Category Archives: Radio & TV
Adding to the intrigue regarding last week’s reshuffling of 95.7 The Game, several radio announcements have been made in the last week or so. First, KNBR’s Tom Tolbert will contribute a minute-long segment at the top of every hour on CBS Sports Radio. (The segment is much like ESPN Radio’s Sports Minute with Mike Tirico, which is heard in other markets with ESPN Radio stations.) The new network was announced in June and will launch on September 4, anchored by numerous CBS and Cumulus stations, including the two KNBRs.
This CBS Sports Radio is different from the previous one, which was syndicator Dial Global’s (Westwood One) mostly game broadcasts with the CBS brand. The new CBS Sports Radio is a 24/7 sports talk network with no carriage of the four major pro sports at the outset. That’s no big deal for the KNBR twins since they have the Giants and 49ers. They’ll be fine, although I’m curious to see how much ESPN Radio remains in the lineup.
You may also remember that, back in March, Dial Global cut a deal with Entercom to switch its game broadcasts from KNBR to 95.7 The Game, coinciding with the NCAA tournament. Dial Global has the NFL, It’s additional sports programming to help bring in new listeners, though it’s not the same as landing a team like the Warriors or Raiders.
Turns out that Dial Global and NBC Sports are also launching their own network. They’ve announced a flurry of new hosts to fill their talk lineup, including the oft-traveled Erik Kuselias (meh) and former NY Giants (and De La Salle Spartan) Amani Toomer. Toomer’s show will be in the late night Eastern (10 PM – 1 AM ET) slot. Current NFL TV analyst Rodney Harrison will get his own weekend show. The interesting thing about NBC Sports Radio is its launch date: also September 4.
That lines up with The Game’s scheduled programming changes, which have a few details remaining to hash out. For now, Dial Global hasn’t said whether it’ll go whole hog with the NBC branding, but it stands to reason that it will. The name Dial Global has no recognition outside of the radio industry, and NBC has been thorough in having the NBC Sports moniker permeate all of its TV sports properties, from the former Versus network (now NBC Sports Network) to the Comcast SportsNets, which have NBC Sports as part of their tagline with every broadcast.
I’m merely connecting the dots, but it makes sense, doesn’t it? Come Tuesday, fifth tier Yahoo! Sports Radio will be ditched for NBC Sports Radio, which has much stronger recognition despite its startup status. Funny thing is that for decades, KNBR-680 was the NBC affiliate for Northern California, a stint that only ended as the station switched to the sports format full time. Throughout the 2000′s the A’s shuffled between CBS-owned affiliates before signing with The Game. Remember how I remarked how cozy the relationship was between The Game and CSN Bay Area/California? That may well have been a prelude to something much bigger. And there’s still the Warriors situation to shake out. September could be a banner month for 95.7, as The Game literally changes.
95.7 The Game had another of its “blockbuster” announcements today during The Wheelhouse, and for once there was actual news. The lineup is changing from 4 shows spanning 6 AM – 10 PM to 4 shows from 6 AM to 7 PM, starting after Labor Day.
- The Rise Guys (unchanged): 6 AM – 10 AM
- Townsend & Steinmetz: 10 AM – 12 PM
- The Wheelhouse (Lund & Papa, no rotating co-host): 12 PM – 3 PM
- The Drive (Tierney & TBA co-host): 3 PM – 7 PM
Listeners are asking what happened to The Chris Townsend Show from 7-10. I think the answer is simple. The Warriors have been rumored to be talking to Entercom about switching from KNBR to The Game, so to properly accommodate W’s games and pre/post-game programming they had to move things around. Using the old schedule with Townsend from 6 to 10, he’d be preempted several times a week by the W’s during the fall/winter and then daily with the A’s. The 7 PM slot is plum when it isn’t being preempted, when it is you get Damon Bruce moving to 1050 after years of frustration.
