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Oracle Arena

Oakland, CA

Home of the Golden State Warriors

3.7

3.6

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Oracle Arena (map it)
7000 Coliseum Way
Oakland, CA 94621


Golden State Warriors website

Oracle Arena website

Year Opened: 1966

Capacity: 19,596

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The Best Fans in the NBA

Just six years after winning their last NBA championship, Wilt Chamberlain and the Philadelphia Warriors picked up and moved cross-country to Northern California and became known as the San Francisco Warriors. During their first few years they played a majority of their games at the Cow Palace, just south of the San Francisco border. After a few years they moved their main home court downtown to the San Francisco Civic Auditorium near City Hall. It was during these years that they donned the famed “The City” jerseys, still iconic in the Bay Area.

The Oakland Coliseum Arena opened in 1966 and offered newer amenities than many of the other options for the Warriors. They began to schedule more and more games in Oakland off of I-880 in the East Bay. Eventually they would move to the Coliseum Arena full-time in 1971, also updating their moniker to the Golden State Warriors, in an attempt to represent the entirety of Northern California.

The Cow Palace still operates today for various events (rodeos, gun shows, expos, etc) and became the home of the new ECHL franchise San Francisco Bulls.

The San Francisco Civic Auditorium has since been renamed the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium after the beloved rock concert promoter. It operates on a very limited basis as a concert venue. The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium holds 7,000 spectators.

The Oakland Coliseum Arena has since been renamed Oracle Arena and was the Warriors home for their only NBA championship on the west coast when they swept the Washington Bullets in 1975 (although the games were held at the Cow Palace for the NBA Finals due to concert scheduling). The arena has also been host to one of the worst stretches in NBA history as the Warriors have not had very many winning seasons in the last 20 years.

Oracle Arena has been versatile over the years as it has also hosted hockey (California Golden Seals of the NHL), indoor soccer (Golden Bay Earthquakes of the MISL), and on occasion the California Golden Bears when Haas Pavilion was being renovated. It is also one of two major arena concert venues in the Bay Area, sharing that role with HP Pavilion.

Though the arena was renovated in 1997, the new ownership group, led by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, has announced plans to relocate to The City for the 2017 season. They have pinned a location at Piers 30/32, just south of the Bay Bridge and a few blocks away from AT&T Park.

3.7

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    4

Most notably, the beer selection would make the craft conscience Bay Area both proud and broke. 24 oz bottles of craft beer are $12.50 while Bud, Miller, and Coors products run $10 for the same size. Draft beers are options as well and are quite expansive; Lagunitas, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, and many other options are available.

There is no shortage of stadium fare as hot dogs ($6), nachos ($6), etc are all available along with their specialty counterparts, BBQ pork sandwiches and chicken tenders, though nothing is of particular top-quality. Chocolate malts, lemonades and Dippin' Dots are available as well. On busier nights they have a "healthy" option with boxed dinners full of fruits and veggies, and a sushi stand.

The Warriors have specialty nights throughout the season that changes some of the fare. One night in particular was Bollywood Night where they had two stands dedicated to serving Indian food, not typically available at Oracle. Filipino Heritage Night led to special stands that served lumpia and other treats.

Atmosphere    4

Oracle Arena has long been considered one of the better atmospheres in all of basketball. This was put on display when they FINALLY reached the playoffs in 2007, and upset the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. This put the national spotlight on the great atmosphere at Oracle.

Even though the arena is over 45 years old the exterior façade and the interior aesthetics don't show their age as you might think. The x pattern around the building is actually a modern look and the renovated concourses are quite nice, albeit narrow.

It's a tad cramped in the seating area which can be uncomfortable but also allows fans to feel right on top of the action.

The Warriors installed a brand new four-sided video screen prior to the 2012-13 season that has made a huge difference for the in-game experience. Additionally, they added new screens in two of the top corners that scroll through the game boxscore as well as scores from around the NBA.

Oracle has great sightlines for game action and fans from any part of the arena can watch with ease. The one bummer about sitting in the second level is the angle that the ceiling comes down to a point above center court. This creates a blockage that fans can't see through to the fans on the other side of the court.

Neighborhood    1

Quite frankly there is nothing within walking distance to the arena. This is the only destination on game nights. People either arrive by car and park in the parking lot, or arrive by public transportation and get off at the Coliseum BART station.

Many people are concerned with the neighborhood near the arena but I don't see it as a threat, if for no reason than that there is no reason to be wandering around over there anyhow. There are no restaurants or bars, only industrial warehouses and fairly low-income housing.

