Deal reached for new NBA/NHL arena in Seattle and Oakland’s NBA Warriors close to moving to San Francisco

May 21, 2012


Deal reached for new NBA/NHL arena in Seattle

Seattle Mayor and King County Exec- Source: City of Seattle

Chris Daniels, Travis Pittman
KING 5 News NBC Seattle 

SEATTLE – Seattle, King County and the man behind a proposed Seattle NBA/NHL arena acknowledged Wednesday they had reached a memorandum of understanding to build the facility. But, there are still many hurdles to clear before any construction can begin, including securing an NBA franchise.

Mayor Mike McGinn, Executive Dow Constantine and San Francisco hedge fund manager Chris Hansen acknowledged the MOU, which says construction could begin as soon as Seattle knows it is getting an NBA franchise.

The MOU breakdown calls for Seattle to cover $120 million of the bonds and the county to pick up $80 million if the city can lure both an NBA and NHL team. If only an NBA team comes to Seattle, the county’s portion drops to $5 million. Read the interlocal agreement about the bonds

No NBA or NHL team has committed to playing in Seattle, though both leagues have teams facing ownership and economic challenges in their current home cities.

Summary of MOU and interlocal agreements

Hansen’s planned arena project still faces many more hurdles. For one, the Seattle Mariners have voiced concerns about the effect of a new arena on traffic in the already congested SODO area, which is home not only to the Mariners’ Safeco Field but also to CenturyLink Field, home to the Seahawks and the Sounders.

Labor and business groups involved in operating the Port of Seattle have expressed similar concerns about traffic.

“Nobody has been able to bring to us a city with this combination of major marine cargo activity,” says Dave Gering, the Executive Director of the Manufacturing Industrial Council of Seattle. “I think you’re not sure you’re ready to sign the Memorandum of Understanding unless you understand the ramifications.”


City of Seattle

A private investor has proposed to the City and County the construction of a new self-financing arena in Seattle’s Stadium District with the ability to host an NBA and NHL team. The City and County have agreed to evaluate this proposal, which takes a new approach to arena financing.

  • No new taxes will be required. The arena will be self-financed.
  • Only taxes generated from construction and operation will be used for the project. In other words, it is funded by revenue that only exists because of the arena.
  • The public will be protected by a contractual guarantee from the investment group, backed up by securities in a lockbox.
  • The teams will enter into a binding non-relocation agreement until the arena financing is fully repaid.



Press release

Click image to enlarge:



Joint Letter from Seattle Mayor McGinn and King County Executive Constantine

Click image to enlarge:





Arena Summary and security provisions





Interlocal Agreement


Video: City Inside/Out: Seattle Center – What’s Next? May 18, 2012


Video: New Seattle arena proposal press conference
April 5. 2012


Wed, May 23, 2012

SEATTLE – The Port of Seattle made strong suggestions Tuesday, Wed, May 22, 2012 that a new arena would cause crippling congestion in the SoDo neighborhood of Seattle. Investor Chris Hansen says his planned arena would largely host night events, and doesn’t believe it would create major traffic backups. So we put it to an unscientific test, with a Tuesday night Mariners game which hosted roughly 15,600 fans, or a little less than the 18,500 seat NBA/NHL Arena. It also came on a night when truck traffic seemed to disappear. Peter McGraw with the Port, acknowledged while terminals operate 24 hours a day, most truck traffic ceases at 4:30pm on weekdays.- KING 5 ABC Seattle




Population: 4,269,349

Video: Seattle light rail



NBA Golden State Warriors close to moving team to San Francisco

Carolyn Tyler and Laura Anthony
KGO 7 ABC San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose

OAKLAND– According to ABC7 News and sources, a likely deal has been reached between San Francisco and the Golden State Warriors to move the team to the city. They would likely move to Piers 30 and 32 along the Embarcadero, less than a mile from the San Francisco Giants’ ballpark.
ABC7 News has learned an announcement is expected Tuesday morning. It would bring the Warriors back to San Francisco where they first arrived in 1962.

It appeared to be business as usual for the Warriors with the start of pre-draft workouts Monday, and General Manager Bob Myers saying next to nothing about new reports the team appears headed across the bay.

“At this time we’re not prepared to make any comments or make any announcements,” Myers told reporters Monday.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is putting a full court press on the Warriors’ owners, but would not confirm if the deal is done. “We put everything we can and our best foot forward for the Warriors to consider San Francisco and we’re going to patiently wait for their decision,” he said.

