Warriors Commit to San Francisco - NBC Bay Area

Warriors Commit to San Francisco

Team is joined by several dignitaries who say they will be in the city by 2017.



    Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob said the Warriors are moving to San Francisco and the team put a lot of time making its decision. (Published Tuesday, May 22, 2012)

    The Warriors'  news conference Tuesday in San Francisco was more about appearance than details.

    The team's owners welcomed on a makeshift stage at Piers 30-32 by everyone and anyone who could play a role in the team's plan to move across the bay to a new 19,000-seat arena in the shadow of the Bay Bridge by 2017. The team currently plays at Oakland's Oracle Arena, and the lease expires there in five years.

    Some Oakland leaders told the Oakland Tribune they would vow to keep the team in their city. The Warriors' willingness to leave is a "slap in the face," said Chris Dobbins, founder of Save Oakland Sports and a member of the Coliseum Authority.

    Still, the teams' leadership vowed "The City" will be their new home.

    Joe Lacob and Peter Guber were joined by NBA Commissioner David Stern, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, the entire San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Calif. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Travel Association CEO Joe D'Alessandro to announce the team's intent to move to the city when its lease on the Oakland Arena runs out.

    "We have just celebrated the Warriors 50th season in the Bay Area and now with this announcement we embark on the next 50 years," Lacob said. "And with the cost of this arena it may take 50 years to pay it back."

    There were few details about the arena, what it might look like and how it will be built beyond Lacob saying that the team would finance the stadium with private money.

    Lee said the pier needs a lot of clean up and restoration work before it can be ready for an arena.

    Some estimates have projected that it may cost up to $100 million to make the pier safe for construction.

    Warriors' co-owner Peter Guber said cost is not a concern for the ownership group.

    "We will play here in 2017," he said. "Take that as a promise we plan to fulfill... we're all in."

    The mayor touted the economic impact the construction of a new arena would have on the area and how many jobs it would create. Lee also said the city was entirely behind the project.

    "Everywhere this city is committed to working with the Warriors to make sure we have this arena built by the 2017 season," he said.

    Newsom, San Francisco's former mayor, was also at the news conference. He explained his attendance by saying the arena is going to be built on state-owned property so it will need the approval of the state Lands Commission, which he chairs.

    He promised to deliver that approval.

    The ownership group also hopes the stadium will help make the team a more attractive place to play for big money free agents.

    The Warriors have lost out on several of the NBA's biggest stars who were available in free agency or in trades, since Lacob and Guber took over the team 18 months ago.

    The team last played in San Francisco 41 years ago when it was more difficult for players to dictate where they where going to play.

    Current team executive and former NBA legend Jerry West said he remembers the team's days at the Cow Palace and he can't wait for the new arena.

    "Can you imagine an arena by the name the Cow Palace? And believe me it was a Cow Palace...and to think what's going to be built on this site," he said. "To come here, to a venue like this, my God, If I was a player, this would be my resting place."

    Warriors' President and Chief of Operations Rick Welts said the team has been welcomed by the San Francisco Giants to the neighborhood.

    Lacob said the team has been meeting with Lee and his staff for about five months negotiating a move to San Francisco.

    He said the team's fan base is split 50-50 between the East Bay and the "West Bay" and that played into the team's decision to move to San Francisco.