How Different Will Warriors' Fan Base Be When The New Moo Opens?

Now that the Golden State Warriors are only one Supreme Court ruling away from being free to change their name to San Francisco Warriors, we will see the power of unrelenting victory to mask bad news like leaving town.

As expected, the California State Court of Appeals voted, 3-0, to reject a challenge to the arena by a group of people affiliated with UCSF Hospital claiming that the environmental impact report done on the Mission Bay arena site was flawed and incomplete. That leaves only a last-ditch appeal that is unlikely to be upheld given the unanimous vote of the appeals court, and then the construction of their new home.

The New Moo, in honor of the Cow Palace, the pre-Rice-A-Roni San Francisco treat that once helped house the Warriors.

Oh, the Warriors prefer that you call it Chase Center, after the megabank that paid north of $200 million for the naming rights, but San Francisco is always too quick to discard its glorious mutant past, so The New Moo it is. And I dare anyone in the Warriors front office to try and change my mind on this.

But we digress.

While the Raiders are trying to leave and the Athletics are waiting for them to do so, the Warriors, who advertised their move years ago and needed four years of failed PR-mongering and some better lawyering just to get to this point, have the path to their future clearly delineated.

Namely, they’re using the bridge in the middle of their logo to plan their getaway.

Compared to the hand-wringing that has come with the fates of the Raiders and Athletics over the years, there has been very little discussion of the Warriors’ departure from Oakland, mostly because they haven’t spent a lot of time trying to leverage one site against another. Joe Lacob said he wanted to go half a decade ago, and after bumbling his way to ignominious failure at Piers 30 and 32, he assigned club president Rick Welts to reset the team’s strategic sights, and Welts did better and more diligent neighborhood ground work to get what Lacob wanted while minimizing the pain of the team's departure in the court of public opinion.

After all, a fait accompli always goes down better than an argument.

The next item on the agenda, though, is to determine if the crowds at the Coliseum that have come accustomed to victory (at a rate of 82 percent, 92 percent if you’re only counting home games) will suddenly pay attention to the notion that the Warriors are moving six miles west as the sturgeon flies, or 115 minutes as the internal combustion engine idles.

And it's hard to say that they've been distracted from the nightly Zaza Pachulia Show to fret too much about the team's future home. When someone you know is comfortable with being called Zaza, you tend to forget all your other issues.

People have offered theories about the displaced Warrior experience, to be sure, because theories are free in a world that is increasingly price-tagged. Some say that lifelong EastBay-ians will resent losing the best thing they’ve got going, entertainment-wise, and turn on Lacob and his courtside pals. Others say that fans will go where the action is, and the Warriors are the action, at least until Stephen Curry is ascended directly into heaven. Others still will say that whatever fans are too attached to the East Bay to cross the Bay Bridge will be eagerly replaced by deeper-pocketed West Bay droids.

The answer, of course, is that nobody knows how much fan base reconstruction will be required when the Warriors finally relocate from Lion Creek (the spit of water that brackets the Coliseum) to the more romantic east coast of the Bay Area’s westest city.

In other words, how different will the fan base be in 2019, when The New Moo opens? Hard to tell. The prices will be higher, the acoustics will be less imposing, and the general ambience will be more clement for visitors, because there has never been a new arena built anywhere that has been as inhospitable as the one it replaced. Boston Garden, Chicago Stadium, Maple Leaf Gardens, The Spectrum, The Mecca, Portland’s Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix’ Veterans Memorial Coliseum . . . they were all built differently, with steeper decks, more concrete and less space into which to cram humans.

The New Moo will be far too hospitable, with too many spacious amenities and not enough face-your-doom-like-an-adult-you-whiny-baby grimness, and it will almost surely lack the overwhelming Turkish-brothel-quality second-hand pot smoke of the old Coliseum.

But it looks pretty much like a done deal now, thereby providing Lacob and Welts and Peter Guber and Beyonce and Larry David and Phil Hellmuth and E-40 and Floyd Mayweather and Drake and all the other high-rolling rollers a new place to be at courtside, comfortable in their luxurious swaddling.

True, the gifts that Oakland provided, both material and atmospheric, will disappear because the Oakland Experience does not travel well. In other words, it doesn't thrive in ostentation, but in attitude.

But at least the construction of the new dump will give us the opportunity to type “The New Moo” a lot. No matter how you may feel about the team's move, I'm good with that much.

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