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.
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.
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.