- Darren Rovell, ESPN.com Sports Business reporter
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The Golden State Warriors announced Tuesday that they would cap season-ticket sales at the current franchise record of 14,500 and start a waiting list.
"We looked at the experience of other teams who had the opportunity to sell out their buildings on season tickets alone," said Rick Welts, the Warriors' president and chief operating officer. "And we determined that wasn't a good idea. There are people who want to sample our product who just can't afford season tickets and we don't want to shut them out."
The cutting off of season-ticket sales will leave roughly 5,000 seats open per game for the Warriors to sell on a mini-plan or single-game basis.
Welts said another reason the team decided to cap it at 14,500 is because the Warriors' new privately funded arena in San Francisco, which the team hopes will be built by the 2017, is designed for 18,000 seats.
The cheapest season ticket to Warriors games this season costs $15 per game, while the most expensive run $2,700 per seat per game. In order to get to its current number, the team says it sold 3,700 season tickets since April.
Before Tuesday's announcement, the Warriors had started to take names and say they already have more than 200 people signed up to the list. Each will pay a $100 non-refundable fee. There are perks that come with being on the list, Welts said, including getting access to some presale opportunities on partial plans and playoff tickets.
Thanks in part to the team's play on the court and the renewed interest in the Bay Area, a recent investment by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Mark Steven gave the franchise a new valuation of $800 million, less than three years after Joe Lacob and Peter Guber purchased the team for $450 million.
Led by Stephen Curry and Andre Iguodala, the Warriors are off to a 3-1 start. The team has sold out 40 consecutive games, the longest streak for the franchise since the arena was expanded to its current capacity of 19,596 for the 1996-97 season. The team sold out every game from the 1989-90 season through the 1995-96 season.