News for 8/30/11

There’s a little back-and-forth between the Chargers and a LA-based blogger who has concluded that AEG is buying 96% of the team from the Spanos family, with the intent of moving the franchise to a new downtown LA stadium. Chargers spokesperson Mark Fabiani has said unequivocally that the team will not be sold.

Tim Kawakami has done some back-of-the-envelope numbers on financing for the 49ers stadium and has come up with many of the same conclusions written here a year ago.

Chron sports editor Al Saracevic reports on a new parking study commissioned by a SF Planning Commissioner takes issue with the 49ers stadium EIR’s assessment that parking inventory will be “equal to or superior to any in the NFL.” Considering the way this new study was derived, the results have to be taken with a grain of salt. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t good points. I’m absolutely certain that tailgating, of the kind Niner fans currently experience at the ‘Stick, will be practically extinct. It’ll be largely replaced by team-sponsored fan zones and other tailgating facsimiles.

BANG is asking fans to submit suggestions as to how the Raiders can increase attendance in Oakland. Send responses to turn2@angnewspapers.com or ccnsports@bayareanewsgroup.com.

A fan fell down a stairwell at Rangers Ballpark on Saturday. The unidentified 24 year-old man was knocked unconscious by the fall and remains in a local hospital.

I want take this opportunity to address something discussed in the last comments thread. There’s an opinion – generally espoused by Rick Tittle – that the A’s should spend money on the Coliseum to make things a little more fan friendly. Tittle frequently cites the investment made by Peter Magowan when he assumed control of the Giants as a good example. It sounds good in theory, but it doesn’t explain how this would work. Let’s get a few facts out of the way regarding what the Giants did:

  • The Giants spent $5 million in 1994 to add new LF bleachers, field boxes, the outfield fence, and the out-of-town scoreboard above the RF pavilion.
  • The money also went toward replacing the dirt warning track with the rubberized “tartan” surface. After all, you can’t have high rollers in field boxes stepping on dirt to reach their seats, or have wind-blown dust in their eyes.
  • In 2011 dollars, the inflation-adjusted value would be $8 million or less.

We’ve talked a lot about what it would take to spruce up the Coli, even to the point of fans initiating the effort since we can’t expect the A’s, Raiders, or Coliseum Authority to do it. We’ve heard that the Coliseum Authority may be replacing the obsolete scoreboard system, which is a good and necessary move. However, there aren’t many other changes that could be made that wouldn’t adversely impact either the A’s or the Raiders. Consider this:

  • I’ve suggested in the past that the best way to expand the lower concourse is to take out the last 3-4 rows of the field level seats and make new platforms for wheelchair seating areas and standing room sections. Doing this would remove 3,000+ seats, which would drop the Coliseum’s capacity below 60,000, below NFL guidelines. I can’t imagine either the Raiders or the NFL going for that, even if the Raiders don’t routinely sell out the joint.
  • The A’s can’t add more seats on the field because space is taken by the dugouts, the existing field boxes, the rolled up field tarp, and the bullpens.
  • The A’s can’t reduce foul territory by reconfiguring the lower deck without major engineering and construction challenges.
  • The Coliseum does actually have some modern amenities, such as the West Side Club and the Diamond Level seats.
  • As much as people complain about the troughs in the men’s restrooms, the decision to keep those in place was made in 1995. Have you ever noticed that the troughs have those sensors above that can tell when you’re finished and then flush? That’s the extent of change in the original restrooms.
  • It’s possible that the A’s could invest in expanding the clubhouse facilities, but I don’t know what complexities lie in attempting that.

Now let’s say that you own the A’s, and like what Magowan did 17 years ago, you’d like to spend $8 million, no, up to $10 million on the Coliseum to improve the experience. Take the scoreboards off the table. What would you improve? Do you have any idea how much it would cost? Is there a decent chance you’d recoup that investment? One thing to keep in mind is that when Wally Haas sunk money into the Coliseum, he was eventually paid back by the Coliseum Commission. He eventually saw greater revenues during the Bash Brothers era, but was unable to sustain that in the long run. Many of the current deficiencies with the Coliseum can’t and won’t be addressed by quick fixes.

