The arena has been the home of the Golden State Warriors since the 1971–72 season, except the one-year hiatus while the arena was undergoing renovations. It had been used by the Warriors intermittently as early as 1966. The California Golden Bears of the Pac-10 played the 1997–98 and 1998–99 seasons at the arena while their primary home, Harmon Gym, was being renovated into Haas Pavilion. For some years before then, the Bears played occasional games against popular non-conference opponents at the arena.
Oracle Arena has been home to Warriors playoff games in 1972, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1987, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1994, 2007, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. It hosted the 2015, 2016, 2017, and the 2018 NBA Finals, where the Warriors won in 2015, 2017, and 2018. The 2015 victory was the first time since 1975 the Warriors won the title; however, Games 2 and 3 of the 1975 NBA Finals were played in the Cow Palace as the Coliseum was unavailable. The 2017 victory was the first time that a San Francisco Bay Area team won a title in their home venue since the Oakland Athletics in the 1974 World Series.
The arena's first tenants were the California Seals of the Western Hockey League, who moved across the bay from the Cow Palace in 1966. The owners of the San Francisco Seals had been awarded an expansion franchise in the National Hockey League on the condition they move out the Cow Palace and into the then-new Oakland Coliseum Arena. The team changed its operating name from San Francisco Seals to California Seals in order to draw fans from both San Francisco and Oakland. The Seals franchise continued to play at the arena after having transferred to the NHL, until the team moved to Cleveland after the 1975–76 NHL season.
The Coliseum also hosted the American Basketball Association's Oakland Oaks (1967–1969), a charter member of the new ABA in 1967. The Oaks signed San Francisco Warriors star Rick Barry away from the rival National Basketball Association in 1968. The team was owned by entertainer Pat Boone and also had stars Larry Brown and Doug Moe on its roster. Brown and Barry are in the Basketball Hall of Fame. After a 22–56 record in their first season, the Oaks went 60–18 during the regular season in 1968–69. The Oaks then defeated the Denver Rockets, New Orleans Buccaneers and finally the Indiana Pacers in the playoffs to capture the ABA Championship. However, the team was plagued by poor attendance and Boone sold the team following their ABA Championship. They were relocated to Washington and became the Washington Caps.
The Bay Bombers (Roller Derby, 1966–1973) as well as the Golden Bay Earthquakes of the original MISL during the 1982–83 season and the Oakland Skates, a professional roller hockey team active from 1993 to 1995, all played there. WWE also holds professional wrestling matches at the arena.
Over three decades, the arena grew outdated, lacking the luxuries of newer ones. With just over 15,000 seats, it was one of the smallest venues in the league. Rather than building a new arena in Oakland, San Francisco or San Jose, the decision was made to proceed with a US$121 million renovation that involved tearing out much of interior and building a new seating bowl within the existing structure. The original walls, roof and foundation remained intact, similar to the rebuild of KeyArena in Seattle. The renovation began in mid-1996 and was completed in time for the Warriors return in the fall of 1997 (they played the previous season at the San Jose Arena, home of the NHL's Sharks). Included in the renovation was a new center overhead LED scoreboard and 360-degree fascia display. The new configuration seats 19,596 for basketball and 17,200 for ice hockey.
On October 20, 2006, the Golden State Warriors and Oracle Corporation announced that the Oakland Arena would be known as The Oracle for a 10-year term. A press conference was held on October 30. "The O", as it is referred to, continued to be managed by Oakland–Alameda County Authority (JPA) and SMG. The JPA approved the deal at its November 10 meeting.
With the Warriors' resurgence since the 2012-13 season, Oracle Arena has been reckoned as one of the loudest arenas in the NBA. It is often called "Roaracle" because of the painfully high decibel levels sometimes generated at Warriors games. The Warriors will play their final regular season home game on April 7, 2019 against the Los Angeles Clippers (plus any playoff games, provided they qualify), and the team's lease is set to expire by the end of June 2019..
A record-breaking crowd watching the Warriors in the 2007 NBA Playoffs.
On May 13, 2007, 20,679 fans watched the Warriors lose to the Utah Jazz 115–101 in Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals. This was the highest attendance in the Warriors' 61-year history.
That record lasted until December 14, 2007, when the Warriors hosted the Los Angeles Lakers and packed 20,705 into the Arena to set a new franchise attendance record.
The record was again broken on February 20, 2008, when the arena hosted 20,711 for the Warriors-Celtics game.
This record was set yet again on April 10, 2008, when Oracle Arena hosted 20,737 fans in a Warriors loss to the Denver Nuggets.
By the end of the 2016–17 regular season, Oracle had sold out 230 consecutive home games, a streak that continued throughout the team's playoff run. Oracle drew over 18,000 people per game for 12 straight seasons.
The Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead played more concerts (66) at this venue than at any other, and their December 16, 1992 concert at the arena was released as Dick's Picks Volume 27, along with bonus tracks from their December 17, 1992 concert at the arena.