Declaration of Policy
Relocation of Professional Sports Teams
Conveys the opinion that the city should not encourage or condone the relocation of well-established sports teams to San Francisco.
What the Measure Would Do
Prop. I would direct the city not to invite, encourage or condone the relocation of professional sports teams that have already established themselves in other locations. As a declaration of policy this measure would provide an opportunity for voters to express their opinion but would not directly lead to any legal, regulatory or budgetary change.
The Golden State Warriors are leaving Oakland for San Francisco; the Chase Center arena is under construction in the Mission Bay neighborhood and will open for the 2018–19 basketball season. Prop. I asserts that this move comes at the “emotional and economic expense” of communities that have supported the team for years. The proponents are especially frustrated that San Francisco actively courted the Warriors when the team was looking to leave Oakland and that the Oracle Arena, jointly owned by the City of Oakland and Alameda County, has been left with $40 million in outstanding debt. The Warriors and the Oakland Coliseum Authority are currently in arbitration regarding what debt, if any, the team owes the authority upon leaving Oakland. The Chase Center in San Francisco, however, is privately financed, and the city did not provide the Warriors with land or tax breaks for construction of the new arena.
Proponents seek to demonstrate that the majority of San Franciscans don’t want their city to play an active role in courting professional sports teams away from other locations.
The measure was added to the ballot by voter signatures collected by the Good Neighbor Coalition, led by a concerned San Francisco resident.
- This measure would raise awareness that when one city actively courts a sports team to leave a neighboring city, it can negatively impact the neighboring city even if it doesn’t have a negative impact on the region as a whole.
- As a nonbinding policy statement, this measure would not impact the Warriors’ move from Oakland to San Francisco, nor have any tangible impact on the way the city conducts its affairs in the future.
- This measure is directed at the City of San Francisco, but it is sports team owners, rather than city officials, who decide when a sports team relocates.
- This measure does not need to be on the ballot. As with most nonbinding policy statements, a resolution passed at the Board of Supervisors would be a better vehicle to express this opinion.
Sports teams are businesses, and like other businesses, they often choose to relocate for financial and other reasons. Cities, in turn, often compete to host these businesses. Certainly, there are policy arguments to be made about how actively San Francisco should court businesses or about how cities within the Bay Area should consider economic development more broadly. This ballot measure is not the right vehicle for those conversations.
As a nonbinding policy measure, this proposition would do nothing to stop the Warriors from moving from Oakland to San Francisco, nor would it require any changes to the city’s economic development policy in the future. From a process perspective, this measure would have made more sense as a resolution for consideration by the Board of Supervisors.