Before you chime in, read this ESPN article about the A’s and their relationship with the Coliseum by Mark Kreidler, one of the “Rise Guys” brought in from Sacramento a month ago. Then look at the date. Some things never change.

134 Responses to News for 8/30/11

  1. jk-usa says:

    @LS–the Giants will claim (again) that they barely broke even this year by not making the playoffs. And if attendance drops off even a little bit next year (not selling out every game), things will be very tough in the city by the bay…lol. Uh, Forbes has them making a 29.9 mill. profit last year. I’d trust their figs over the lying bastards at the Lodge any day.
    The A’s also claimed to have just break even last year, give or take a million, (LW’s words, not mine), even though Forbes reported a $23.6 mill profit for them…SMH.
    I don’t have a probelm with teams making a a profit–it’s the American way–but don’t lie about it.
    BTW, put some of that extra loose change back in the team or the facility at least.
    Too bad teams weren’t publicly owned like the GB Packers.

  2. pjk says:

    Once again, Forbes writes these articles without any access to the books. It’s all guesswork. But it’s really hard to believe that the Giants, who sell out every night and charge over $100 for some seats, are not making money hand over fist.

  3. jeff-athletic says:

    @pjk

    Amen brotha. Last I read, the Giants have a $20 million a year payment on AT&T, which goes away when it’s payed off by 2015 (or 2017?).

    Seeing as how they just absorbed the fat contracts of Rowand and Tejada, and are pondering doing the same with Zito, methinks they can easily afford the mortgage payment on AT&T.

    And looking at the constant sellouts, and the outrageous prices at AT&T …

    Their stance that they barely break even – laughable, outrageous, ridiculous, flat out, unmitigated bald faced lie.

  4. Sid says:

    @Jeffrey- I combined advertising with future SBL and more suite sales as 100M. Considering 150M have been sold that # is “reasonable” considering there is 4 more years left before the stadium is ready to play in.

    Naming rights I am using the barometer set by Farmers and MetLife for LA and NY. Those were 700M and 400M-500M respectively.

    Considering the huge corporate base in Silicon Valley 300M is not a bad figure and if 2-teams join then that might be an underestimated #.

    Therefore my #s may be “back of the envelope” but are not unreasonable. The #s Kawakami does are off and that is because he is a sports writer and not a math guy or anything even close to it.

    The key here is the debt service and can the 49ers handle it long term. Building the stadium is one thing but the interest will force them to sell a piece of the team unless of course Al Davis steps in…

  5. Sid says:

    @Jeff-Athletic- The Giants are horrendous with their arguments. Larry Baer has said that if the A’s move to San Jose both Bay Area teams would become revenue sharing “losers” and that the Giants would lose 500k in fans a year.

    Wow….ridiculous on every level.

    In reality both would be “winners” revenue sharing wise and the Giants on paper would not be hurt at all as long run as San Jose is 50 miles away. The Giants just don’t want the A’s succeed on any level and they are selfish pricks for being so….This coming from a lifelong Giants fan.

    If MLB did not have this AE that allows Selig to act like “God” the A’s would have been in San Jose several years ago. Not to mention it was Selig who combined both leagues which created this problem.

    Before the leagues were combined, T-rights were done by NL and AL teams. Therefore the Giants T-rights would only apply to NL teams and that is how the A’s moved to Oakland in the first place in 1968 because they were an AL team.

    Selig caused this mess and it is too bad he is into being a coward and not doing the right thing.

  6. jeff-athletic says:

    @Sid

    No doubt about it. The Giants want the A’s the fail, or just go away, completely. In all honesty, if I were in their shoes, I’d probably want the same, from a pure business standpoint. Any team in a two team market wouldn’t mind one bit if the other team went away.

    But seeing as how the A’s gave them the south bay market, to be “good for baseball”, and it was contingent on the Giants actually building there (which did not happen), and seeing as how all other two team markets are shared, and seeing as how the bay area split is 6 counties to the Giants, and 2 counties to the A’s, the Giants position is so ridiculously petty that it is surreal.

    I call it really really bad karma, and the Giants are now suffering for it. Not at the gate, but in their performances and injuries. I don’t really believe it’s a direct cause and affect, but I am definitely enjoying some serious schadenfreude.

