Notes from Wolff-Guardino interview 10/4/11
SVLG President Carl Guardino hosted Lew Wolff on KLIV’s The CEO Show (MP3) again, and it wasn’t some fluff piece. For brevity’s sake I didn’t transcribe all of the interview, only a select few quotes. Listen to the rest and decide for yourself.
Guardino asked about the A’s relationship with Cisco Systems, which seemingly hasn’t budged one bit since the Fremont unveiling in 2006.
GUARDINO: Cisco Systems, of course, is San Jose’s largest employer. They’ve been enthusiastic from the start about partnering with you on a ballpark in downtown San Jose. Are they still involved?
WOLFF: Well absolutely. John Chambers always says to me that we’re partners for life. I hope it’s even longer than that. They’ve been standing up with us. We haven’t really imposed on them too much the last couple of years because it’s up to us to deliver, not them.
Guardino went on to ask about the response to the SVLG 75 CEO letter written a year ago. No response from MLB or Commissioner Selig yet. Then Guardino asked how moving to San Jose would shift the future prospects for the ballclub:
Without question the demographics of San Jose per the number of corporations, which you know, the number of sponsorships, and the fact that we’d have a brand new, really creative venue, will probably almost double our revenues. And that’s on the conservative side. And normally baseball is pretty simple. Depending on your revenues, if your salaries are 40% or 50% of your revenues, you can compete. So if our revenues get up to $230-240 million that totally changes our focus in terms of what we can do.
Stop. At no point in any of my previous projections did I ever have the A’s revenue going past $200 million when Cisco Field opens. If Wolff is thinking $230-240 million, the A’s are suddenly in Giants-Angels territory. That’s a huge development. And it’s one Wolff could regret making as fans may hold him to that.
Wolff also talked about the some of the features in the ballpark we’ve talked about here, such as minisuites and personal signage and advertising. Asked about other features of the ballpark, Wolff describes “that thing in right field”:
Because of the size of the site we have – it’s rather compact – we will have a high wall in right field area. Which will have interesting seating which I won’t get into because I can’t describe it properly… We’re not trying to copy either the retro parks like the Giants have, nor are we trying to copy Wrigley Field or Fenway. We’re trying to do what Silicon Valley and all your members of (SVLG) do. Do something that hasn’t been done before, and not worry about where it hits because it doesn’t have an identical twin somewhere.
Wolff makes the case for sharing the Bay Area again. County Assessor Larry Stone (who had called in during a previous interview) asked to clarify Billy Beane’s statement there may be window for MLB to decide after the end of the World Series. Wolff’s response:
No, he’s not misspoken. Part of what Billy said, and I agree with, I may have even prompted Billy to say it, is that we need an answer, frankly now. While you’re not supposed to make announcements in October… we don’t feel bound that baseball will have to wait until after the World Series.
We’ve reached a point now where being in limbo, like we have been for so long, is not fair to Oakland. It’s not fair to San Jose. It’s not fair to our staff of about 130 people. It’s just not fair to anybody. Even a “No” answer, or “You can’t move to San Jose,” we need to know that. We can no longer – if we have any power – dance around this question.
It’s worth listening to the rest of the interview (MP3). They talk about the Giants and their ownership change, the future A’s roster and payroll, and several other topics.