By Michael Teich
The Golden State Warriors' star-studded lineup and three championship rings over the last four seasons have been a major revenue driver for the team's business, but the next phase of growth will rely on local real estate, said the team's chief financial officer Jennifer Cabalquinto.
"Owning our own arena, and the real estate development that we're building around it, really does secure our place here in the Bay Area for a long time to come," she said. "We've got an office development project adjacent to the arena as well as retail that we're building around the arena."
The Warriors are preparing to move to the Chase Center in San Francisco for the 2019-2020 season, leaving behind Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., the oldest arena in the NBA. The new project is costing the team more than $1 billion to develop, while JPMorgan Chase is paying what is estimated to be the biggest deal with an NBA team for naming rights.
Cabalquinto isn't worried that the new location will cost the team Bay Area fans, who have collectively contributed to 300 straight sell-out home games.
"While we may lose some fans in the far east Bay Area because of the long commute, overall we're managing to maintain the core of our fan base, and many, many of our season ticket holders are renewing their seats and coming with us to the new building," she said.
To improve the accessibility of the Warriors' games, the team is testing a new $100 monthly pass for fans looking to explore the arena. But there's a catch ー they won't have any view of the court.
Even still, Cabalquinto thinks the incentive is there.
"We think it's a really great way to continue to bring the community in to share in the excitement of the team," she said.
"It's a limited number of passes, but we'd like to try and see how it goes and afford our fans a low price point to be able to take part in this final season at Oracle."
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