  7. jk-usa says:

    Just got the info on tix for the World Premiere of Moneyball at the Paramount.
    Not cheap, but all for charity– Children’s Hospital in Oakland and Stand Up For Cancer!
    $100 for rear balcony; $200 for front balcony; $500 for prefered MVP seats with private after party access; and Diamond and Grand Slam group packages with MVP seats and tables for the party, which averge out to about $750-800 a person.
    http://www.downtownoakland.org/moneyball.html

  8. Nathan says:

    Bill Burke (along with foreign investors) offers $1.2 billion for the Dodgers per ESPN Los Angeles. Could put a final end to any Lew Wolff gets the Dodgers rumors.

    http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/mlb/story/_/id/6917853/frank-mccourt-offered-12-billion-los-angeles-dodgers-report-says

  9. pjk says:

    …think I’ll stick with $5.75 at the Almaden Cineplex in Willow Glen. Of course, it is good that the premiere is actually being held in Oakland instead of Frisco or LA. (I still remember Johnny Carson commenting about Rickey Henderson breaking the stolen base record “up in San Francisco.”)

  10. Sid says:

    @jeff-athletic
    I feel ya 100%.

    Another thing that is strange is that when the AL and NL combined why wasn’t the whole market shared like Chicago, New York, and LA?

    My thinking is because Wally Haas being the poor business man that he was did not care and the Giants pulled a “fast one” on the A’s and MLB.

    Haas for how much he spent, never understood business and the dynamics around it since he was in fact a “spoiled rich kid” born with a “silver spoon”.

    The CHI, LA, and NY owners were all smart enough to have their territories shared when the leagues combined. Haas should have done the same to protect the A’s.

    Otherwise, the reason why the Giants needed permission from the A’s to explore Santa Clara County was because it was shared NL/AL territory but since the leagues were separate they needed permission from the A’s.

    Then when the leagues combined the Giants “slyly” added SC, Monterey, and Santa Cruz Counties therefore bottling the A’s in the East Bay for life.

    Unbelievable the Bay Area did not become shared back then and it is Haas’ fault. Any other owner would have seen this one easily.

  11. jk-usa says:

    I think even $1.2 bill is too rich for LW/JF’s blood, unless they were to bring in outside help. They got a bargain deal for the A’s in 2006, and has almost doubled in value in 5 years. Pretty good for not really doing much on and off the field since they bought the team, excpet for their obsession over SJ which may never happen.

  12. pjk says:

    …The A’s value is probably helped by their being free to move in two years.

  13. jk-usa says:

    What adds to the Dodgers value is Dodger Stadium and 350 acre Chavez Ravine. The park has seen some upgrades, but it’s still rather old and way too big. They’re averaging 36k, their lowest in 20 years, and the now shows are up to 10k per game.

  14. eb says:

    “he(Haas) was in fact a “spoiled rich kid” born with a “silver spoon”. Why was that necessary?

  15. jk-usa says:

    @Sid–FYI, Mr. Haas saved the A’s from going to Denver in 1981. You should be thankful for that, but are just bitter on him giving the G’s TR’s to SCC. Haas’ ownership turned around a patehtic, sinking franchise into a competior and made the Coliseum a much fan friendly place to see a ball game, fixing the place up, adding more variety in food, music between innings, and great promotions among other things. Sure, he was born into wealth, and so was John Fisher. It’s what you do with that wealth to make a difference in the world that matters. He set up foundations early in life, gave generously to many causes and never stopped. I haven’t heard much what JF has done with his money except buying expensive art. Haas’ leadsership in Levi Strauss glory years was pretty impressive. So calling him a poor businessman is quite ignorant on your part. Wanting to win and keeping fan favorite players was expensive and didn’t alwys work out, but It’s not always about making an easy buck. JF and LW couldn’t hold a candle to this man.

  16. Sid says:

    @jk-usa- Too bad Haas was a poor business man and he is the reason why where we are today.

    John Fisher is bad example…why? It is because he is the “silent partner” not the head guy like Lew Wolff is. Fisher makes no decisions, Wolff does. Wolff is a solid businessman and understands this stuff in and out.

    Haas was the wrong guy in the long run. He buried the A’s by letting the Giants into San Jose and did so even more by not demanding T-rights be shared.