The good news is that you're a short trip from other Oakland neighborhoods that can provide pre or post-game meals and suds. In fact to the surprise of many, the New York Times recently rated Oakland as #5 on their list of "45 Places to go in 2012." The Times notes that Oakland provides "new restaurants and bars beckoning amid the grit."

One restaurant that I had heard about for years but never made it there until this year is Francesco's, a little more than a mile away, near the airport. Francesco's serves quality family Italian food at a decent price and very, very quickly. They have a lot of turnover on game nights so they bring the check shortly after your meal. A good spot before the game.

And of course, San Francisco is a 15 minute BART ride away.

Fans    5

Warriors fans have been through so many down years and still turn out in droves that it would be difficult to give them any other score than a five.

Part of what sets Warriors fans apart from other fans in the Bay Area is that they represent the entire region and fans need not pick sides. While residents need to choose between the 49ers and Raiders in football, and the Giants and A's in baseball, people come together behind their lovable losers.

The fans are plenty knowledgeable, loyal and loud. They understand the nuances of the game with the fans of the best teams in the NBA. It's safe to say that the Warriors have had minor-league success with a major-league fan base.

To highlight their loyalty, one must only look at the sellout streak the Warriors enjoyed during the 2012-13 season.

I must say, I've never heard another arena that gets as loud.

Access    4

By car: Just exit I-880 on 66th or Hegenberger and follow the signs to the parking lot and fork over your $20.

By BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit): From San Francisco, buy a $3.85 one-way ticket ($1.75 from downtown Oakland), board either a Dublin/Pleasanton or Fremont train and exit at Coliseum/Airport. Take the walking overpass over San Leandro Avenue to the Arena. The Arena is also accessible from Richmond and Pittsburgh via BART, from Oakland and the East Bay via AC Transit and Sacramento via the Capitol Corridor Amtrak train.

After re-visiting HP Pavilion, I'm noticing access issues inside the arena. There is much more space to move around in the upstairs walkways, with no issues getting to restrooms or concession stands. The main walkway can get a bit crowded with many people going in several directions. The restroom lines can get a bit long but move rather quickly.

There is one main team store that is downstairs from the main concourse but it's so small that a line forms to even get in. This line can often stretch to the top of the staircase where the concourse begins.

Return on Investment    4

The Warriors provide very reasonable prices for fans with their dynamic pricing. That means if you're short on cash you can still catch an NBA game, albeit during the week and against a non-rival, for a reasonable price. These tickets start in the low teens for the 200 level, behind the backboard. Thanks to dynamic pricing, lower level seats start at $39 for less in-demand games. The same seats go for $150 for premier games.

Concession prices are a bit pricey but not out of line with arenas of similar size and relevance. Ditto for parking prices.

For two decades the Warriors have been at the bottom of the standings, making the playoffs 3 times in 18 years. Fans are hoping that this trend continues.

Extras    4

The arena is game-focused mostly. There are some extras such as the "Flying Dubs" who slam down acrobatic trampoline-induced dunks, the Warrior Girls, and the Jr Jam Squad (kids dance crew). They are constantly engaging the fans with extras during downtime by throwing out t-shirts or giving away pizzas.

I find their emcee obnoxious but many fans seem to like him as he has been there for about 10 years I'd guess.

During the 2011-12 season they moved their retired numbers from placards along one side of the arena, between the first and second levels, to banners hanging along their sole championship banner; a much better look. The retired numbers are #13 Wilt Chamberlain, #14 Tom Meschery, #16 Al Attles, #17 Chris Mullin, #24 Rick Barry, and #42 Nate Thurmond.

At the end of the each of the last few seasons, season ticket holders that renew their tickets are entered into a drawing for a shot to win cash. One fan even hit a shot worth $25,000. There are 4 season ticket holders per game that get this shot.

Final Thoughts

Oracle Arena is a fine venue for NBA basketball with an excellent fanbase. The Warriors would certainly benefit from a downtown arena but until that happens there is nothing that should prevent you from making a trip to the arena.

The pending move has many fans excited and many fans upset. While everyone sees the benefits of moving to San Francisco, many others are wary about the exponential price increases that will follow. Some view the situation as the Warriors "going back home" to San Francisco, while others believe the last 45 years in Oakland far outweigh the 9 years in The City. Regardless, we know the fans will show up wherever they play.

Many people doubt the Warriors will be in their new home by their target date of 2017 because of the complicated political climate in San Francisco. You can follow their progress here.

two quick tips:

-the safety concerns mentioned in this article are, in my opinion, overblown. That is not to say that the arena is in the nicest area, rather that you'll still be safe in spite of it. Also, the reviewer is certainly correct that there won't be a place to grab a drink near the arena as the area is heavily industrial and along major commuting thoroughfares.

