According to Matier & Ross, the City of San Francisco has sent a letter to the Warriors urging the team to work with the city on a new arena deal in SF. A month ago it was revealed that W’s ownership was looking at Piers 30 & 32, which were removed from the America’s Cup waterfront development plan due to cost. Nothing has changed to indicate the site isn’t the frontrunner, though the team could still work out a deal with the Giants in the China Basin/Mission Rock area as a backup plan.
There are height restrictions that will come into play, just as they did with AT&T Park. Given the City’s political will that pushed through the America’s Cup EIR, I have to think the stars would similarly align for the Warriors’ arena efforts.
It’ll be interesting to see if this motivates Oakland to ramp up its Coliseum City efforts. Given the number of events the arena holds annually (150-200), I suspect that keeping the Warriors is practically the linchpin in making Coliseum City work. With AEG in the picture, it’s possible that they may have a business plan to make the arena work without a team, probably by retooling the arena as the Bay Area’s premier large concert venue, like Sprint Center in Kansas City. Of course, making it “work without a team” is a subjective matter, as KC is paying through the nose in debt service while AEG is the one making money in the partnership.
Between the Stadia EXPO and lunch at Philippe’s, I walked around downtown. I’ve never done that in LA, since for me the only reason to be there is an event at Staples Center. Oakland is trying to pattern Coliseum City as something similar to LA Live. That’s a tough one to duplicate, as I explained a few weeks ago. LA Live is a complex of numerous live venues, a multiplex, two luxury hotels, restaurants, all of it adjacent to Staples Center and the Los Angeles Convention Center. There’s always a lot of activity, even when it isn’t apparent.
As I was walking through the area, a crew was getting the rigging set up for the LA premiere of the action blockbuster “Battleship” (yes, inspired by the board game). It was 2:30 PM and people were already camping out, getting prime spots to view Rihanna and Brooklyn Decker as they walked the red carpet. Oakland got its brush with Hollywood fame when the Moneyball premiere was held at the Paramount last fall. It shouldn’t expect much more than that. Later this week Staples will hold six playoff games in five four days, including a doubleheader on Saturday. That’s not realistic for any arena in the Bay Area.
So what is realistic? If there are three major arenas in the Bay Area thanks to the Warriors crossing the bridge, the Oakland/Oracle Arena will suffer. There simply isn’t enough demand to fill all three venues regularly, and one will eventually turn into the “budget” arena to remain competitive. The best thing Oakland can do is everything possible to keep the Warriors in the Coliseum complex. I’m not sure what that will take, and I’m not certain that will be enough to overcome the cachet of San Francisco. For Oakland’s sake, I hope they put their best foot forward.
Update 6:43 PM – Oakland has responded with a statement reiterating their commitment to the Warriors. Curiously, it’s the first real indicator that Oakland is pushing for a new arena to replace Oracle Arena, something that has not shown up in public documents to date. Oakland’s advantage versus SF is that they shouldn’t require a brand new arena. What incentive is there for the W’s to build in Oakland if they have to pay for it?