NBA’s Warriors switch approach for new arena

NBA basketball team Golden State Warriors has agreed a deal to buy 12 acres of land in San Francisco’s Mission Bay area to build its new arena.

The Warriors struck a deal with the Salesforce.com customer-management software firm to buy the land, on which it intends to build an 18,000 capacity facility in time for the 2018-19 NBA season.

In a departure from the usual model of municipal assistance in US sports developments, the arena will be privately financed on private land. The deal with Salesforce.com involves no public property or public subsidy and there are no naming or sponsorship rights attached to it.

The Warriors’ purchase of land in Mission Bay brings a definitive end to its initial and controversial plans to build on San Francisco’s waterfront that ran into protests concerning traffic and environmental issues.

“We've spent the past two years listening,” Warriors president Rick Welts said. “We've learned a lot. We're proud of the plans we've put forward to date, and we're thrilled to announce this great leap forward.”

The Mission bay site is located within the city’s 3rd, 16th and South Streets and Terry Francois Boulevard – an area comprehensively serviced by public transport. Across the Boulevard from the arena, a 5.5 acre waterfront park will be constructed.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee told Bay City News: “(It’s) a big win for our city. (The arena) will provide a spectacular location and a more certain path to bring a transit-rich, state-of-the-art sports and entertainment arena to San Francisco. The new Mission Bay arena will generate new jobs and millions of dollars in new tax revenue for our city.”

The Warriors currently play at Oakland’s Oracle Arena, the club’s home for the past 42 years. The franchise played in San Francisco from 1962 to 1971 and in May 2012 revealed an initial plan to build a new sports and entertainment arena on the city’s waterfront in time for the 2017-18 NBA season.