Making Steinmetz a permanent host would seem to be clincher. He’s a good basketball analyst, though unfortunately he’s pretty bad or inattentive to other sports. Having Steinmetz on is good from a “morning after” analysis standpoint, and Townsend can deftly handle the other sports. The curious thing about the change is that the slot is only two hours, which is not unheard of in other markets but in the Bay Area is unusual. Seems like it would make more sense to shorten the morning show to 9 and give Townsend-Steinmetz 9-noon.
The 7 PM slot is a bit of a mystery. I could see rotating shows for the football teams and maybe a college football show, unless the station wanted to go cheap and use Yahoo! Sports programming. It’s also possible that Townsend could do double-duty with the 10-12 slot and night slot since he’s done it in the past. You’d think that if that were the case The Game would’ve announced it. Warriors broadcasts plus postgame will preempt regular programming for at least an hour 50-60 times throughout the season, and if the W’s go to the playoffs that number is sure to grow.
Change is afoot, and Entercom clearly needs to ink deals to lift the station. The Warriors haven’t announced a radio partner yet and we’re only six weeks away from the first preseason game. The next move seems obvious.
We’re overdue for a news roundup. Now seems like a good time for one.
From BANG’s Joe Stiglich:
A’s managing partner Lew Wolff says, to his knowledge, the team’s stadium issue is not on agenda for next week’s owners meetings.
— Joe Stiglich (@joestiglich) August 10, 2012
Last week’s visit to Oakland and San Jose by Bud Selig’s three-man panel foreshadowed this.
Update 1:04 PM – Stiglich has a writeup with quotes from Wolff, such as:
“It’s up to the commissioner’s office,” Wolff said. “… This is a process that unfortunately is taking longer than I hoped, but it’s a fair process.”
- Janet Marie Smith, who oversaw the construction of Camden Yards and the renovation of Fenway Park, is moving out west to Los Angeles to take a similar role with the Dodgers. If her previous work is any indication, she will keep it classy all the way. [Dodgers press release]
- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has set a deadline of September 15 to wrap up labor negotiations before the league imposes a lockout. The NHL and NHLPA are always playing catchup with the other leagues in terms of CBAs. They imposed a 57% player share in the last agreement as other leagues were dropping towards the 50% mark. Now the NHL wants to drop it to 46%. It’s going to be a long winter. [AP]
- A developer is proposing a ballpark for the Tampa Bay Rays in the Gateway area of St. Petersburg, just over the bridge from Tampa. St. Pete’s stance has been to not allow the Rays to get out of their lease at Tropicana Field unless a new stadium were conceived in St. Pete, not Tampa. No financial details were available. [Tampa Tribune/Michael Sasso]
- The 49ers and the City of Santa Clara settled a lawsuit with a County oversight board. $30 million in redevelopment money was at stake. In order to keep local school budgets balanced, the 49ers won’t get the $30 million for several years. Seems fair. [SJ Mercury News/Mike Rosenberg]
- Get used to metal detectors at NFL games starting this season. [Oakland Raiders]
- Speaking of the Raiders, they are using the league’s new 85% measure to determine sellouts this season. The way it works, a team has to sell out 85% of its non-premium seats by the usual deadline (normally Thursday for a Sunday game) in order for a game not to be subject to a blackout. The catch is that any tickets sold between the 85% and 100% marks are subject to higher revenue sharing. Teams like the Raiders and Bucs chose to use the new standard, the Bills and Jags went with the old standard, which required all non-premium seats to be sold by the deadline.
- The City of Industry approved a deal to buy 600 acres within city limits for up to $26.7 million. The land is where the somewhat-forgotten Ed Roski/Majestic Realty stadium would be located. The parties still have to scramble to find a proper replacement for now-evaporated redevelopment funding. [Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/Ben Baeder]
- MLB’s postseason schedule has been released (knock on wood). [Biz of Baseball/Maury Brown]
More if it comes.
During last night’s game I made an observation on Twitter that initiated a robust debate.
— newballpark (@newballpark) July 26, 2012
That begat the following responses from BANG’s Tim Kawakami:
@newballpark Conspiracy! You must’ve bugged one of our secret meetings.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) July 26, 2012
Some angry A’s fans are funny. I guess there’s a vetting process to cover them now? Swear on Fosse’s scorecard? Root Beer Float ID card? — Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) July 26, 2012
and a bewildered response from the Chronicle’s Susan Slusser:
Thanks all! I was just taken about to hear Bay Area media biased against the A’s when I tweeted about astonishing Reddick catch. All OK now.
— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) July 26, 2012
Clearly, I wasn’t referring to Slusser, who has been the best in the business for years, and her beat colleagues Joe Stiglich and Jane Lee. I was referring to columnists like Kawakami, or the Scott Ostler column from yesterday. To his credit, Kawakami’s interview with Billy Beane was very illuminating and should answer a lot of questions about the organization’s postseason intentions. That said, such columns are few and far between. What’s more common is the standard tripe proffered by Lowell Cohn or Ostler, who may have confused the column space for a long tweet.
I’ve been following the A’s for more than 30 years, well before the popularity of Sports Talk Radio and the Internet. I was aware as a kid of the coverage inequity between the two teams. It was something I simply accepted as part of the sports media landscape. Fortunately for A’s fans, the expansion of information sources and real-time availability has not only lessened the impact of the gruff, eternally cynical, cigar-chomping (or free-food chomping) columnist, it has made that character a dinosaur. The A’s get better coverage now thanks to the tireless work of the local beats and the added perspective of national writers who, frankly, love Billy Beane (which helps). I’m perfectly fine with that. I no longer worry much about the lazy, often provocative style of the local sports columnist. Well, enough to get it off my chest for two posts, but anyway…
FWIW – Kawakami’s best work was when he was covering the Lakers for the LA Times.
P.S. – If you want to see a lazy, provocative media type get thoroughly destroyed, check out former Merc columnist Skip Bayless shrink in the face of Mavs owner Mark Cuban’s withering commentary.
Come 2014, the A’s will be a much richer team, a team capable of fielding a $100 million payroll. And they won’t have to build a ballpark, negotiate any new local media deals, or raise ticket prices to do it. That’s because new national television deals will be in place for the 2014 season, and they promise to make every team a good deal richer.
A flurry of stories have come out in the last week to trumpet the coming broadcast rights war. All of the current national broadcast deals expire at the end of next season, making this next set of TV rights negotiations a total free-for-all. I’ve assembled some of the articles for your perusal.
- Baseball’s Long, Hot Summer (Adweek/Anthony Crupi)
- For Baseball, TV Landscape Is Becoming a Pretty Picture (NY Times/Richard Sandomir)
- MLB Plans On Doubling TV Revenue (The Daily Courier/Jordan Kobritz)
- How Much Could MLB’s Next National Television Contracts Be Worth? (Baseball Prospectus/Maury Brown, subscription req’d)
Currently every team gets around $24 million per year in national TV money via three contracts (Fox, ESPN, TBS) plus international and digital media revenue. All told, it’s at least $33 million per team per year from baseball’s central revenue, or $1 billion for MLB total annually. According to many industry observers, the new TV rights deals should net MLB around $2 billion per year by themselves, at least doubling if not tripling the amount each team will get. That won’t mean all that much to the Yankees or Red Sox, since they’re often up against the luxury tax threshold. For a team like the A’s, however, it’s manna from heaven. A bump to $2.1 billion (a reasonable guess at this point) will put $70 million in every owner’s pockets, every year.
Let’s look at this at the micro level. Estimates have the A’s 2011 revenue at $160 million, though Lew Wolff will argue that it’s less. With greater ticket sales this year and other incrementally growing revenues, I’d wager that $160 million is a realistic number for this year (Forbes might say that it’s $165 million or more). Now add $42 million in fresh national TV money, and suddenly every team in baseball, including the A’s, is a $200 million revenue franchise. Use the typical 50/50 ratio of payroll to revenue, and the A’s payroll is $100 million. Simple, right? ($230 million doesn’t seem so far away anymore.)