But Shawn Paton says they have confirmed a move to him. He owns Red’s Java House right next door to the site where San Francisco is inviting the Warriors to build a new home along Piers 30-32. Paton says he met with the team owners and other executives twice last week and again Sunday.

“They wanted to talk to me about how they’re going to put the arena here,” Paton said. “They said they are coming. They are definitely coming.”

It would be a privately-financed arena just like the Giants ballpark.

“Our approach has been that we cannot use taxpayer money and we’ve made that very clear,” Lee said.

If it all pans out, the plan is for the Warriors to begin their 2017 season along the waterfront. Fans say that’s enough time to figure out how to handle traffic. The Embarcadero is already congested on days the Giants play at nearby AT&T Park.

“Probably should expand at least two more lanes on each side for sure. Do something because it’s going to be nuts,” Warriors’ fan Tyler Stevens said.

Oakland reaction

So what would a Warriors move to San Francisco mean for Oakland? Oakland leaders say they’re not giving up on the Warriors, and won’t, even if team owners confirm they’ve set their sights on San Francisco. According to one city leader, the San Francisco plan is certainly “no slam dunk.”

The very idea of the Warriors abandoning Oakland for San Francisco has Chris Dobbins angry. He’s a season ticket-holder and part of a fan group, known as “Save Oakland Sports,” determined to keep the Athletics, Raiders and Warriors right where they are.

“They should go to Philadelphia if they want to play that game,” Dobbins said. “They’ve been in Oakland for 40 years. We’ve gone out there, we’ve supported the team. Near-sellout for as lousy a product as they’ve had out on the field. It’s very disappointing to hear that they all of a sudden want to just move the team across the bay.”

With Oakland Mayor Jean Quan in Las Vegas on business, Oakland’s assistant city manager, Fred Blackwell, fielded questions about losing the Warriors, a move that would no-doubt squash the city’s plans to build a Coliseum City for all three teams.

“In our last communication with them, we really asked them, straight up, whether or not we were still in this game and they told us that we were,” Blackwell said. “So our intent is to continue to work with them.”

Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley serves on the Joint Powers Authority which oversees the Coliseum. He’s also been working with city leaders and community groups to retain Oakland’s professional teams.

“I think it builds a lot of good will, it builds commerce and jobs,” Miley said. “And I just think it would be utterly devastating to the city should the city lose those three franchises.”

Local kids may also lose out if the Warriors leave town. Players past and present often appear at events and fundraisers at Oakland schools.

“They provide motivational speaking to students. They provide tickets to different groups or different classes. They sponsor awards and giveaways at various schools,” Oakland Unified School District spokesperson Troy Flint said. “They’re obviously a positive civic force and we want to continue that relationship as long as possible.”

A Warriors move could cost the team millions of dollars to repay bonds used to remodel the Coliseum Arena in the mid-1990s. If the team moves before 2017, they would have to repay $90 million. If they leave after their lease is up, servicing those bonds could cost as much as $7 million a year until 2026.

An announcement is expected in San Francisco early Tuesday morning.


Golden State Warriors 

Golden State Warriors were first established in 1945, as the Philadelphia Warriors of the Basketball Association of America (BAA). In 1962, the franchise was relocated to San Francisco and became known as the San Francisco Warriors until 1971, when its name was changed to the current Golden State Warriors. With the opening of the Oakland Coliseum Arena in 1966, the Warriors began scheduling increasing numbers of home games at that venue.

San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland

population: 7,563,460



May 27, 2012

Sports economics hinder Oakland
Team’s primary stadium site not perceived to rival neighbors

By Matthew Artz
Oakland Tribune
The Oakland Coliseum complex is no Ebbets Field, but after last week’s announcement that the Golden State Warriors are heading across the bay, it could suffer the same fate.

When the Dodgers left their Brooklyn bandbox 55 years ago for the vast parking lots of Chavez Ravine, the team ushered in a new era of stadium and arena building.

Inexpensive land, parking and freeway access became paramount — not proximity to decaying city centers. Stadiums and arenas were becoming sports fortresses surrounded by moats of parking, cut off from neighborhoods and city life.

It was an age that gave the Bay Area Candlestick Park in 1960 and the Oakland Coliseum and Arena in 1966. And it saw the Dodgers’ old Brooklyn home demolished and turned into an apartment complex.

But what was old became new again in the sports world. Over the past 20 years, baseball and basketball teams have returned to urban cores, forging close ties with nearby corporate titans that can pay top dollar for premium seating.

