We end 2019 with a countdown of the five biggest stories of the year on Arena Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #1: The Golden State Warriors open Chase Center to wide acclaim.
Located in San Francisco’s suddenly trendy Mission Bay neighborhood and nestled amongst plenty of new and future development, Chase Center is part of a neighborhood makeover that began with the opening of Oracle Park by the San Francisco Giants in 2000 and will continue in coming years with new projects on the drawing board. Chase Center is the centerpiece of an 11-acre Warriors-led development that includes two 14-story office buildings, plenty of restaurants/retail and, down the road, a 133-room hotel. It’s designed as an inside-out facility, with a large public plaza leading to an aluminum-clad circular arena—a journey that’s united by technology every step of the way.
Today’s arena means more than just seating arranged around a court or a rink: a modern arena now offers an immersive experience no matter the offering: sporting event, concert, or event. Part of that is the arena’s physical arrangement; part of it is technology.
In terms of physical layout, with 18,064 seats, Chase Center sports a smaller capacity than the former Warriors home, Oracle Arena, but occupies a much larger footprint, thanks to larger suites, wide concourses and more social spaces. The bowl itself feels very intimate: because the decision was made early in the design process to not support an ice sheet, seating sits closer to the court. Creating a more intimate space also sits within the multipurpose aspect of Chase Center: almost 200 events are planned for Chase Center, with the 44 or so NBA games (both preseason and regular season) representing a minority of those dates. Chase Center has already become a major concert venue, hosting the likes of Elton John, Chance the Rapper and Marc Anthony before the NBA season launched. Further work in the arena will allow for a 2,000-5,000-capacity venue created in the existing seating bowl, complete with its own walls, ceiling, stage, set lights and sound system. Most arenas feature a setup where part of the bowl is curtained off for smaller events; it’s fitting that Chase Center will go the extra mile to create a venue within a venue.
And Chase Center offers plenty of technology. It sports the most square feet of videoboards and displays in any indoor venue, according to Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Welts—some 53.6 million individual LED pixels, according to Samsung officials. The star of this show is the massive center-hung scoreboard. With a crystal-clear display and an abundance of data displayed (ranging from a simple box score to advanced NBA stats), the center-hung board is actually a combination of 15 displays, varying from 6.7mm pixel pitch on the main displays and the upper halo ring, to 4mm pixel pitch on the underbelly displays, amassing a total of more than 26.3 million individual LEDs. Add in a few ribbon boards ringing the bowl with some real-time NBA score updates and you’ve got plenty of display power for every seat in the arena—even for the cheap seats at the far reaches the seating bowl.
There’s one more reason why the Chase Center debut is our #1 story of the year: it represents the state of the art when it comes to a mixed-use development anchored by a sports facility. The Warriors took on the economic risk here on a development that includes two 14-story office buildings slated to house over 4,000 Uber employees, with the two ground levels sporting 27 retail locations and 20 or so restaurants. Arenas aren’t seen these days solely as standalone venues, and the Chase Center development is one that so far has worked.