The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

Gator Take: Bay Area sports have become gentrified

How students and community members have been priced out of fandom

Sports in San Francisco and Oakland have mimicked our housing market — overpriced tickets to Golden State Warriors and San Francisco 49ers games and beloved teams with rich histories like the Oakland Athletics and Raiders leaving the area for theoretically greener pastures. 

As a San Francisco State University student, going to a major league sports game in San Francisco and Oakland is extremely difficult.

I can’t help but draw comparisons to the gentrification I observed while growing up in downtown Oakland.

It’s risky and ignorant to mention gentrification without acknowledging the real-life displacement of people of color here in the Bay Area. It’s an experience lived by many and represents the most inequitable aspects of our society.

Drawing these comparisons is not done in ignorance of the seriousness and real life impact that gentrification has. Oakland and San Francisco have experienced massive economic and cultural changes since the tech boom began in the 1990s.

It’s notable that the sports teams here have changed dramatically, much like the makeup of the two cities.

Sports have been a cultural backbone of the Bay Area for years. They provide kids with entertainment, families with a way to bond, friends with a place to make memories and an outlet for die-hard sports fans to celebrate their irrational commitment to a team.

We used to get our sports fix from our local teams, but because of teams moving and high ticket prices, more and more people simply won’t attend professional games while living in San Francisco.

SFSU students and low-income families feel the brunt of the teams moving and increased prices.

Oakland and San Francisco have lost three teams since 2014. The Raiders left for Las Vegas in 2020 after sharing a stadium with the Oakland Athletics since 1995. Vegas offered a brand new stadium and massive tourism revenue. After the 2024 season, the A’s will temporarily move to Sacramento for three seasons before eventually landing in Vegas in 2028.

The A’s move follows failed negotiations with the city of Oakland to build a ballpark located at the Howard Terminal, leading them to follow the Raiders to Las Vegas.

A key issue within these negotiations was the construction of affordable housing units surrounding the ballpark. The A’s planned to build 3,000 apartments of which the city asked that 450 be designated as affordable housing.

In the end no agreement was made, and the apartments were a part of the reason. I see this as a direct connection to the turbulent housing market in Oakland.

An illustration of a moving truck with a baseball player on the side in green and gold, the official colors of the Oakland Athletics. (Sean Young / Golden Gate Xpress) (Sean Young)

The Warriors moved from Oakland to San Francisco in 2019, completely changing their fan base and affordability. The cheapest ticket for this season averages $115.

Winning comes at a cost, but the Warriors have essentially priced out their existing fans for tech executives and yuppies since the move from Oakland to San Francisco. This is another way in which the sports here have mimicked our housing market.

A once-great sports city, Oakland was home to the A’s “Bash Brothers,” Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, Al Davis’ “Just Win, Baby” Raiders, and birthed the Steph, Klay and Dray era of the Warriors.

Major league sports in Oakland will soon be dead.

San Francisco was able to bring the Warriors to the city and maintain one of the best stadiums in Major League Baseball, Oracle Park, for the Giants — yet let the oldest professional sports team in the city, the 49ers, leave the city for the South Bay suburbs.

The 49ers’ move to Santa Clara in 2014 made an expensive ticket even more inaccessible with the stadium now being further away from the city. Tickets have slowly climbed over the last 10 years. The cheapest ticket I can find for a game this year is $128.

Santa Clara is an hour drive from San Francisco and requires multiple BART trains and busses if you wish to take public transit.

Both the location of Levi’s Stadium and cost of a ticket make 49ers’ games hard to attend for any low-income resident from San Francisco.

The only truly affordable games to attend are Giants games. Tickets averaged $40 per game in 2023, with the cheapest ticket being $20. Giants games are easily accessible by Muni trains and buses or BART. From SFSU, it’s only a $25 Uber ride.

The Giants also have multiple promotions connected to SFSU that make getting tickets easier at a lower price.

SFSU Night at Oracle Park just passed and over 200 students attended only because of the promotion.

The Giants do a great job using their community fund to provide affordable tickets to communities that deserve them most. They run both single game ticket deals and discounts for students, along with donating to local little leagues and schools.

While promotions are great, the limited number of tickets and high popularity make them inaccessible. The Warriors should run more promotions and provide more tickets to the people and schools actually in San Francisco.

It should be noted that the Warriors do great things in both Oakland and San Francisco through the Warriors Community Foundation

Look at how the Giants are doing it and follow their lead — it would only strengthen their home fan base and participation.

The 49ers provide no transportation services for fans from San Francisco and don’t run any promotions for universities or colleges in the city.

I grew up loving Bay Area sports and I want to share those memories with friends and continue to make new ones at games. Right now, the teams here in the Bay are making that a pretty difficult task.

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About the Contributors
Jonah Chambliss
Jonah Chambliss, Staff Reporter
Jonah Chambliss (he/him) is a reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in journalism and minoring in sociology. He was born and raised in Oakland, California. He lives in San Francisco, California, while working full-time and attending San Francisco State University. He previously contributed to The Cabrillo Voice, the student newspaper of Cabrillo Community College in Aptos, California. He served as a staff reporter for Golden GateXpress last semester, covering arts and entertainment, and will cover student life and club events this spring. During his free time, Jonah is an avid cyclist, motorcycle rider, and mechanic. Jonah is also a huge fan of Bay Area sports, specifically the Oakland Athletics and Golden State Warriors.
Sean Young
Sean Young, Campus Editor
Sean Young (he/him) is the campus editor for Golden Gate Xpress. He is a journalism major with a minor in California Studies. Originally from the small town of Sebastopol, Sean now lives in San Francisco. Before transferring to SF State, Sean studied journalism at Santa Rosa Junior College, where he was editor-in-chief of the college's student publication The Oak Leaf News. In his spare time, Sean can be found watching sports, listening to his vinyl record collection and reading the latest news from The New York Times.

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