    Was Haas a great man? Yes he was….I am not debating that. He was an amazing philanthropist and an overall a good dude….An trooper and upstanding citizen as a person.

    Was Haas a good businessman? No he wasn’t and that is what matters “right now”. His nature was of a man who is too “nice” and look what happened? Nice guys finish last and the A’s are paying for it.

    It was Haas who let the A’s lose 30M a year to remain competitive and when he had the chance to boot the Giants out of the Bay Area he got “back stabbed” for his generosity….Albeit he was long gone and the franchise took the brunt of it and still is.

    In sports there is “karma” or “logic” and no “justice” as you can see by the situation currently in front of us…The Giants finally winning the World Series in the midst of this tells you that.

    On a side note….the offer for the Dodgers is bad as Selig has not approved from reading around. Selig does not let just anyone into the Lodge…..You need a pass and I do not think these guys have one.

  17. jk-usa says:

    @sid–Wolff should stick to his real estate, because he has no idea how to run a baseball team.

  18. pjk says:

    …Sid’s right. Haas was so benevolent he locked the A’s into a place where they can’t get a new ballpark. He only asked for two counties while letting the Giants have 6. The Giants are now rubbing the A’s noses in Haas’s generosity and, to add insult to injury, are personally banning the people of San Jose from ever having Major League Baseball. If the A’s leave the Bay Area, we can look at Haas’s decision to only ask for Alameda and Contra Costa counties as a major cause.

  19. eb says:

    Wally Haas was a great man and a great baseball owner. Probably the Bay Area’s best sports owner, if you take into account Eddie D.’s scumbag behavior. Was the decision he made about San Jose the best for the Athletics in the long run? Probably not, but if he went along with kicking out the Giants he would have gone against his own character and he would have been looked at as a villain by the majority of Bay Area baseball fans. I hate, hate, hate the Giants, but I wouldn’t want them to have left. As a Raider fan I saw in my family the devastation of loosing a team can cause. God forbid the A’s leave the Bay, I will not hold a grudge against the Haas ownership, he brought way too much joy to all of us.

  20. LoneStranger says:

    @jk- Have to disagree with you here. Haas didn’t save the A’s from moving to Denver. It was…you guessed it… the City of Oakland who denied Finley release from the stadium contract….for the second time. From Wikipedia:
    .
    “Finley nearly sold the team to buyers who would have moved them to Mile High Stadium in Denver for the 1978 season and the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans for 1979. Though the American League owners appeared to favor the Denver deal, it fell through when the city of Oakland refused to release the A’s from their lease. The city was in the midst of its battle with the Oakland Raiders over their move to Los Angeles and didn’t want to lose both teams. Not surprisingly, only 306,763 paying customers showed up to watch the A’s in 1979, the team’s worst attendance since leaving Philadelphia.”
    .
    Two years later, Finley’s wife wanted a divorce, but wouldn’t accept partial ownership of the team as settlement:
    .
    “He agreed in principle to sell to businessman Marvin Davis, who would have moved the Athletics to Denver. However, just before Finley and Davis were due to sign a definitive agreement, the Raiders announced their move to Los Angeles. Oakland and Alameda County officials, not wanting to be held responsible for losing Oakland’s status as a big-league city in its own right, refused to let Finley out of his lease with the Coliseum.”
    .
    I sense a pattern. A’s get ready to leave, and Oakland freaks out. Not unlike the past two years. Third times a charm, though, right? Methinks Oakland has zero major teams by the decade’s end.

  21. pjk says:

    Three ownership groups in four have wanted to move the team out of Oakland, dating back to the 1970s. So either the A’s have had the misfortune of consistently getting stuck with meanie owners or maybe these guys are on to something.

  22. Jeffrey says:

    Levi’s seems to be doing pretty well.

  23. jk-usa says:

    @pjk–what a selective memory you have, How about all the times the Giants owners wanted to move the team out of SF and/or out of state? Finally an ownership (who didn’t bitch and whine at the Stick) was committed to a new park in SF and made it happen, and the rest in history. The same thing could and should happen in Oakland. Too much rich, colorful history in the O to throw away for a move down south. I’m hoping this big MoneyBall premiere gets some positive press for the O, which may help the O’s chances to hang on to their team. How about a big announcement by Bud Selig in front of the 3000 people at the Paramount that Oakland’s VC is picked for the new ballpark, and LW can join in or sell. That would be cool.

