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Volume 20 No. 45
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Warriors put theater boxes in Oracle, will test demand before new arena’s debut

The Golden State Warriors are building 16 theater boxes at Oracle Arena to fill the need for a smaller suite product and test the market in anticipation of their new San Francisco arena.

The Warriors are spending $3 million for the retrofit, a project that includes construction of a new VIP Club for 240 floor-seat holders. The NBA team is adding a second row of 114 floor seats for the coming season priced at $750 a seat per game.

Also on tap at Oracle Arena: a new VIP Club.
The work will be done in time for next season.

The four-seat theater boxes replace eight regular suites on the south side of the arena’s mezzanine level, opposite stage end. The team is offering both one-year deals for $90,000 and the four-year “Bridge to San Francisco” package, starting at $80,000 a year and escalating to $95,000 in the agreement’s final year.

Those deals cover the cost of food and drink, including beer, wine and soft drinks. Hard liquor is a separate fee. The setup includes an upscale lounge behind the seats where meals are served.

About 10 NBA teams have introduced theater and loge boxes over the past five years, including the Phoenix Suns, the team for whom Warriors President Rick Welts served in the same position before joining Golden State in September 2011.

The new inventory provides the team’s sales staff with the opportunity to market a product they expect to be part of the new waterfront arena targeted to open for the 2016-17 season.

“Long before that arena is built, it’s giving us a great learning experience to sell premium,” Welts said “We have three more seasons here and in our mind it’s an invaluable beta test for San Francisco.”

As of last week, two weeks into the sales process, the Warriors had sold two theater boxes and had commitments for two more units, he said.

The 3,000-square-foot VIP Club, also on the south end, provides a new space for floor-seat holders. Team officials, in conjunction with AEG Facilities, the arena’s management firm, converted a two-story storage area at event level, Welts said. All 240 floor-seat holders, including those buying the new second-row floor seats, get exclusive access to the club.

The Warriors have sold all the new floor seats available and have about 10 reserved for sponsor commitments, Welts said. Those in the front row pay $1,700 a game.

The Warriors plan to sell naming rights to the club, Welts said.

Architectural Dimensions designed the theater boxes, and Kreate developed the floor seats and the VIP Club.