Ah, but there’s more to it than that. Chances are the digital media and international broadcast money will also grow. Several teams will approach $300 million in revenue, which means that $150 million payrolls will become more commonplace. Again, all without raising the price of a single ticket. The A’s will continue to be a have-not relatively speaking, but that extra money should make it easier for ownership to sign a young slugger past arb years, or more than one. While we currently think of $75-80 million as the practical upper limit for payroll when Billy Beane feels the team is in contention, that amount should be the lower limit for payroll in the coming years. Giants ownership grumbled loudly about keeping this year’s payroll to $130 million. That figure should be their lower limit in 2014.
Exploding TV money will have one other important effect on teams: franchise valuations and sale prices should continue to grow. The Padres sold for $600 million plus $200 million for their share of the new Fox Sports San Diego network. I figure that puts the A’s at $500 million now, and that’s without the benefit of the new TV money. In 2014, the A’s should be worth $600 million easy. Knowing the gravy train that’s coming, Wolff/Fisher would be crazy to sell the franchise anytime soon, regardless of what happens to their San Jose ballpark pursuit in the near term. On the flip side, the growing franchise value will only make it that much more difficult for an outside group (Don Knauss & Co.) to buy the franchise and finance a stadium, soon to be a combined $1.1 billion price tag. If we’re looking for an event to burst the valuation bubble or dissuade Wolff/Fisher from continuing to own the team, the new TV contracts definitely aren’t it.
The most fascinating part of this will undoubtedly be the negotiations. When the last rights were negotiated, baseball was considered a sport on the decline among the networks, best relegated to regional sports networks and ESPN. Since then, NBC and CBS have launched their own sports network competitors to ESPN. Fox may convert Speed to all sports instead of just motorsports, the same way NBC converted OLN and CBS did CSTV. All three would want baseball as a tentpole for their fledgling networks and for their cable bundling efforts, the better to wring ever higher subscriber fees from consumers.
- Today’s youth probably have no idea that NBC was once the network that carried baseball, with Vin Scully and Joe Garagiola announcing Saturday’s Game of the Week. The peacock has now gone over a decade without baseball, and their desire now is hot and heavy. Baseball is just what NBCSN needs to gain traction among viewers, in addition to the Game of the Week. Keep in mind that because NBC’s big tentpoles are Sunday Night Football, the Olympics, Notre Dame football, and the NHL, there are huge swaths of weekend daytime programming for NBC that have no pro sports at all. That might lead people to think that when it comes to sports, NBC is out of sight, out of mind. Is NBC/Universal/Comcast will to spend money on MLB the way the company never would under Jeff Zucker? We’ll see. Pros: Better integration with Comcast Sportsnet properties. Cons: An even larger Bob Costas soapbox.
- CBS has rarely had MLB on TV over the last few decades, the exception being a financially disastrous gig in the early 90′s (thanks, Toronto Blue Jays). The Tiffany Network also owned the Yankees during the 60′s. That was about as far as they went. CBS likely has the same motivations as NBC. Under Les Moonves, the network has tended to stay away from baseball, so either they saw the light if they’re interested or it’s purely a carriage play. Pros: The unlikely yet possible resurrection of the MLB on CBS theme, which had a “The Natural” 80′s-style majesty. Cons: Potential re-teaming of Sean McDonough and Tim McCarver, one of the worst announcing tandems in broadcast history.
- Fox is the incumbent, and frankly, they’ve been shit the entire time. At the outset, Fox declared war on ESPN, claiming that its “tribal” approach to sports by grabbing RSNs would allow it to integrate well with the national broadcast. That never happened, and Fox has only retreated ever since. Not that I liked the now-discarded theme song, but to replace it unceremoniously two years ago with the NFL on Fox theme clearly showed where the network’s thinking is. The move to 4 PM broadcasts this season is a good one because it opens the afternoon slots for teams, but I can’t help but think Fox just did it because they didn’t have any primetime programming on Saturday nights for the East Coast. Pros: Can’t think of any except maybe Ken Rosenthal. Cons: Fox may get even lazier in its handling of MLB.
