What to Know
The Chase Center is the new home of the Golden State Warriors, in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood
The arena will host concerts and other non-baseketball events throughout the year
Restaurants and stores will surround the Chase Center's front plaza, where an 85-foot LED screen will show movies and sporting events
It's a new season in a new home for the Golden State Warriors, moving across the Bay to the 18,064-seat Chase Center — a venue whose designers say they wanted to build a better fan experience from the ground up.
With test patterns displayed on all of its massive walls of LEDs — including the largest center-hung scoreboard in the NBA — the Chase Center smelled more of new carpet and upholstery than the beer and burger aromas more often associated with live sports. Touring the building as workers put the finishing touches on its many bars and clubs, Warriors Senior Vice President John Beaven, who oversees ticket sales, explained some of the design decisions that went into what's now San Francisco's largest indoor entertainment venue.
The Plaza & Lobby
"This entire district will slowly come to life over the course of the first year," Beaven explained, strolling across the sunny plaza that leads to the Chase Center's west entrance. The arena is flanked by glass buildings where stores and restaurants are slated to open during the course of the basketball season. To the left of the main entrance, a 10,000-square-foot Warriors team store will be open 365 days a year.
Towering above the plaza's realistic artificial turf, an 85-foot LED wall will show movies and playoff games to the public as they pass by or gather on amphitheater-style seats. The colossal, gently curved Samsung display is a familiar sight to those who've traveled to Las Vegas or New York, but it's the first outdoor LED wall of any kind in San Francisco.
The Chase Center's lobby is built to feel spacious, with a wide-open box office that resembles an airline ticket counter. Designers wanted a "high-end hotel concierge" feel, rather than a fortress of bulletproof glass.
Inside the lobby, where sunlight streams in through windows three stories tall, art hangs from the ceiling and walls, and a box office that resembles an airline ticket counter replaces the usual windows of bulletproof glass.
"We really wanted to take the approach of a high-end hotel concierge type feel, where you feel welcome," Beaven said. "It sets the tone."
The Budweiser Legends Club
The Warriors boast that the Chase Center has a bar or club to accommodate every fan in the building — and some of those spots come with a view of the court. One such club is the Budweiser Legends Club, which looks out into the arena bowl from the top of the lower level.
"Fans in this space will actually be able to grab a drink, and they can just hang out here, or they can go back to their seats," Beaven said.
The arena bowl at the Chase Center is surrounded by bars, clubs and eateries with a view of the action. The Budweiser Legends Club features a full bar and table seating, so fans can grab a drink without missing a thing.
Though it's not right on the floor, the club somehow feels close to the action — a feature Beaven attributes to careful design of the Chase Center's sight lines.
"We really wanted that intimate feel," Beaven said. "So this building is not configured to be an NHL building, because that would impact your basketball sight lines."
Bringing seats closer to the court than they could be if the Warriors left room for a professional hockey rink, Beaven said the building will also be great for concerts — once the massive LED scoreboard retracts into the rafters.
"It's the largest center-hung (scoreboard) in the NBA," Beaven said proudly of the glowing behemoth that comprises 9,699 square feet of LEDs — a square footage nearly equal to that of the Warriors team store.
"There'll be opportunities to run highlights, we'll do some unique things when players are checking in and out of the game," he said.
Beaven said multimedia will be an integral part of the Chase Center fan experience, and the scoreboard will be at the center of that.
Though Oracle's name is no longer on the Warriors' building, it did retain naming rights to the Oracle Suite Level — a ring of luxury boxes twice the size of those at the team's former venue in Oakland. Beaven said the suites, leased out on an annual basis, are aimed squarely at corporations.
"The great thing with live sports is it's one of the last opportunities to really pull people together and enjoy in real time," Beaven said. "So it is a tremendous business tool."
The Chase Center's luxury suites are twice the size of those in Oracle Arena. The Warriors designed the suites as a business tool for corporations looking to bring clients and partners together around live sports.
The suites each feature 12 plush leather seats on a balcony that's cantilevered out over the lower level — a move designed to bring suite guests closer to the action than the luxury boxes at Oracle Arena. From Golden State Warriors logo embossed on the headrests to the basketball-textured leather covers on the food and drink menus, attention to detail is the name of the game when it comes to the Warriors' highest-paying customers.
The seats in the Chase Center's luxury suites are cantilevered out over the lower level, bringing them closer to the court. Giving the venue an intimate feel was a key factor in architectural decisions like this one.
The Upper Level
There's nothing made to feel cheap about the "cheap seats" at the Chase Center. Never mind the parade of San Francisco eateries like Nate's BBQ and Tony G's Pizza that have booths along the extra-wide concourse — the view is enough to make a trip up to the top deck worthwhile.
"We've got a direct line of sight to the Bay," Beaven said, gesturing across the water to the Bay Bridge and the Port of Oakland in the distance. "I think this is gonna be something where fans just come and congregate."
The Chase Center's wide concourses offer sweeping views of the city and the Bay. Here on the upper level, grab a hot dog while gazing across the water to the Port of Oakland. Below, the silver "Seeing Spheres" sculpture is quickly becoming an Instagram magnet.
Along with a self-serve soda machine that pours soft drinks into eco-friendly reusable cups, the upstairs concourse provides a view of the Chase Center's new Seeing Spheres sculpture — a cluster of giant silver orbs with mirrored surfaces that allow visitors to step inside an infinite reflection — and take selfies there.
The Modelo Cantina
Though the Chase Center's designers strove to give every seat a great view, there's one spot where the view isn't the main attraction. Way up in the rafters, the Modelo Cantina may have the farthest seats from the court, but it might just come with the best perks.
"Any fan in the building will have access to this space," Beaven said, although the Cantina also has its own ticketed seating section.
Way up in the nosebleeds, the Modelo Cantina serves a buffet dinner and a complement of cocktails to any fan with a ticket. From here, you can see the gantry where touring concerts will hang lighting and sound equipment. The scoreboard disappears into the ceiling when not in use.
The Modelo Cantina serves a dinner buffet and a full cocktail bar, with seating at long tables facing the court. It will be open during basketball games, and for some concerts that are held in-the-round.
Peering down into the arena bowl from the edge of the Cantina's semicircular balcony, Beaven said with a smile, "We're pretty confident, based on early reaction, that our fans are gonna love this place."