SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – For the first time since the start of the pandemic, a sold-out crowd was on hand at the Chase Center to watch the Golden State Warriors in a NBA preseason game Wednesday night.

The squeak of shoes on the court, and the seats were filled as the Warriors took on the Denver Nuggets.

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Think of it as Chase Center Opening Day 2.0.

“It does feel like first day of school jitters for sure,” YoYo Chan, VP of Government and Community Relations for the Golden State Warriors told KPIX 5.

Golden State’s inaugural 2019-20 season at Chase was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing NBA shutdown. The following season, also shortened by the pandemic, was played mostly without fans. A limited number of fans were allowed in for the final games.

On Wednesday night, a full-capacity crowd of 18,000 was ready to give the Dubs a full-throated welcome back to the court.

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Fans at Chase Center to watch the Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets preseason game on October 6, 2021. (CBS)

Fans at Chase Center to watch the Golden State Warriors vs. Denver Nuggets preseason game on October 6, 2021. (CBS)

“I was excited all day long. I was texting her at work ‘the game is tonight’,” said Warriors fan Alicia Prime, who went with her friend.

Even with vaccination checks at the door and COVID-19 protocols including mask-wearing in place, the thought of a full arena went from theory to reality.

“I think this is a really big moment for San Francisco. We’re gonna be the biggest indoor event to be hosted in San Francisco since the shutdown, which is a huge deal,” Chan said. “I think this is a signal for not only Warriors basketball and the NBA season starting, but San Francisco really coming back to life.”

The Warriors won the preseason opener against the Nuggets, 118-116. Golden State plays one more home preseason game Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Chase Center hosts the Warriors regular season home opener against the Los Angeles Clippers on October 21.