Lee says Warriors stadium should rely on private financing 

click to enlarge Ed Lee says he would welcome the Warriors to San Francisco if they build their own stadium. - MAYWONG_PHOTOS/FLICKR (CC)
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  • Ed Lee says he would welcome the Warriors to San Francisco if they build their own stadium.

If the Golden State Warriors want a new stadium in San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee has two words for the team: private financing.

The basketball franchise that once played in The City now makes its home in Oakland’s aging Oracle Arena, the NBA’s oldest functioning facility. But the Warriors are considering options for a new stadium in 2017 when its Oakland lease runs out, and the team has been in discussions with the Mayor’s Office and the Giants about a new home near AT&T Park.

“If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that sports teams are also businesses, and they want to be successful as well,” Lee said during an economic forecast event in Oakland Tuesday morning. “The Giants have been extremely successful owning their own stadium.”

San Francisco voters have traditionally resisted backing sports stadiums with public money. The Giants pushed two ballot proposals in the late ‘80s for a partially taxpayer-financed waterfront stadium, but both were rejected. In 2000, the Giants opened the first privately financed Major League ballpark since Dodger Stadium was constructed in 1962.

The cold public response to funding sports franchises — plus the recent loss of financing tools to revive blighted areas through San Francisco’s Redevelopment Agency — appear to be at the forefront of the mayor’s considerations on a new stadium.

“It’s their private investments that have to be laid out there,” Lee said of the Warriors. “I’m hopeful sports teams will look at San Francisco, and not just for their sports. … The venue has to be successful well beyond those games.”

The Warriors offered no comment on the mayor’s remarks Tuesday and referred to a December statement simply saying the team is mulling its options, including Oakland. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who spoke alongside Lee Tuesday, has floated the idea of a “Coliseum City,” an integrated three-stadium complex designed to retain the Warriors, A’s and Raiders — all of which have considered moving.

Lee didn’t share much else about the deal because he said he’s “not privy to all the details,” but the mayor said he envisions a move for the Warriors to San Francisco’s most notably revitalized corridor — Mission Bay.

“I think that’s where the attraction is,” Lee said. “Details to follow.”


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Dan Schreiber

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