We really are blessed here in the Bay Area.
From the waters of McCovey Cove brushing up against Oracle Park to the shiny panache of the Warriors’ new digs down the street at Chase Center to the South Bay behemoth that is Levi’s Stadium, Northern California features some beautiful homes for its professional teams.
NBC Sports Bay Area compiled an eight-team bracket of the best arenas and stadiums the Bay has to offer on social media Saturday, giving fans the opportunity to anoint a champion. Some of these decisions were easy, others not so much.
We’ll start with the top left side of the bracket and work counterclockwise.
Oracle Park vs. Candlestick
Obviously 49ers fans who were around for the dynastic run through the 1980s and 1990s have a special place in their heart for the team’s former stomping grounds. But this is an easy decision.
Oracle Park has been through plenty of names but has maintained the beauty and charm that have consistently made it among MLB fans’ favorite stadiums overall. Looking out over the field and out into the San Francisco Bay on a Sunday afternoon, there are few views in professional sports that equate.
Candlestick was a shell of its former self by the end, not to mention that unbearable wind. Plenty of championships and success were had by both the 49ers and Giants at Candlestick, but in terms of where the average fan would want to watch a game, Oracle Park clearly is the choice.
Chase Center vs. Coliseum
This must be a typo, right?
The Coliseum has plenty of history in its past, but any stadium that has sewage seeping into the dugouts and locker rooms doesn’t belong anywhere near a list of the best facilities.
There wasn’t much winning in the inaugural NBA season at Chase Center for the Warriors, but it’s pretty easy to see when arriving why the total cost of the arena is north of $2 billion.
Chase Center wins in a landslide.
Levi’s Stadium vs. Earthquakes Stadium
Although Levi’s Stadium always has been met with mixed reviews by 49ers fans, it still is quite an impressive facility on appearance alone. The stadium also was well ahead of its time when it came to technology.
Earthquakes Stadium, meanwhile, is the smallest in Major League Soccer, having been constructed back in 2015. While it did build what at the time was the largest outdoor bar in North America, the allure of the average Bay Area sports fan never was fully captured.
Levi’s comes out on top here, although the idea of a massive outdoor bar sounds pretty enticing once these social distancing guidelines are lifted.
SAP Center vs. Oakland Arena (formerly Oracle)
The atmosphere of a Sharks game at SAP Center is excellent, and the team has brought some incredible moments to the fans in the South Bay, including most recently the incredible third-period comeback against the Vegas Golden Knights in last year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
But there was no experience in the NBA like a playoff game inside “Roaracle.” The noise and raucous environment made life miserable for all of the Warriors’ postseason foes. Although the team clinched just one of its three recent NBA titles at Oracle, there are way more than a handful of iconic moments in team history that played out inside the hallowed halls of Oakland’s largest basketball arena.
Although the arena no longer is hosting any NBA action, the endless memories and atmosphere put it over the top of the SAP Center.
Oracle Park vs. Chase Center
This one is tricky.
Chase Center likely wins out based on appearance alone, but Oracle Park has so many more quintessential moments in Giants’ history, with the team bringing home three World Series titles in five seasons.
Both have a waterfront location and barely are a mile apart.
Until the Warriors can bring their winning ways across the Bay, Oracle Park sneaks by here in probably the tightest matchup of this mini-tournament.
Oakland Arena vs. Levi’s Stadium
This one is tougher than it sounds. Levi’s Stadium is so far superior from a technology perspective, and we finally got to hear postseason roars in Santa Clara when the Niners won two playoff games in 2019 at home, both in commanding fashion.
But there was something special about Oakland Arena during a playoff series that can’t be replicated by any stadium or arena in the Bay.
It’s hard to explain without being in it, but the explosion of euphoria that took over the arena when Steph Curry or Klay Thompson would hit a big shot late in a playoff game or even a decent regular-season game is unmatched.
Oakland Arena advances.
[RELATED: Why Steph is the Bay Area's all-time favorite MVP athlete]
Oracle Park vs. Oakland Arena
The folks over at the Oracle corporate offices must be smiling here, as the company name has preceded both of these special venues.
Similar championship and tradition histories make this decision arduous.
But for a combination of a great fan experience and a facility rich with winning heritage, it has to be China Basin and Oracle Park that takes the cake here. Plus, it's hard to beat those garlic fries.
Hopefully, soon we can return to all of these venues and enjoy a game in-person, as American sports remain entirely on pause while we battle the coronavirus.