-because of the heavy commuter traffic, public transportation is also an option, and a cheaper one at that. Most notably is Bay Area Rapid Transit (commonly referred to as BART). It has stops all along the East Bay as well as connections in downtown San Francisco. Oracle Arena is also served by AC Transit buses and the Capital Corridor Amtrak train.

by ryannorris | Jan 10, 2011 08:23 PM

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Crowd Reviews

Meeting the Oracle

Total Score: 3.57

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 3
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 4

As a general rule, when one is presented with the opportunity to see an "Oracle", one would be wise to accept the invite.

Neo knew it, so did Skywalker.

Both journeyed into previously unknown arenas in order to meet with an entity considered to possess (and the willingness to share) some type of prophecy or enlightenment. The voyage to visit the Oracle is never easy. The Oracle tends to reside in very unfamiliar and foreign territory - a Matrix, the Dagobah System or Oakland for example. Once these obstacles are overcome however, the juice tends to be worth the squeeze as the "seeker" learns valuable lessons that benefit him down the line.

It can be said that a visit to Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors, fits that mold.
I arrived at the outskirts of the Arena two hours before a 7:30 tip with the Utah Jazz. This was to be the final home game of the season for the Warriors and I had hoped to spend this time at a local watering hole or grill, soaking up some pre-game ambiance with die-hard fans. Unfortunately for me though, this part of Oakland did not lend itself to hospitality.

I spent the better part of an hour circling the Arena, expanding my search block-by-block until I was nowhere near where I should be. Some places looked open yet the swathes of local, indigenous population posted out front made entry risky. I decided to work my way back towards Oracle Arena, determined to find some food. I passed a Q_ _znos (the "U" and the "I" were gone, not out, but gone) and a few other fast-food joints. It appeared that I would be forced to meet my Oracle on an empty stomach.

Oracle Arena shares a massive Parking lot with the Oakland Coliseum, home to the A's and Raiders. Through my fruitless prior journey for sustenance, I surmised that these lots were the only places made available for parking - probably a good thing considering the neighborhoods I was in. I paid $18 to park, foregoing the option to park in the "VIP" lot for two bucks more. The difference in walking distance was minute.

After parking my car, I entered the standard scalper's gauntlet. A scene not unfamiliar to any major sporting venue yet made more harrowing due to the general lawlessness of the surrounding region. On a lighter note, not only was I harangued for tickets, I was also offered an opportunity to purchase a "mix-tape", donate some change and bum a cigarette in the span of a mere two minutes.
I headed towards will-call to pick-up my ticket which I had purchased through the Warriors website a few hours prior. I showed the booth attendant the requisite ID (driver's license and credit card used for purchase), was promptly issued my ticket and headed towards the team store located below the East entrance. The store was relatively tiny but well stocked with jerseys, tees, lids and framed Warriors autographed artwork. The prices were slashed as a result of it being the final home game of the season. Merchandise needed to be moved and the prices reflected it.

I left the store and headed up the open-air concourse towards the gate. I was still miserably early and hunger pangs were setting in. I waited with other early bird's at the gate, serenaded by an impressive audio loop of Warriors season and franchise highlights. What it supplied in quality and depth it lacked in overall length and after about 15 minutes I had heard it one too many times. Who knew Kelenna Azubuike had so many highlights?

I finally entered the Arena, shook the last hour off and was welcomed by a booming program Hawker whose voice followed me down the somewhat tight but well stocked corridors. I tend to like to head right to my seat, eager to see what vantage my $25 got me - turns out not great. I found my seat in the last row of section 205, it was not terrible but there were some drawbacks. The ceiling at Oracle slopes aggressively and confusingly downward, starting 10 feet above my head and finishing its descent, from my vantage point, right in front of the video board. I could see it, but a spotlight crows-nest (one of six that hang down at Oracle) made it tough. The view of the court was fine though and I didn't miss any of the action.

The Oracle Awaits

Total Score: 3.71

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 4
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 3

Opened in 1966, Oakland's Oracle Arena has been the full-time home to the Golden State Warriors since 1971. It sits 3 miles Northeast of Oakland International Airport and is the next-door neighbor to the O.co Coliseum. It is situated along Interstate 880, a major commuting thoroughfare that connects San Jose and Sacramento.

Surrounded by a particularly worn-down part of the city, the Oracle acts as a shining light for a passionate basketball community. Through the years of irrelevance, the fans continued to turn out to support their Warriors. All this came to a head when the Warriors made the playoffs in 2007, their first appearance in 12 seasons, and upset the first place Dallas Mavericks in stunning and exciting fashion. That playoff run created an atmosphere unmatched in recent memory and showed the rest of the league just how engaged Warriors fans are.

