The gate receipts for the Golden State Warriors grew exponentially during their five-year run reaching The Finals before relocating to Chase Center in San Francisco for the 19-20 season from $77 million in 14-15 to $178 million in 19-20. While they are theoretically more adversely impacted by not having fans in the arena, the value of their newly completed venue gives them leverage to borrow against it.
"Most teams make between 30 and about 45 percent of their revenue from their arenas," said Brian Windhorst on his podcast. "Not only ticket sales, but beer sales and suites and also naming rights. Not just naming rights on the building, but naming rights on clubs. The Warriors make 80 percent of their revenue that way. Partially because their arena is brand new and has all that money out there. The other thing, for a large television market like San Francisco, they do not have a world class local television deal. They don't have a television deal like the Knicks or Lakers do.
"Having said that: two things here. Number one, they now know the NBA is very determined to play games with fans, at least some fans in the building. So that's a relief to them. Number two, Joe Lacob their owner, his doctorate or master's degree is in epidemiology. He's very in tune with the advancements in this. He is confident that he will be able to get fans into the arena.
"But here's the most important part: the Warriors are just different when it comes to finances. Joe Lacob has established an option of borrowing $250 million against the ownership in the arena. They have opened up the possibility of a credit line of $250 million. I don't even necessarily think it's the Warriors need the money. I don't think they're struggling to make their payments because as far as I know, they haven't laid anybody off."
Windhorst cited how other franchises, using the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns as examples, couldn't borrow that kind of money against their building.
"There's so much faith in (the Warriors' finances) that they've opened up this $250 million credit line. So knowing the Warriors and knowing Joe Lacob the way they do, I think they're more likely to say, 'Listen, we can tap this credit line. This is another advantage.'"
Windhorst went on to suggest the Warriors could make a trade to add salary if they believe it will put them over the top due to the backstop of their unique credit line.