SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- In sports vernacular, the Warriors just went from a half-court shot to a slam dunk while the Raiders just took the game to overtime.
If you were busy watching the President-elect have dinner with Mitt Romney, you might have missed two huge Bay Area happenings today.
Let's start with the slam dunk.
The Warriors are moving their act to San Francisco. A ruling by the California State Court of Appeals cleared the way for the Chase Center to move forward. Mission Bay Alliance tried every argument possible, ranging from traffic to noise to pollution. In the end, the court gave the Warriors the green light and they're expected to break ground early next year with an opening date for the 2019-2020 season.
In the words of Mary MacGregor, I'm torn between two lovers on the Chase Center. While San Francisco needs and deserves a first-class arena, (Is there a major city in the U.S. without one?), it's going to come at a steep price to longtime Warrior fans that suffered through decades of mediocrity before Steph Curry took personal ownership of the NBA.
The fans are going to get screwed, plain and simple. But PSL's and high-priced seats are the landscape of professional sports and average income-earners need not apply. This isn't your timeout anymore. The Bud's still for you, but the Chase Center is not. But hey, thanks for helping us through the dark times.
On the other hand, The City needs this. They blew it on the 49ers and will get bailed out of that football-less fiasco by Joe Lacob and company. The Cow Palace? Really? San Francisco will reap the benefits of a first-class indoor venue. Concerts, the professional tennis tour, the U.S. Figure Skating Championships will all come flocking. Even the homeless are going to love this place.
And while the Warriors make their fast break to The City, Oakland might not drop the ball on the Raiders after all.
Mayor Libby Schaaf's "framework" finally has a picture in it. Ronnie Lott's group turns out to be Fortress Investment Group of New York which is willing to pony up $600 million for a new stadium. Throw in $200 million in naming rights, $200 million from the NFL (the consolation prize for losing out in LA) and, theoretically, $300 million for Mark Davis.
According to Matier and Ross, 125 acres would be used for the stadium with the remaining 35 acres used on retail including possibly restaurants, bars, maybe a hotel.
Unlike Chase Center, the Raiders stadium is far from a slam dunk. Las Vegas remains the front-runner. But Oakland's mayor can head to the NFL meetings with a concrete plan complete with a stadium plan, a financial plan, and a venue on which to build.
There are some serious lingering questions.
What is Ronnie Lott's long term goal? Can he buy in? Would Mark Davis allow it? Is Davis too far down the road? Can Oakland's and Alameda's political pawns work with the queen? Learn from San Francisco, guys.
Look, I don't know if the Raiders are coming or going. But hat's off to Libby Schaaf and Ronnie Lott. With all due respect, Raider Nation, your team might be saved by a Hall of Fame 49er and a mayor who might just pull off the impossible with a new baseball stadium and football stadium.
Al Davis is rolling over in his grave.
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