Written by: Maximino Cisneros (California State University, East Bay)
Faculty Evaluator: Nolan Higdon (California State University, East Bay)
The Golden State Warriors championship parade was a time of pride for the city of Oakland where Bay Area Warrior fans were able to celebrate together after the Warriors soundly defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Fortunately Warriors owners, Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, footed the $4 million bill on the day of the festivities. However, what if they didn’t and the burden fell on the city of Oakland? The question has sparked debate among sports fans and non-fans.
The last problem Oakland needs is the bill for an expensive victory parade. It comes at no surprise that the city is experiencing hardships that require it to weigh what is fundamentally necessary for it to function. For example, the East Bay Times reported that the Oakland Unified School District are forced to implement a hiring freeze and spending limit plans in order to cut an additional $10 million from the total $25 million that must be cut from their 2017 budget. This is only one of the many economic problems that Oakland is currently facing.
“We recognize that times are hard and this city in particular has had its share of issues over the years … there are a lot of fundamental needs — police, schools — we just like to say: this parade, this whole day, all the costs, every dollar is on us,” Joe Lacob stated. “It’s our gift to the city of Oakland.”
After the Warriors won the 2015 NBA championship, The Mercury News reported that Oakland spent $106,000 for Public Works to clean up the garbage and other remnants of the celebration and $137,000 to police the event. Similar to the aftermath of the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the 2016 NBA championship, Fox 8 Cleveland reported that the city spent an estimate of $2793.28 for Public Works, $8,393.67 for emergency medical services, and $597,571.18 for policing of the event.
If Oakland had paid for the Warriors’ most recent victory parade, it would not be the first time it would be covering the tab for a sports team. Oakland is still $95 million in debt after footing the bill for the 1995 Coliseum renovation, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Sports and non-sports enthusiasts alike share similar and conflicting opinions about this subject.
“The city could do much more with that money, not everyone is into sports,” Mauricio Paredes, a non-fan, said. “The owners of the sports team should pay for it, not the city, they make enough money.”
It is certainly a burden for non-fans to be subjected to possibly pay for an event they have no interest in whatsoever. It makes no sense to be paying for a parade that is not necessary for the well-being of the city. However, the 2015 Warrior championship parade was also the first instance when Oakland first felt what it was like to organize a celebratory event for their local sports team in decades where millions Bay Area Warrior fans gathered to support not only
“I think the victory parade does benefit the community. I feel like the city should chip in, in some way,” Davinder Chohan, a sports fan, said. “I don’t think they should pay a large amount but I think there should be a consensus on the payment so the event isn’t detrimental to both parties.”
The debate looks well poised to continue as the Golden State Warriors appear on pact to accumulate championships for years to come and the Oakland Raiders are expected to have a final, but successful season in Oakland. Future championships will continue to beg the question, should the public have to help pay for celebratory events for privately owned organizations?
Maximino Cisneros is a Bay Area native who is currently a student at California State University East Bay. He also graduated from Castro Valley High School in 2014