The NBA's Golden State Warriors revealed on Tuesday that they plan to leave Oakland and build a new waterfront arena in San Francisco in time to start playing there in the 2017-2018 NBA season.
San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee and Warriors owner and chief executive Joe Lacob announced the plan for a $500 million venue that will seat between 17,000 and 19,000 people and be located near the San Francisco Giants baseball park.
"We are working with the Warriors to get a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose arena built on the waterfront in San Francisco," Lee said.
"The Warriors have been the Bay Area's basketball team for 50 years. Today sets the stage for the Warriors to be the Bay Area's team for another 50."
The Warriors won their first title when based in Philadelphia in 1947, two years before a merger of two leagues created the NBA. They won the NBA crown in 1956 before relocating to San Francisco in 1962.
In 1971, the club moved its home games to the east side of San Francisco Bay, playing in their current home arena in Oakland. They claimed their only West Coast-based NBA title in 1975, sweeping Washington in the NBA Finals.
But the Warriors have struggled in recent seasons, making only one playoff appearance in the past 18 years. They went 23-43 during this past season and have not managed a winning season since 2008.
"We plan to build the most spectacular arena in the country," Lacob said. "We intend to do everything in our power to have a team to match the standard of what this arena will be. This arena is about winning, just like the team."
The arena will be privately financed with San Francisco providing land and the team paying to repair crumbling piers at $75-100 million as well as the venue.
Lacob took over as owner of the Warriors in November of 2010 and has been seeking a new home for the club.
"It was not an easy decision," Lacob said. "We looked at a number of sites. We explored all our options in the Bay Area, including Oakland. Our fan base is really 50-50. We are the Bay Area's basketball team and have to find the best for our fans."