- ESPN may have the most to lose. They absorbed the hit that came with the launch of the MLB Network (not part of the conversation BTW), and focused on making sure their web and news coverage stayed solid in the face of new competition, though they let go of quite a few talents along the way. They still have Sunday and Wednesday night games and little good to replace them if they lost those properties. Try as it might to jam as much NFL news into its summer programming, ESPN can only go so far with football. The network has reduced the number of games per week it broadcasts. It may be forced to bid to broadcast more games per week if the other cable sports networks are willing to do the same. Pros: Webgems. Cons: Chris Berman.
- TBS will probably get outbid on its little property, Saturday Night Baseball. They tried to transition from the Braves to all teams using all of their Atlanta-based talent and production and have generally done poorly or have been ignored in the process. Handling of the playoffs, which Turner tried to do similarly to the way it handles NBA games, was confusing and generally abysmal. Clearly, national baseball broadcasts weren’t in Turner’s wheelhouse. Pros: Eck in studio. Cons: Dick Stockton.
There’s a decent chance that MLB will structure bidding so that a network can bid on a specific league, the way the NFL splits broadcasts for its two conferences. That would be an interesting twist, though it would create an inherently unequal situation due to the popularity of the Yankees and Red Sox. I’m certainly not digging the idea of AL nights and NL nights. Digital carriage also has to enter the picture. Streaming of national games may be part of every deal, though you can bet that they’d still be subject to those frustrating blackout rules.
How do think this new windfall will affect the A’s in the future? How should broadcast rights be distributed? Do you have a favorite channels on which you’d like to see national broadcasts?
Good stuff in this edition.
- Save Oakland Sports is having one of its regular meetings next Monday, June 25 @ 6 PM, at the Red Lion Hotel, 150 Hegenberger, Oakland.
- CBS Radio and Cumulus (parent of KNBR) announced a new sports radio network that will launch in January. The network is expected to feature talent currently on CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network. A key talent on the latter is Jim Rome, whose daily TV show launched in April. Rome’s radio show is syndicated by Premiere Radio Networks (a News Corp. subsidiary), so there’s some natural friction there. I have to think that Rome came to CBS-SN with the idea that he might jump to this new radio network too at some point, though at some $30 million per year, his radio persona doesn’t come cheap. Both of the KNBR stations were identified as future network affiliates for the CBS Sports Radio, which creates a bit of a juggling situation for Cumulus. Will Cumulus continue to pay decent money to be an ESPN Radio affiliate and carry some Fox Sports Radio programming on the side? If not, does that free up ESPN Radio to move to The Game? And how does an ESPN Radio relationship conform with The Game’s cozy relationship with Comcast Sportsnet? Fantasy radio operators, start your typewriters.
- Oakland’s City Council approved a $1 billion plan to finally remake the Oakland Army Base. Unlike some of the more glamorous or controversial plans that have been proposed (movie studio, casino, big box retail, auto row), this one will stay true to the base’s largest neighbor: the Port of Oakland. The plan will include new infrastructure, warehousing by ProLogis, and a logistics center. Every so often the base has come up in discussion here as a potential stadium site, but it’s an idea that’s never had legs within City Hall.
- Greg Jamison’s quest to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes has hit a big roadblock in the form of a lawsuit by the Goldwater Institute. Now there are questions as to whether Jamison, who is not a billionaire, can pull off the acquisition without the sweetheart deal approved by the City of Glendale that would subsidize the team’s continued operation at Jobing.com Arena. The franchise, which is owned by the NHL at the moment, is being forced to lawyer up to complete the sale. If that can’t happen…
- The City of Seattle and Chris Hansen are getting ready to finalize their new SoDo arena plan. Hansen would pay around 60%, with the remaining 40% coming from public sources. The political minefield is being negotiated right now, as the City Council doesn’t want the plan to come to a public vote, and the Port of Seattle is objecting because it fears that the arena will adversely impact port operations. Any team (NHL, NBA) that relocates to Seattle would play temporarily at Key Arena while the new arena is being built.
- This week’s cautionary tale about public stadium financing comes from Chester, PA, where not only has a MLS stadium not been a development catalyst, the stadium tenant Philadelphia Union missed a $500k PILOT payment in 2010.
- The BCS will have a four-team playoff starting in 2014. Semifinal games would rotate among the four current BCS sites, with the championship game going to the highest bidder among them.
