Professional sports franchises can bring in huge crowds and generate big revenues for a city if done right.
But as a business, those franchises are always on the lookout for the best-equipped and most profitable stadium or arena to play in.
That sometimes means leaving their local fanbase to move somewhere else.
The NBA’s Golden State Warriors found a new place to play, without leaving the Bay Area and without spending a cent of public money.
CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.
The most successful NBA team in recent history – the Golden State Warriors – has been in the playoffs five years in a row, winning three championships.
Now, the Warriors scored another big win by building the world’s first modern sports arena that’s financed privately. That means no money from the city’s general fund, no public land and no new taxes.
“You really couldn’t set out to design a plan that came together the way this one did,” Rick Welts, chief operating officer of the Golden State Warriors said. “It is a perfect storm of team performance, the economy in the Bay Area right now. And, it isn’t something that could be replicated, I don’t think anywhere else in the country.”
The Warriors are moving from their old home at Oracle Arena across the bay in Oakland to the new Chase Center in San Francisco. It’s been a seven-year process.
Step inside and you’ll find the Chase Center looks more like an upscale hotel lobby. On the day of our visit, the court had just been installed.
With lower bowl seating optimized for viewing, the 18-thousand seat arena brings fans closer to the action. Above it all hangs the NBA’s largest scoreboard.
More than 40,000 fans are still on the season ticket waiting list. Chase Center very well could be the most hi-tech and modernly-styled arena in the world. But Chief Operating Officer Welts said those titles don’t mean much if you do not provide the best fan experience.
And that goes beyond basketball.
The Chase Center is also a concert venue that will host around 200 events a year.
The $1.5 billion project will also be home to the headquarters of a global transportation company, Uber.
The arena and the office buildings are part of the area’s new entertainment district called Thrive City, which features more than 9,000 square meters of restaurant and retail space.
The Warriors purchased this land from tech billionaire and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, who decided the area was too small for his own headquarters.
The Warriors got lucky. But relying on private financing alone isn’t something that Welts recommends.
“We would have liked to have done it the other way, that would have been an easier path than the one that we followed,” said Welts. “But I think taxpayer dollars are well spent to create places like this that become very meaningful to cities and create lifetime experiences and memories you don’t get any other way. I think they’ll always be a belief among most cities, investment publically into these buildings makes sense.”
Chase Center and Thrive City officially open in September.