The Golden State Warriors destroyed the Cleveland Cavaliers 126-91 last night in a rematch of the last two NBA Finals match-ups. While fans celebrated the win, team ownership will celebrate another victory today when it breaks ground on their new $1 billion arena, Chase Center, set to open for the 2019-2020 season. Warriors brass, along with coach Steve Kerr, forward Kevin Durant and San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee are expected to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the venue located in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood.
Stephen Curry and his Warriors teammates will have a new home arena starting in 2019. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The arena faced numerous legal challenges and concerns over traffic in the area, but the project is moving forward. The Warriors ownership group, led by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, are privately financing the venue to replace Oracle Arena in Oakland, which is the NBA’s oldest building.
The new 18,000-seat arena will be state-of-the-art with emerging technologies befitting its locale in the Bay Area. The arena will anchor 11 acres of restaurants, offices and public plazas.
“This new venue will not only ensure our beloved Warriors remain in the Bay Area, but it will fill a void in San Francisco’s portfolio of arts and events facilities,” said Mayor Lee in a statement. “It will provide enormous economic benefits, including thousands of new jobs and millions in new tax revenues for The City. And the Warriors are doing it the right way — financing this arena entirely without public funding.”
Arena funding got a major boost when JPMorgan Chase locked up naming rights 12 months ago for 20 years at a price estimated to be in the neighborhood of $300 million. It is the richest arena naming rights deal ever in the U.S.
“We have been looking forward to this day since we first had the vision of building a privately financed state-of-the-art sports and entertainment complex in San Francisco are excited for what this will bring to the city of San Francisco and the entire Bay Area community,” said Warriors President Rick Welts. “Chase Center and the surrounding area will serve as a destination for the entire community and we will continue to work to make sure it is the best experience possible for everyone to enjoy NBA basketball, concerts, family shows, conventions and more.”
Lacob and Guber bought the Warriors for $450 million in 2010. It will go down as one of the great investments in sports. The ownership group got in shortly before Steve Ballmer paid $2 billion for the Los Angeles Clippers and the NBA inked a $24-billion TV contract with ESPN and TNT at triple the prior yearly rate.
The Warriors turned into a juggernaut on the court as well, winning 85% of their games since the start of the 2014-15 season while guard Stephen Curry became a two-time NBA MVP. The Warriors set the NBA-record for regular season wins last year with 73 before falling to the Cavs in the NBA Finals. The Warriors had the NBA’s highest average cable TV rating of 9.76, more than double the previous season.
Ticket prices at the Chase Center are expected to be sky-high, but the Warriors shouldn’t have a problem filling the building. The season ticket waiting list was at 32,000 to start the current season with a renewal rate of 99.5%. Only 23 seats were not renewed during the offseason.
Locking up the new arena and the success on the court pushed the value of the Warriors up a league-best 46% to $1.9 billion in our NBA valuations published 12 months ago. Look for the value of the Warriors to be up again next month in our updated look at the business of the NBA.