- Jim Caple has another one of his ballpark column series, this time an elimination tournament of all 30 MLB parks. In the tournament, fans can vote online for their favorite ballpark in each matchup. We’re at the semifinal stage, with Fenway Park (seeded #2) facing off against AT&T Park (#3) and Camden Yards (#4) vs. tourney Cinderella Miller Park (#24). The Coliseum was seeded #28 and lost in the first round to Target Field (#5) by a whopping 91% to 9% with over 60,000 votes, which is about right. Don’t feel bad though. New Yankee Stadium also lost in a landslide. The Coli’s Mt. Davis was also awarded Worst View. Finally, Caple gets a shoutout to Shibe Park, which ended up #8 in his list of places he wishes were still around.
KQED producer extraordinaire and friend-of-the-blog Nina Thorsen has been interviewing many people about the ballpark and potential relocation issue. Today she posted the second in a series, this one focusing on San Jose interests for and against Cisco Field. This follows up on last week’s Oakland-focused segment (which had a bit with our own Jeffrey). Next week will be a comparison of Oakland and San Jose from a bottom line standpoint. All of it is definitely worth a listen.
Something worth a read is a piece by Fox Sports’ Tracy Ringolsby from March 31. Somehow this article eluded me despite my best combing for news, and for that I apologize. Gojohn10 referred me to the article yesterday while we were at the game, and I was so astonished by the statement within that I couldn’t believe it. Sure enough, he brought up the article and I was very surprised. I posted the important blurb in the comments, but I’m putting it into this post so that front page readers will see it. Enjoy.
The challenges for Oakland A’s is not finding a buyer, but rather coming to agreement with the San Francisco Giants on the A’s desire to move their franchise to San Jose.
“Both sides are deeply positioned and I am in the middle of trying to fashion some type of an agreement,” Selig said. “It is very complicated.”
No other two-team market has territorial rights, but the Giants claim they control the San Jose area, and contend that was a critical part of their ability to finance AT&T Park. Giants officials also argue that Lewis Wolff and his partners were aware of that agreement at the time they purchased the franchise from the Haas Family, which is why they were able to buy the team for $180 million.
“It is different because in 1990 when Bob Lurie wanted to move the Giants to San Jose, Walter Haas, the wonderful owner of the Oakland club, who did things in the best interest of baseball, granted permission,” Selig said. “What got lost there is they didn’t feel it was permission in perpetuity. He gave Bob permission to go down there. Unfortunately or fortunately, it never got changed. We are dealing with a lot of history here.”
It’s part of the challenge of being commissioner.
“Nobody ever said it was going to be an easy job,” Selig said.
I’ve never heard or read Selig go into that much depth on the issue before. It’s a clear indicator that he is actually trying to broker a deal, which as I have written here repeatedly, would not be easy to do but could be done.
The Razor and Mr. T is no more.
Now it’s just Mr. T.
Longtime KNBR host Ralph Barbieri was unceremoniously fired earlier today with six months left on his contract. His cohort, Tom Tolbert, emotionally said goodbye to his radio partner of 15 years, while Barbieri had 7 minutes to clear his things and get escorted off the premises. While Tolbert has done well by himself when The Razor was away or on vacation, Tolbert will probably have a new partner sooner rather than later> This may simply be to keep Tolbert, who walked away from a lucrative national TV career to have more family time, happy.
Ratings for the February radio month were released two weeks ago, and while they show enormous dropoffs for both KNBR-680 and The Game, some of that is to be expected thanks to the ending of the football season and no baseball until March.
There’s probably a simple bottom-line reason for the move. Tolbert is the real draw for the show and he resonates better with the younger demographic than the oft-acerbic Barbieri. KNBR parent Cumulus could easily stick someone else in there for much cheaper and continue to dominate the drivetime slot. There’s an opportunity for The Game’s “The Drive with Tierney and Davis” to get some of that audience, but remember that some of the KNBR audience is locked in thanks to a natural lead-in to Giants baseball.