A 1996 renovation modernized the interior of the arena and added over 4,000 seats to its capacity, which now tops out at 19,596. The result is sleeker, more visually appealing corridors with updated amenities and a re-vamped upper level. The aesthetic of the arena contrasts greatly with that of their Coliseum neighbors. The retired numbers read as followed: 13 Wilt Chamberlain, 14 Tom Meschery, 16 Alvin Attles, 24 Rick Barry, 42 Nate Thurmond.

With the abilitiy to adjust to different events, Oracle Arena hosts major concerts and has been the home to other professional sports teams over the years. Most notable of which was the NHL's California Golden Seals during their time in the Bay Area.

There is no shortage of kiosks to buy food, beverages or souvenirs as they're in every corridor. Just shell out $65 and a royal blue Warriors sweatshirt is yours. Too warm for long-sleeves? Blue isn't your color? Well then, how does a 24 oz Sierra Nevada for $12 sound? Splendid.

Though I've attended dozens of games at Oracle, the night in question (or reviewed) is the January 12th matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers. Oracle was rocking, emotions were high, and the energy level was perfect for NBA basketball.

So, Sierra Nevada in tow, I made my way to my perch. My seat was 14 rows deep in the second level at half-court, a $40 single-game value.

Roaracle

Total Score: 3.71

  • Food & Beverage: 4
  • Atmosphere 4
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 5
  • RoI: 3
  • Extras: 4

Just six years after winning their last NBA championship, Wilt Chamberlain and the Philadelphia Warriors picked up and moved cross-country to Northern California and became known as the San Francisco Warriors. During their first few years they played a majority of their games at the Cow Palace, just south of the San Francisco border. After a few years they moved their main home court downtown to the San Francisco Civic Auditorium near City Hall. It was during these years that they donned the famed “The City” jerseys, still iconic in the Bay Area.

The Oakland Coliseum Arena opened in 1966 and offered newer amenities than many of the other options for the Warriors. They began to schedule more and more games in Oakland off of I-880. Eventually they would move to the Coliseum Arena full-time in 1971, also updating their moniker to the Golden State Warriors, in an attempt to represent the entirety of Northern California.

The Cow Palace still operates today for various events (rodeos, gun shows, expos, etc) and will be the home of the new ECHL franchise, the San Francisco Bulls, for the 2012-13 season.

The San Francisco Civic Auditorium has since been renamed the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium after the beloved rock concert promoter. It operates on a very limited basis as a concert venue. The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium holds 7,000 spectators.

The Oakland Coliseum Arena has since been renamed Oracle Arena and has seen the only NBA championship by the Warriors on the west coast when they swept the Washington Bullets in 1975. The arena has also been host to one of the worst stretches in NBA history as the Warriors have only made one playoff appearance in the last 18 years.

Oracle Arena has been versatile over the years as it has also hosted hockey (California Golden Seals of the NHL), indoor soccer (Golden Bay Earthquakes of the MISL I), and on occasion the California Golden Bears when Haas Pavilion was being renovated. It is also one of two major arena concert venues in the Bay Area, sharing that role with HP Pavilion.

Though the arena was renovated in 1997, many believe that the new ownership group would like to move the team back to The City. Many fans like the idea of a downtown arena near AT&T Park, many don’t want the team to leave Oakland, and still some don’t understand the necessity as Oracle is a legitimate venue in its own right. In any case, all of the Warriors big press conferences since Joe Lacob and Peter Guber took over have been in San Francisco, perhaps a sign of things to come.

DubNation

Total Score: 3.57

  • Food & Beverage: 3
  • Atmosphere 5
  • Neighborhood: 1
  • Fans: 5
  • Access: 4
  • RoI: 4
  • Extras: 3

Built in 1966 and renovated in 1996, the Roarcle is still a relatively compact arena with loud fans. Concourses are narrow, so get there early if you want to tour around. If you are sitting up high in the end zones, the sloping roof will prevent you from seeing the stat boards on the other side. You can drive or take BART, traffic moved well enough after the game and the arena is right next to I-880. Nothing worth seeing in the area, which is not particularly safe at night.

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Local Food & Drink

The Hobnob  (map it!)

1313 Park St

Alameda, CA 94501

(510) 769-1011

http://www.thehobnobalameda.com/

Francesco's  (map it!)

8520 Pardee Drive

Oakland, CA 94621

(510) 569-0653

http://www.francescosrestaurant.com

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