  24. pjk says:

    We’ve already gone over how a privately built ballpark is not going to work in Oakland except as an act of charity. Which corporations are going to provide the funding? The same ones that leave the suites empty at A’s and Raiders games now? So you still think other ownership groups will be lining ready to spend $850 mill to $1 billion of their own money to buy the team and build a $500 mill ballpark? Good luck with that one. Can Oakland even buy up the land for a ballpark like San Jose has done? I don’t see how. The owners will have to pay for that, too. (LIke it’s been said, nothing is stopping prospective ownership groups from stepping forward and offering to do this project now. But the silence is deafening.) And like it’s been said re: A’s history in Oakland – the Brooklyn Dodgers are probably the most-storied team in baseball history. But they could not get a new park in Brooklyn. So they left.

  25. pjk says:

    FWIW, A’s ownership groups have wanted to move the team even when there was nothing at alll wrong with the ballpark. Even when it was a great ballpark for its time. With the Giants, Candlestick was a problem from Day 1. So the two teams’ situations are not really comparable over the long term.

  26. jeff-athletic says:

    It’s not just the Coli that’s the problem. It’s also the city, not enough corporate support, and only having Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

    Even when the Coli was good for it’s time (before Mt Davis), the A’s still were financial minnows.

    The Bay Area is huge, and has lots of corporate wealth. You’d think that it offers plenty to be a viable two team market.

    But alas, it seems like it has always been problematic. But now the G’s have there great new ballpark, and they’re doing great, with even better times up ahead when AT&T is paid off.

    And the A’s will be in the same position if they can build at Diridon, with little or no impact on the Giants.

    Lets face it, both teams draw from all over the Bay Area, and Northern California. Right now, the Giants have the lion’s share of everything.

  27. pjk says:

    The Giants enjoy having the A’s consigned to the least-lucrative part of the Bay Area while they get lucrative Frisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties and several counties beyond those. Not putting the East Bay down, but that’s simply the way it is.( Just like saying Frisco is a great tourist destination but San Jose is not. Like it or not, that’s the way it is) Selig can come in and fix this but is too terrified of what the Giants might do. And the beat goes on.

  28. Tony D. says:

    @pjk,
    What might the Giants do? Remember, no lawsuits allowed in Da Lodge brah!

  29. David says:

    Is there a rule in MLB that prohibits marketing in any territory? Is there a rule in MLB that prohibits companies, anywhere, from supporting any of the franchises? If not, I don’t see what the “problem” is.

  30. pjk says:

    Well, if there is such a ridiculous rule then the A’s are violating it since I have seen A’s billboards prominently in San Jose. I wonder if I’m violating MLB’s idiotic territorial rules myself when I drive from Giants territory to see an A’s game? …If the A’s had move to Fremont, they would have likely been called the San Jose at Fremont, making a mockery of MLB’s territoriies, since they would be named for a city that they are forbidden to play in.

  31. jeff-athletic says:

    @Tony D.

    “What might the Giants do? Remember, no lawsuits allowed in Da Lodge brah!”

    I would love, Love, LOVE!! to watch the Giants big-@ss hissy fit if/when Selig rules in favor of A’s at SJ.

  32. Jeffrey says:

    David, TR’s only really impact where a team can build a stadium.
    .
    The “problem” is that Silicon Valley companies aren’t going to spring to build a stadium in Oakland, at least not right now.
    .
    If Bud says “stay in Oakland” then maybe that changes. Though I really don’t think so.

  33. jk-usa says:

    I would love, Love, LOVE!! to see LW throw a big-@ss hissy fit if/when Selig rules in favor of A’s at the O. That would be priceless!! He then throws in the towel, cashes out, sells to locals and retires in Tahiti. Oops, forgot, he has that exciting, mind-blowing soccer venue to finish. BB can be his GM, and he can bedazzle everyone with another Moneyball team and maybe bring home a cup or a boot or whatever the hec they give out.