KNBR could put Tolbert and Damon Bruce together, which seems like a good fit. Then KNBR could go to an all-syndicated lineup on 1050, except for new show as counter-programming to Giants games. As for Barbieri, it appears that he’s not saying much while he weighs his options. The Game’s relentless hammering of KNBR over the age of both Barbieri and Gary Radnich would make it a complete 180 for the station to hire The Razor, plus he wouldn’t come cheap. He famously revealed last year that he had Parkinson’s disease. The effects of his coping with the illness are obviously unclear at this point.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Giants’ recent extension with KNBR led to this management decision. The Giants are looking at every opportunity to maximize revenues in the wake of a slumbering Dodgers franchise, so cutting a little overhead here or there would make sense. Radio’s a tough business, and sometimes that means letting go of one of your biggest media supporters. Good luck to the Razor, wherever he lands.
Feels like we need this since the week has been dominated by the PR war.
- The A’s announced today that they will have a private entrance for season ticket holders. The terms are that you’ll need the credential from your season ticket book along with your ticket to use the entrance. In addition, for any extra tickets you buy for a particular game, those holding the extra tickets won’t be able to use the entrance. It seems like this was done to reward STH during bobblehead and other high-demand giveaway games, though the FAQ emphasizes that distribution of giveaways will be proportional. The entrance will be next door to Ticket Services.
- Jeff Moorad withdrew his application to become the “control person” of the Padres, leaving John Moores as the control person for the time being. The move is considered a procedural one, with the need to consummate a TV deal between the Padres and the new Fox Sports San Diego channel first. Moorad’s deal to acquire the team from Moores was constructed so that Moorad could stretch the timeline out to four years if necessary, though his intent was to acquire controlling interest sooner than that. MLB had raised concerns that Moorad might take a lot of the Fox money upfront and use it to buy out Moores or to pay down debt, instead of putting it into the franchise (the McCourt-Dodgers TV problem). It’s a smart move by MLB, because if the rumor had some merit it could’ve sapped some $10 milion per year in revenue from the team. Now the Padres are Exhibit A in how to pull off a sale that puts the team on the best financial footing. If anything, it looks like Moorad was putting the cart before the horse. And this article from the SD Union-Tribune sheds light on the group of owners set in opposition to Moorad. There’s a big difference between that and the supposed foment against T-rights changes that Lew Wolff faces.
- In Miami, the 5,700+ parking spaces at the Marlins ballpark are proving to be a logistical nightmare, not like we didn’t see that coming. The suggestion: buy pre-paid parking or else you’re taking your chances finding a spot on someone’s lawn.
- As he is wont to do, Peter Hartlaub went into the archives and found a concept for a huge, multipurpose stadium on what looks like Laney College. The year: 1960. 80,000 for football and 48,000 for baseball? Not without a lot of Astroturf.
- MLS Commissioner Don Garber really wants a stadium and team somewhere in the five four boroughs of New York City. Sorry, Staten Island.
- Bruce Jenkins has a few words about the A’s-Giants tete-a-tete. Surprisingly, he wants the Giants crushed and calls them bullies. Sounds good to me.
- There’s a movement afoot to get rid of the television blackout once and for all.
- Robert Gammon considers Coliseum City the last, best chance to retain Oakland’s teams. Sad then, that Oakland’s announcement was drowned out by the A’s-Giants drama. There was a press conference on Wednesday, though no representatives for the three teams showed up to provide support.
- Tim Kawakami thinks Joe Lacob and Peter Guber should announce where they intend to settle by next year sometime. That might be a little premature. If the Giants were to build an arena in time for the 2017-18 NBA season, they wouldn’t have to break ground until summer 2015. That puts EIR and related prep work at the beginning of 2014. Even then, if there were some snags the Coliseum Authority isn’t going to say no to a year-to-year lease, since the debt service on Oracle Arena runs through 2027.
- BTW – Yoenis Cespedes is expected to play his first MLB game ever on TV tomorrow against the Reds (CSNCA, Noon). Don’t miss it.