Increased dependence on corporate sponsorships and the rising economic might of Silicon Valley now threaten Oakland’s preeminence in the Bay Area sports scene.

The Oakland A’s remain desperate to move to San Jose and tap into the valley’s corporate base but remain stymied by the San Francisco Giants, who want to keep that support for themselves. And the Golden State Warriors are chasing greater riches in San Francisco, even though the team draws well and has ample premium seating in Oakland.

As Oakland fights to keep its teams, industry leaders say it’s hampered by the fact that its main lure was a site more attractive 40 years ago than it is today.

“I think that’s a real problem,” Smith College economics Professor Andrew Zimbalist said. “The times have passed it by.”

Urban tide

In moving to San Francisco, the Warriors are following in the footsteps of nearly the entire NBA. Of the 22 NBA arenas built since 1992, 20 are in downtown areas, about half of which replaced arenas that were outside city centers.

Baseball has followed a similar trajectory, even though its stadiums require more seats and parking spaces. Since Baltimore’s Camden Yards ushered in the retro ballpark era in 1992, most of the 21 new baseball stadiums have been built in and around city centers.

The exception is football, whose relatively few home games and utilitarian revenue sharing policies make it less important for stadiums to be in top markets.

Several factors account for the downtown sports building boom. As governments poured money into reviving downtown areas during the last two decades, they included funds for stadiums and arenas in hopes that they could spur additional development.

Downtown facilities placed teams in much closer proximity to businesses that could pay for new luxury suites and club seating, which now account for about 10 percent of teams’ revenue.

“When you had suburbanization, the idea was that rich people were leaving the city center,” Zimbalist said. “Now the idea is to be close to the business community to get the corporate dollar, sell more corporate sponsorships and charge higher prices.”

A major hurdle for Oakland is that not only is its prime sports location on the outskirts of town, but it’s on the outskirts of a town that doesn’t have the corporate base of its two bigger neighbors.

Since the Coliseum was built, Silicon Valley has grown into the region’s economic engine; San Jose’s population has more than doubled, while Oakland’s has barely increased.

“Oakland always was, and still is, a slightly below average home for teams,” Stanford economics professor Roger Noll wrote in an email. “(And) while Oakland is roughly where it has been, San Francisco and especially San Jose have become more attractive.”


The Coliseum and Arena never spurred development in East Oakland, not even bars and restaurants where fans could go before and after games.

When city leaders presented proposed stadium sites to a major league baseball committee several years ago, the committee preferred a location near Jack London Square and downtown, officials said, because they wanted a new stadium to be “a place-maker.”

But with no funding to move ahead with a stadium near the city center, Oakland officials decided to try to create a city center around the Coliseum site.

The Coliseum City vision includes a new arena for the Warriors and new stadiums for the A’s and Raiders. The teams would have to finance the facilities, but they also could bring on development partners to build hotels, shops and restaurants.

“We don’t think this is about following the 1960s route,” Assistant City Administrator Fred Blackwell said. “We think it’s something new that has the same place-making potential that sites downtown would have.”

What the city doesn’t have yet is buy-in from the teams. The Warriors departure and a competing arena in San Francisco would be a severe blow to Coliseum City, economists said, because indoor arenas get more use than baseball and football stadiums — providing a steady stream of customers for adjoining restaurants and shops.

Perception vs. reality

Andy Dolich, a former executive with the A’s, 49ers and Warriors, concedes that within the sports industry the Coliseum site is “absolutely not perceived to be as good,” as San Francisco and San Jose.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not a viable home for all three teams.

“Logic tells you San Jose or San Francisco, but the historical reality says you could do just as well on 66th Avenue,” he said.

Dolich said teams can charge a slight premium in San Francisco and San Jose but that both the Warriors and the A’s — when the ownership was committed to Oakland — sold plenty of high-priced tickets.

There’s still a scenario in which Coliseum City could happen: if the Warriors’ San Francisco arena gets bogged down in environmental red tape; the A’s are sold to an ownership group willing to settle for a home that’s more practical than transformative; and the Raiders decide to invest in a stadium for themselves rather than becoming a tenant in Santa Clara or Los Angeles, then East Oakland may get a second reign as the king of Bay Area sports.

But if things don’t fall into place, the city risks having its teams pickpocketed. And if the teams leave, city officials have said they will turn away from sports and look to fill the Coliseum site with a mix of businesses and homes — not unlike what happened at Ebbets Field.

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