The new Chase Center has plenty of impressive numbers. On a media tour Monday, team president Rick Welts boasted that 70 percent of season ticket holders from last season at Oracle Arena have re-upped for the inaugural season across the Bay.
Sure, parking’s going to be tight, and dual-game-night traffic on double days with the San Francisco Giants may be the stuff of nightmares, but hey, look at all this stuff!
RELATED: Chase Center Tour Photo Gallery
The center-hung video board has the largest screen area in the entire NBA, with 75 million LEDs. There’s two inches more legroom for everyone, seats are at least two inches wider than those at Oracle and, most crucially for anyone who’s lived in the East Bay: There will be four Bake Sale Betty’s locations. I ate three sandwiches on my own before the tour started *kisses fingers*.
The 44 Oracle suites are on one level — allowing the top deck to feel almost on top of the action — and the 32 court-side lounges under the lower seating bowl feel like the fanciest studio apartment you could ever have, complete with your own, personal court-side camera to watch the action, as though you were in one of the 16 seats that come with. Oh, and there’s a wine vault, where modern-day robber barons can have their vintage of choice delivered and stored, then poured by their own “butler.” Suffice it to say that Monday’s tour would be the last time anyone in a sports writer’s tax bracket got to see the place (and no, the butlers weren’t there).
— Ryan Gorcey (@RyanGorcey) August 26, 2019
The theater-box level slung under the top deck are lush and intimate, the J.P. Morgan Club is pure marble-and-gold,1920s-styled swank (that’s how you win over a guy who used to wear a fedora to work) and the artwork — lovingly curated, local, Warriors-centric and very Bay Area, throughout every level — is stupendous. The fact that there are premium-type experiences open to anyone with any levelticket — the Modelo Cantina, with its bar and reservations for everyday folks, and 140 season tickets for the moderately-heeled — is a plus, even if there are about four season seats in that Cantina area at the top of the arena where you literally cannot see the court (thanks, Romeo-and-Juliet balconies! Wherefore art thou not obstructed-view seats?).
I, for one, appreciate how the clubs go (in ascending order) from the Chase Club, to the JP Morgan, to the Budweiser, to the Pepsi, to finally the Modelo. The higher you go, the more blue-collar it gets. Still waiting on the Copenhagen-and-RC Cola Cabana level.
Welts was keen to note what have become the arena’s watch words: Transit first. There are 300 bike share ports, the Muni stop has been expanded to allow four trains and that dedicated ferry stop, it’s a’comin’ (just like the Union-Pacific!), just as soon as some pesky municipal funding comes around. Always with that red tape, right?
And, speaking of red, how about that fire engine I saw, sirens screaming, crawling at half the speed of smell up one of the streets just two blocks from the Center as I left?
For all these great numbers that the Warriors can boast at 73 Warriors Way, the one I kept coming back to was: One. One life. That’s all that would have to be lost for this whole endeavor to not be worth the millions it cost.
If someone gets injured on a Warriors game night, or anywhere in the Mission Rock development during a Giants day game, or someone gets a skewer through their throat trying to be overly ambitious with a kebab at Social Spark SF, or Heaven forbid someone needs an ambulance on a day where both the Giants and Warriors play, the closest hospitals — Kaiser and UCSF Benioff — are less than two blocks away. But, instead of heading straight there, they’d be diverted to another facility. In San Francisco traffic.
How much longer would that diversion take? A minute longer? Two? From UCSF Benioff to Zuckerberg San Francisco General, with zero traffic, at 3 p.m. on a Monday, it takes eight minutes, so, let’s say maybe six by ambulance. That doesn’t count how long it would take the emergency vehicles to get to you first (response times up to twice as long, as our Joe Fitzgerald-Rodriguez reported).
It takes about seven minutes to read a 1100-word story — not a game recap; I’m talking a big feature. It’s an eternity in the medical world. It’s the time that could separate life-saving treatment and being dead on arrival.
When I left Chase Center on Monday to head to Lot A at Oracle Park — a two-minute drive — it took 10, because there was construction, and I had to double back and go around. Until the Mission Rock development is completed — and who knows if it truly ever will be — there will be that same traffic trying to navigate a Byzantine maze of single-lane streets wrapped around constant construction, streets that may or may not be open, streets that may or may not be one way in your direction and may run into dead ends. It will be multiple times worse on game days, and exponentially more horrific on double game days. Even though I didn’t have anybody dying in my back seat, I was screaming obscenities, and I grew up with Los Angeles traffic.
Sure, all the amenities are great. The six to-be-announced stars on Warriors Walk will be a fantastic tribute. The Oracle Arena roof-inspired decor in the locker room is superb. All the marble and wood and leg room and fat-guy-seats and club levels are just dandy. I just hope they’re not to die for.