By Phil Matier

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The atmosphere inside Oracle Arena is electric as the Golden State Warriors start the series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

But the big question for the future is: What will happen if and when the Warriors move across the Bay to San Francisco?

It’s one of the oldest and largest NBA arenas in the country.

Scott Mckibben with the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority said, “We have a lot of things to offer…our location is one of the best in the country.”

Larry Reid, with the Oakland City Council said, “Every transportation but the Greyhound bus goes into the Coliseum.”

What the Oracle Arena doesn’t have — is San Francisco’s star power.

PJ Johnston, a Golden State Warriors spokesman, said the Warriors want to be in San Francisco’s Mission Bay.

“That’s where they want to be, that’s where they are going to be,” he said.

However, plans for a San Francisco arena, to be located next door to a hospital, has been met with a good deal of skepticism from the community.

It’s also a move that could wind up costing East Bay taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.

Chris Dobbins with the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority’s board said, “Over a thousand jobs are generated by tonight’s game.”

To keep Oracle profitable, the idea would be to book other sporting events and concerts to make up for the loss.

Reid said there could be more concerts or maybe a WNBA basketball team.

McKibben said, “NCAA basketball tournaments. More high school types of tournaments and events” could come to the arena if the Warriors leave.

But that would put them in direct competition with the Warriors.

Johnston said, “The Warriors new home in Mission Bay is going to be state of the art. Number one in sports, number one in entertainment.”

But the big question is: Who pays off the $60 million still owed on the Oracle Arena’s last renovation?

And that is where basketball could turn into hardball.

Dobbins said, “We want to make sure if the Warriors actually do move to San Francisco, they are not going to leave the taxpayers of Alameda County and Oakland on the hook.

Reid said the lease agreement clearly states that the Warriors are responsible for that.

However, Warriors spokesman Johnston said, “That’s obviously part of the context – but the lease is the lease – I mean the lease ends next year.”


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