On May 19 Golden State Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob stated: It is going to happen, let there be no doubt, when speaking about the new arena the team is going to privately finance and build in San Francisco on Piers 3032. As the Warriors continue to unveil details on the deal there is a checklist of key points that will tell the tale at the start of the 2017-2018 season.
1.) Debt load and project financing: The partnership led by Lacob and Peter Guber paid 450 million to buy the team. Add on another 600 million of privately financed cash to pay for the arena and you are talking a cool billion. How they make the arena project into a positive cash register will be a tricky financial transaction.
2.) Bond payoff in Oakland: If they move theyll reportedly be on the hook for an estimated 70-95 million relating to the Coliseum arena retrofit. With the As and Raiders' future in Oakland a question, you would think that the city will fight hard to get paid if the Warriors leave town.
3.) Premium seating: It's assumed there will be price escalation in the new arena, but until the number of suites and their prices are revealed its a waiting game. Keep your eyes open for the new arena preview center which will be constructed a few years out to sell premium seats, suites and and season tickets for the new arena.
4.) Naming rights: This is a critical component of any privately financed sports venue. The 49ers have not announced a partner or the price tag for naming rights on their stadium. Industry estimates say they are shopping a deal between 300-400 million over 20 years. This number would help set the market for the Warriors. Pacific Bell (AT&T) paid 50 million to the Giants over 24 years.
5.) Breaking ground and driving piles: For a 2017 opener they will have to start actual arena construction 24-26 months out, which means the summer of 2015.
6.) The San Francisco Board of Supervisors: No matter what mayor Ed Lee says, navigating this project through the Board of Supervisors will be no slam dunk.
7.) The Past is prologue: It took the politically savvy Giants 16 years to realize the dream that became AT&T Park. The new football stadium that's being constructed in Santa Clara was preceded by 13 years of heavy lifting. Piers 3032 have had four previous unsuccessful attempts at development, including the most recent by the city and software billionaire Larry Ellison. The piers were going to be the hub for the events of Americas Cup 2013. The five-year construction timetable set by Warriors ownership is very ambitious.
8.) San Francisco seals: Anytime a construction project touches San Francisco Bay a significant (EIR) Environmental Impact Review process ensues -- especially for one of this magnitude. Dealing with CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) guidelines tends to slow down even the most optimistic developers. The lineup of groups with oversight and input on the project will include:
Save The Bay
S.F. Bay Conservation and Development Commission
Port of San Francisco
California Coastal Commission
Save the Bay
Bay Planning Coalition
California Dept. of Fish & Game
Bay Institute of San Francisco
San Francisco Board of Supervisors
California Land Commission
Sailors Union of the Pacific
Embarcaderians: any number of community groups that will look to preserve the unique nature of the Embarcadero.
9.) San Francisco Giants: On April 4, the Giants announced a mixed use residential and commercial development on 27 acres at Mission Rock. The Giants and their development partner Cordish will break ground in 2015. Initially it looked like the Giants and the Warriors were going to partner on this land for the new arena.
10.) Warrior fans: No doubt this is one of the most loyal groups in all of sports. The Warriors' season ticket base is one of the healthiest in the NBA. You can make a solid case that outside of New York, L.A., Chicago, Dallas, Miami and San Antonio, the Bay Area is the best market for NBA basketball in the country.
11.) Warrior worriors: Its critical to win when you are marketing a new building, as the 49ers proved last season. The Warriors need to reverse a playoff drought that has left them out of postseason play 17 out of the last 18 years. The next three seasons will be hugely important to the success at the negotiating table for the project to move forward on time.
Over his 40-year career, sports executive Andy Dolich has held positions at the San Francisco 49ers, Oakland A's, Golden State Warriors, Memphis Grizzlies and Philadelphia 76ers. He is the Sports Business Insider for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.