Sunday December 3, 2023

Warriors Present Plan to Have Fans at 50% Capacity Next Season

  • The team could spend around $30 million to test everyone who enters Chase Center.
  • Owner Joe Lacob wants to set a standard for the sports world.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

The Golden State Warriors have presented a plan to state and local officials to reopen Chase Center to fans at 50% capacity for the 2020-21 NBA season, ESPN reported. 

Owner Joe Lacob said the team could spend upward of $30 million to test “every fan, Warriors employee and player with the most accurate form of COVID-19 testing for each home game or day they come to Chase Center.”

Lacob, who has a master’s degree in public health, believes the team’s plan could serve as a template for all sports franchises and entertainment venues looking to bring back fans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I not only want to get this done and show the world how we can do it now, I’m willing to spend the money to do it,” Lacob told ESPN.  “This is a serious, serious problem. It cannot go on for multiple years … because if this were to go on for several years, the NBA is no more.”

The Warriors’ plan, internally referred to as “Operation DubNation,” has been in the works since the NBA first shut down in March. 

It entails the use of rapid PCR tests or “equivalent amplification technologies” that can detect traces of the virus in nasal or throat swabs within 15 minutes — and are more accurate than rapid antigen tests. PCR tests are said to be close to 99% accurate and can even detect the virus before it becomes infectious, whereas rapid antigen tests — which are what the White House has been using — could miss a significant portion of people who could be infectious. 

The PCR tests, however, are considerably more expensive than rapid antigen tests, and less readily available. But Mesa Biotech, Visby and CUEHealth have recently earned FDA approval to manufacture the tests and are “ramping up in volume of production,” according to ESPN. 

Fans would get tested at the Chase Center or at other drive-up locations around the Bay Area within 48 hours of the game they planned to attend. The team has partnered with CLEAR, the company that uses technology to identify pre-approved air travelers, to “link test results to the ticket holder on a mobile device.”

Everyone entering Chase Center would also wear a mask and maintain social distance. The Warriors would install a state-of-the-art air filtration system capable of purging 100% of the Chase Center’s air supply and replacing it with 100% outside air up to four times per hour. 

“The White House used less sensitive tests, meaning that they’re going to have more false negatives,” Dr. George Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF who has reviewed the Warriors’ plans, told ESPN. “The Warriors are planning on using the most accurate, most sensitive tests we have, and that’s a big difference. I don’t think anybody else could do anything more than they’ve done. This is as close to making it as close to perfect a plan as I’ve seen for anything reopening.”

On Nov. 11, the NBA sent teams a memo with guidelines for potentially having fans in arenas next season — only some areas of the country are currently allowing fans to attend sporting events. Those guidelines require testing of fans seated within 30 feet of the court, with the testing occuring no more than two days before the game.

California has yet to approve fans to be at indoor events, and restrictions are tightening further in San Francisco after a rise in cases locally and throughout the state. The Los Angeles Lakers have already said that 2020-21 season games at Staples Center will be held without fans until further notice.

But without in-person fans, the NBA has told teams it is facing a projected 40% loss of revenue, or around $4 billion. Lacob said his plan “is not the Warriors just trying to make more money,” but rather, he’s trying to establish a standard for the sports world.

“You cannot sustain this league with no fans. You can do it for a year. We’ll all get by for a year. But suppose we’re in this situation next year. Now we’re talking some serious, serious financial damage to a lot of people,” Lacob said. “There’s so many reasons why we have to figure out ways, short of the vaccine being a cure-all, to allow people to get back to work, allow people to work at our venues. There’s thousands of people, 500 Warrior employees and 1,500 on a game day, but beyond that, there’s all the vendors. There’s so many people that are relying on this and don’t have jobs.”

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic looks to move the ball past Houston Rockets forward Jabari Smith Jr. during the second quarter at the American Airlines Center.

The NBA Has Autumn Relevance Thanks To In-Season Tournament

The league set a new attendance record in the month of November.

Would Disney's ESPN Walk Away From The NBA?

Will financial pressures impact the company's decision with a longtime partner?

New Indiana Pacers Investor Could Offer Succession Option

The Pacers are selling a 20% minority stake in the team.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban celebrates court side behind Luka Doncic

Blockbuster Mavs-Cuban Deal Puts Dallas Casino Complex In Spotlight

Deal valuing NBA team at about $3.5 billion premised on arena-casino development.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

CFP Looking to Super Bowl for Media Rights Plan


Featured Today

The College Football Playoff is considering rotating TV networks for the national championship game.

CFP Considers Super Bowl-Like Rotation For National Championship Game

Multiple networks could share rights to the championship game, sources told FOS.
Brett Favre
November 27, 2023

Favre Welfare Case Hold-Up? "AG’s Office Has Not Expressed Interest In Pursuing"

The DOJ interviewed Brett Favre in early 2020.
The future of the Pac-12 rests on a court decision.
November 24, 2023

The Pac-12 Plays Its Final Regular-Season Game. Then A Court Decides Its Fate.

The conference's future rests with a court decision.
Lane Kiffin
November 9, 2023

Ole Miss, Lane Kiffin Lawyers Argue for Dismissal of Player Lawsuit

FOS obtained audio of Lane Kiffin's interaction with the player behind lawsuit.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Multiple - USA Careers
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Saco Bay PT
Multiple - USA Careers
FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid in Texas.

FC Barcelona, Real Madrid Set AT&T Stadium Soccer Attendance Record

Sixth Street organized the match as part its U.S. Soccer Champions Tour.
November 14, 2022

Vegas Resorts Going All Out for Formula 1 Grand Prix

MGM Resorts will build a grandstand for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
A young fan holds a sign for Julio Rodriguez during the 2023 MLB Home Run Derby.
July 12, 2023

MLB Median Ticket Buyer Down to 43 Years Old

Games are shorter and higher scoring thanks to new rules.

NHL’s Chris Foster on Amplifying Content Distribution With Automation

Learn how the NHL is using WSC Sports to increase fan engagement.

How QuintEvents is Changing the Game of Premium Fan Experiences

Over the last decade, we’ve seen a noticeable shift in the psyche…
October 7, 2022

MLB Attendance Pops Up, But Falls Below 2019 Levels

MLB attendance rose from 2021, but still lagged behind 2019 levels.
September 16, 2022

Baron Davis, Michele Roberts Help Launch Fan Controlled Hoops

The league will begin its inaugural season on Feb. 7, 2023 in Atlanta.

Webinar: How to Improve the Fan Experience at the Stadium and Online

Learn how pro sports teams are improving the fan experience.