it’s just the honest truth. They have no ethical right to try and take the Warriors away from Oakland, their home for almost 50 years.

  3. I stand corrected. I should have written nine years rather than 14. While they were known as the San Francisco Warriors for nine seasons, however, they played most of their home games during their first two years in the Bay Area at the Cow Palace in Daly City, which is just south of San Francisco. After that, they started playing most of their home games at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium. While they officially moved to Oakland in 1971, they had already started playing several of their home games there each season in 1996, when the Oakland Arena opened.

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