  34. pjk says:

    …if Selig rules in favor of the A’s staying in Oakland, let’s hope he has about $500–$600 mill available to pay for it, otherwise it’s not going to happen. If MLB really really wants the A’s in Oakland, MLB will have to pick up the tab because no one else will. Not the city of Oakland. Not the current ownership. And no prospective mystery owners have emerged either, as I’ve said. How many ballparks has MLB chipped in to pay for? Zero.

  35. jk-usa says:

    They’re not up for sale, so that’s why no mystery owner has emerged. Put them up forr sale and I’ll bet there would be lots of interest, unless BS really has it in for the A’s and denies another qualified pro-Oakland group.

  36. pjk says:

    I think we’ve been through this before: the 49ers were not for sale, but Steve Young tried to buy them; the Warriors were not for sale, but it was no secret Larry Ellison wanted to buy them. Who’s made it known that they’re ready to spend $850 mill to $1 bill to buy the A’s and build a ballpark in Oakland? Nobody.

  37. Nathan says:

    Bud can’t say “you must build in Oakland” he can only say “you can’t build in San Jose”

  38. jk-usa says:

    @Nathan–if Bud says “Hey Lewie, make Oakland work, ” I think Lewie may take his advice. Without Bud, him and JF wouldn’t even have the team, making 20 mill profit a year and doubling the value in 5 years. We should be so fortunate.

  39. Tony D. says:

    Let’s not kid ourselves here: after nearly two and a half years of “study,” Bud’s not going to tell Lewie to make it work in Oakland. These are $mart men we’re talking about here: no money for land acquisitions, business relocations, massive infrastructure improvements, public financing (wont even mention corporate support…oops, just did!)…you figure it out Sherlock.Sherlock,!

  40. jk-usa says:

    “these are smart men we’re talking about here.”..lol.
    That’s the funniest line i’ve heard all week!!
    On that note, good night and GO A’S!!

  41. A's observer says:

    To JK-USA:

    Bud Selig already torpoedoed a pro-Oakland group so I believe there’s zero chance of him approving the sale to another pro-Oakland group.

    The A’s exit out of Oakalnd was pre-ordained by the rejection of the first Oakland group and the subsequent installation of LW and JF.

    Let’s try to grab that beer; I’m thinking we can maybe meet at Ricky’s sometime?

    A’s observer.

  42. jk-usa says:

    @A’s Observer–sounds good. I’ve befriended a lot of good pro-Oakland guys like yourself online but haven’t met with any outside yet.

  43. Tony D. says:

    The funniest thing I heard this week was the idea that Buddy would tell Lewie to make it work in Oakland (stomach still hurting from that one). Oh well, no need to further engage with denialists on this thread…next topic!

  44. A's observer says:

    To JK USA:

    Let’s figure out a time and make it happen.

    Are you a Raiders fan as well?

    A’s Observer.

  45. Marine Layer says:

    @jk-usa/A’s observer – If you two would like for me to exchange your email addresses, I can do that away from the comments.

  46. jk-usa says:

    ML, that would be cool. Thank you. :)

  47. jk-usa says:

    @A’s Observer–yes, I’m a Raiders fan and also a Warriors fans, but not like I use to be. The A’s are my team going back 40 years, through thick and thin, and it’s pretty thin now. It’s depressing how bad things have gotten and their uncertain future.

  48. Genaro says:

    ML, I wonder what your thoughts are on the recent and sudden negative-state of flux surrounding the Astros, Dodgers, and Mets, with respect to a possible answer from the BRC? May this force Selig to act due to it being the “easiest” decision?

  49. Marine Layer says:

    @Genaro – If we take Wolff’s statement that the A’s “aren’t on the backburner” at face value, then yes, it’s possible. You have to think that there’s some level of priority to resolving these teams’ crises. For the Dodgers and Mets it’s mostly about letting the legal system work through it, which won’t happen quickly. For the Astros it’s more about whether or not Drayton McLane is in a rush to get rid of the team. The Astros and A’s situations are entirely internal MLB affairs, so those could be resolved first. Can’t tell with Selig.

  50. A's observer says:

    TO JK USA AND ML:

    JK – Marine Layer provided our respective email addresses so please email me when you get a chance.

    ML – Thanks!

    A’s observer.

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