Thanks to the Golden State Warriors’ loss in Game 3 of the NBA Finals on Wednesday to go down 2-1 against the Toronto Raptors, there is a small chance that Game 4 on Friday could be the last game the team plays at Oracle Arena.
Yes, the Warriors would need to lose the next two games of a series that some are still picking them to win, but the uncomfortable truth remains that their time in Oakland is coming to an end. Even if the team forces a Game 6 back at Oracle, that’s only one more game.
Hence, the goodbyes to the oldest arena in the NBA are already underway. That led to Warriors veteran Andre Iguodala being asked what his favorite memory at Oracle is during a news conference on Thursday.
Andre Iguodala’s subtle dig at some Warriors fans
Iguodala’s answer, his first playoff series with the team in 2014, was just a bit back-handed:
Favorite moment from this arena? That's a tough one. That's a really good question. First playoff series here was pretty exciting. It was pretty good. We hadn't priced out many people yet, so it was good.
That answer does come in the aftermath of Raptors guard Kyle Lowry’s run-in with a fan with courtside seats who turned out to be a billionaire with a minority stake in the team, but the larger message is pretty clear.
Iguodala apparently isn’t a fan of how much his team’s own fans need to pay to attend games, and he probably isn’t alone there.
The Oracle Arena crowds look very different compared to five years ago
Lower-income fans no longer being able to afford attending more than a handful, if any, of their favorite teams’ games is a problem affecting nearly all of sports these days, but no fanbase has seen as much of an effect as the Warriors.
Ticket prices for Warriors home games more than tripled in the three years between the 2012-2013 season and 2015-16, the season after the team’s first championship in 40 years. Now, two more championships later, the Warriors are selling the most expensive tickets in league history.
It is not hard to understand why the Warriors’ ticket prices have skyrocketed. A mixture of the team becoming the most dominant franchise in sports and the presence of Silicon Valley and venture capital money in the Bay Area have created highly sought-after tickets and a fanbase willing to pay a truckload of money for even upper deck seats.
The problem will likely only get even worse when the team moves out of Oracle Arena (capacity of 19,596) and across the bay into San Francisco’s Chase Center (capacity of 18,064). Then again, maybe the team might not be as in demand for certain fans after this offseason.
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