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Future of Oracle Arena Still Unknown

Golden State Warriors

Oracle Arena is now in what is expected to be its final years hosting the Golden State Warriors. What happens to arena once the Warriors depart is still to be determined, according to officials. 

The sports scene in Oakland is in a state of flux, something that could affect both Oracle Arena and the neighboring Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The NFL’s Raiders have already obtained permission to relocate to Las Vegas, where they are expected to move in 2020, while MLB’s A’s are conducting a search for a new ballpark in Oakland. Meanwhile, the Warriors are planning to move across the bay to San Francisco and into the Chase Center by as early as the 2019-2020 season.

Oakland officials will have to consider the fate of Oracle Arena and the Coliseum as they make their plans. At this point, options that would keep the arena open after the Warriors depart are still on the table, as is the possibility of knocking down the arena to clear the way for future development.

The Warriors have already extended their lease at Oracle Arena as they await the opening of the Chase Center. A key point in determining the fate of their current home could be the debt remaining from renovations completed during the 1990’s. The Warriors are required to pay $7.5 million annually toward the debt for as long as they continue to use Oracle Arena, and the tab currently stands at $68 million. What happens in the future will have to be resolved by the Warriors and the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority. More from The San Francisco Chronicle:

The Coliseum authority insists that the Warriors are on the hook to retire the entire debt.

“We didn’t back away from our position on the debt” during the lease extension talks, said Coliseum authority executive Scott McKibben, “and they didn’t either.”

Warriors spokesman P.J. Johnston said only that the team is “pleased we are playing in Oakland next season, and Oakland is going to benefit from it financially — and the debt issue is separate and likely will be resolved through arbitration.”

If the Warriors do pick up at least some of the cost, we’re told, that could open the door for a developer to step in with an offer to pay off the remaining debt in exchange for being able to clear and build on the property.

But Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told us that any decisions about the fate of Oracle Arena also hinge on what happens at the Coliseum, and whether the A’s actually depart along with the Raiders.

Oracle Arena turned 50 last year, and is currently the oldest arena in the NBA.

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