One more thing about the Giants’ press release: They implied that Wolff/Fisher got a no-San Jose discount when the A’s were purchased for $172 million in 2005. What then, do they say about Arte Moreno, who bought the Angels for $185 million in 2003? He didn’t have any territorial restrictions that called for a discount, and that was for a much larger market. Weak sauce Gigantes. Maybe if some of The Game’s and KNBR’s radio talent actually did some fact-checking they’d know this stuff.
Added 2:50 PM – The field is almost done!
Listen to Bill Madden’s interview with The Drive. It’s far more substantial than the one with the KNBR morning zoo.
Madden’s arguments are these:
- From reading the Major League Constitution, the fact is that the Giants’ hold over the South Bay is ingrained. Per the document, any change would have to be via a 3/4 vote of the owners and could not occur via a Selig decree.
- Changing T-rights would create a huge precedent, which Stuart Sternberg could use to move the Rays to New Jersey.
- Bud Selig would like to broker an agreement but Madden doesn’t know how it could be done because Giant ownership feels it would be “committing suicide”.
Confronted by the A’s denial, Madden defiantly asked, “What did I get wrong?” Well, for starters, he got the history of the territorial rights arrangement wrong, though I figure he’d probably correct that if he had the chance. There is the question of how broad an action Selig can take. Madden says that Selig can’t. Lew Wolff’s position all this time has been that it is the commissioner’s decision to make. It’s not quite that simple, however.
Selig generally doesn’t operate by decree, so it’s something of a false argument. The only time in recent memory that he has “decreed” anything was the fateful decision to end the 2002 All Star Game in a tie. Everything other decision was the basis of him lobbying owners as a group to a specific decision or endgame. Yes, some kind of agreement has to be brokered, which Madden alluded to. No one’s breaking news there. How and for what $$$ have always been the sticking points, given the Giants’ and A’s positional gulf on the matter.
Madden even concedes this:
“… Or let Lew Wolff tell me how I’m wrong. I love Lew Wolff. He’s a great guy. My personally feeling is that I’d like to see the A’s in San Jose because I’d like to see them survive. San Jose is the second (sic) largest city in California and they ought to be able to have a baseball team. The fact of the matter is, for whatever reason, Wally Haas ceded those rights to Bob Lurie. And that was the reason Bob Lurie was able to sell the Giants for $100 million.”
San Jose is actually third largest, but I can see how a New York guy can get that wrong.
Eric Davis asks the proper question in the interview,
DAVIS: To your knowledge, have the A’s been denied San Jose or not?
MADDEN: No, I never said that. See, this is the problem. Everybody’s saying that Selig said has told the A’s that they aren’t going to San Jose. I DID NOT SAY THAT. The column does not say that… Is there anywhere in therewhere I said that Bud Selig’s gonna tell them they can’t go to San Jose? I’m saying that under these circumstances they’re not going to San Jose. But it’s not Selig that’s going to tell them that. These are the circumstances.
Bill Madden, you can thank your headline writer/editor/intern/monkey for having to go on the defensive on today. To his credit, he ends the interview with perhaps his most salient point:
I’m sure the commissioner’s not very happy with me on this story. Part of the reason being I’m sure he’s hoping he could broker a settlement between these two teams. Maybe he can. Right now I don’t see that happening.
After the Madden interview ended, Brandon Tierney and Eric Davis both came to the same conclusion: Madden’s connecting dots as opposed to reporting actual news. Is it nothing? Not at all. It’s properly giving attention to the elephant in the room, which is that the A’s and Giants are miles apart on what they think Santa Clara County is worth in terms of a settlement. It’s Selig’s job to broker that deal, and he reportedly won’t start brokering in earnest until the Giants’ astroturf group drops their lawsuit in San Jose. And let’s keep in mind that the way these settlements have gone in the past, there is a baseline: settling team pays half of $75 million “fee” to infringed team, league and other 28 owners pay the other half. Giants ownership know this and want no part of it. They’d just as soon pay the A’s to leave the Bay Area completely. Then again, there is the possibility that arbitration may be in order. Neither team is a stranger to the process. Shyam Das, get ready for Selig’s call on the batphone.