Warriors Face Cavs, Arena Foes

As the Golden State Warriors and their home court  take center stage during the NBA Finals in Oakland, Calif., rhetoric between supporters and opponents of a new, $1 billion team venue across the San Francisco Bay continues to heat up.

The two sides – San Francisco and the Mission Bay Alliance – staged competing press conferences as the Finals kicked off extolling their respective positions on the proposed 18,000-seat arena.

The Mission Bay Alliance is a group of “well-funded and ticked-off Uni, the home field of the San Francisco Giants.

Proposed parking areas currently bump up against UCSF Medical Center in the Mission Bay district, and there is concern about ambulances navigating game-day traffic. The city’s report envisions a worst-case scenario, in which the Warriors and Giants have games at the same time, occurring an estimated five times per year during championship seasons.

The Warriors, which moved to Oakland from San Francisco in 1971, are currently playing in the team’s first NBA Finals, against the Cleveland Cavaliers, in that city in its history. The Warriors’ first NBA Finals as residents of the former Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena was in 1975, but games were forced to move to San Francisco’s Cow Palace because the now-defunct Ice Follies were already booked.

Clearly the team’s fortunes on the court are greatly improved after 40 years, and the Giants have regularly made the playoffs in the last decade after almost 60 years in the city. San Francisco’s EIR proposes increased traffic patrols near both sports venues and several public transit upgrades, paid for with the $14 million in annual revenue the new arena is expected to drop into city coffers.

“There will be traffic. We will be able to handle it,” Ken Rich, a director of development for the city, told the Business Times. “We’re going to get it right. We have a good record. We don’t see a lot of EIRs overturned.”

Begging to differ is Mission Bay Alliance spokesman Sam Singer, who said the Alliance is prepared to spend “millions” to fight the arena, including forcing the issue to a ballot, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “Essentially what the city and Warriors are trying to do is jam an elephant into a VW,” Singer was quoted by the paper. “It’s neither comfortable for the elephant nor advantageous for the VW.

“There is no way to place an 18,000-seat arena that is going to have an event every other day dead across the street from a major hospital and not have it significantly impact the ability of patients to reach that hospital as well as physicians and nurses to get to work.”