The Silly Stadium Sharing Situation

There seems to be a bit of confusion about Quakes’ stadium story. A Merc article covering Saturday’s dinner notes at the end the “long shot” possibility of the A’s and Quakes sharing a stadium. It doesn’t say where, when, or how, but it’s a nice piece of FUD to let hang in the air.

From a practical standpoint, it could make some sense. After all, it should be cheaper to build one stadium instead of two, right? Except it isn’t in this case. The tab for the Quakes’ much simpler home is estimated to be one-tenth that of the A’s ballpark. Come in that cheap, and the supposed efficiencies gained by consolidation are outweighed by other issues.

To illustrate this, I took my ballpark model and laid down a soccer field on top of it. Below is just the lower level. Capacity of the lower level alone is 17,000+.

As you can see, the field itself is a snug fit from corner to corner. A Mount Davis-like set of temporary seating sections (in yellow) would be used from time to time. As would be expected, those sections would tear up the grass like nobody’s business. The worst part? The Quakes’ season runs concurrent with the A’s, so you’d see this all season long. The seats are necessary because if they weren’t there all you’d have is a massive gap all the way to the wall, yet that area is a prime seating area for soccer.

In addition, seats down the baseball right field line are angled back towards the infield instead of along the sideline. Those seats would at best have suboptimal views, at worst have obstructed views. Soccer is unlike baseball in that there’s no focal point for most of the game, as there is within the 60’6″ between the pitching rubber and the plate. Action can occur anywhere on a soccer pitch, and in the case of a routine corner kick or throw-in, it can be generated from the edges. Soccer stadia are designed for all seats to have complete views of the field, a practice that is immediately violated when a regulation field is placed in a baseball stadium.

The upper deck (above) isn’t so compromised, mostly because it’s further removed from the action. In the previous image, the temporary yellow seats were there. Use of those seats would preclude the use of baseball bleacher seats. Still, the total stadium capacity would be over 31,000, which at this point is too big for MLS.

Going back to the field, think about the logistical problems. MLS teams typically play twice a week, 30 regular season matches per year plus various “friendlies.” That translates to about 17 home dates. Assuming that home dates are bunched together and timed to miss A’s homestands, there would still be at least eight switchovers per year. Let’s say that somehow the $250,000 cost to do the same job at the Coliseum could be cut in half, it would still cost $1 million per year. Project that out for 25 years and index for inflation. And it would still leave the players from both sports hating the field. Practical? Hardly.

25 thoughts on “The Silly Stadium Sharing Situation

  1. Error?"From a practical standpoint, it could make some sense. After all, it should be cheaper to build two stadia instead of one, right?"Should be one stadium instead of two, instead of two stadium instead of one, right?

  2. With regard to sharing a stadium:I think I speak for all Quakes fans, as well as all A's fans, all Bay Area residents and all sports fans in general–heck, let's just throw in the rest of humanity while we're at it–when I say: NO THANKS.

  3. Thanks for catching the error, Zonis.

  4. Frankly I think that portion of the article was just the Murk being sensational again. They also quote Mike Krutko from the city saying he is against the idea. And they say the teams are also against the idea. And the only support for the idea they get is that quote from Wolff that it could make sense from a practical standpoint but it's also something he knows the 2 fanbases don't want. It doesn't appear that there is anything to this notion but wishful thinking by a desparate newspaper (also note that this article, was written before the event by authors who were not at the event. They also did not interview Wolff at the event, the quote from him was from an interview months ago.)

  5. I had no idea the plural of stadium is stadia.Marinelayer, you continue to amaze.

  6. Actually stadiums and stadia are both the plural of stadium. Its your discretion which to use.

  7. Would the soccer pitch fit better if it were rotated 90 degrees?BTW, in the Merc article, SJ Economic Development Director Paul Krutko (no relation) is quoted as saying that the newest outdoor stadium in SJ is 87-year-old Spartan Stadium. Several things wrong with that claim:First, how many outdoor stadia are there in SJ — maybe two, not counting high schoool and junior college fields? Second, aren't most of Spartan Stadium's physical components considerably newer than 87 years?Third, Municipal Stadium (a professional venue, unlike Spartan Stadium) was built in 1942, making it 67 years old.Fourth, why the red-herring distinction between indoor and outdoor, other than to generate a questionable talking point?

  8. Konerko – Nope, I've run it both ways and it doesn't make any real difference.The talking point is part of a pitch to get a new major outdoor venue in San Jose, a venue that doesn't exist right now.

  9. Agree with Dan and Andy,NO, NO, NO! Perhaps a soccer friendly and/or football game at Cisco Field in the off-season, kind of like AT&T Park and the Emerald Bowl, but not MLB and MLS at the same time!I say that Lew Wolff should enter into discussions with SCU and expand/renovate Buc Shaw; 15-20,000 seats with a roof canopy ala the Home Depot Center. Would it be cheaper than building a new stadium from scratch? Worked for Stanford!

  10. Paul, you are correct Muni stadium is a bit newer. But even then SJ hasn't had a new outdoor venue built since 1942. As for indoor/outdoor there is a difference between an indoor and outdoor venue and the events that can be held there. For instance you cannot hold an outdoor football or soccer game at an indoor venue.

  11. I think this exact scenario of awkward configurations is why baseball stadia are classified separately from the standard, rectangular, multi-purpose variety.

  12. There is no room at Buck Shaw to expand the way the Quakes want to.

  13. Wooops, it turns out that Spartan Stadium isn't 87 years old, it's not quite 75. (Opened in late 1934). I wonder where Mr. Krutko got this information — his number appears nowhere on the web.But is it even that old? The oldest portion (the east crescent built on a berm) has only about 4,000 seats, about 13% of the 30,456 seats that are there now. There were renovations and expansions in 1949 (adding about 13K seats), 1980, 1985, and 1998. (those last adding about another 15K seats), and just this year, it received a new high-tech field turf playing surface. Weighting all these changes, I'd estimate that we're looking at a facility whose composite age is roughly 42 years. This is a minor detail, granted. Here's a much bigger question: how many people here think that this vague project (a generic illustration of something that's not really designed yet) will actually come to pass?Lew Wolff seems to specialize in combination stadium and land development deals for badly underperforming sports teams — underperforming both on the field and at the gate. I'll give him points for determination, though. Well into his seventies, he's still tirelessly plugging away after striking out twice in Oakland (baseball), and once at SJSU (soccer.)

  14. Watching soccer has always struck me as being akin to watching grass grow, but that's me. I know there is significant interest in the sport in the SJ area so I suppose it's understandable that Wolff is catering to that interest.However, IOTM that too much focus on soccer could work to the detriment of the effort to get the A's to San Jose. How much political effort can Wolff expend at the same time? How much money does he have in the this down economy? And how much heat can local politicians take before they do something stupid?I've also heard some knowledgeable A's fans express an opinion that Beane has gotten so involved with the soccer franchise that he's neglected the A's. I don't know the truth to this, but general manager of most other MLB franchises is a full time job.You should all just hope some folks' preoccupation with a minor sport doesn't detract from efforts to get the deal involving a major sport done.

  15. I have the exact same fears, oldblue. As long as it in no way affects the A's, Lew and gang can screw around with soccer. But if they mess up the opportunity to get the A's new digs because of this, I will be pissed and the region will be much poorer for it.

  16. I'd say the team founded here 35 years ago has more of a right to this city than the A's. just saying.

  17. If this was the team that was founded here 35 years ago… That'd be a good argument. But it isn't.Hoenstly… I don't get the hub bub… As I understand it, the Earthquakes could start building their stadium tomorrow if they could find the right sponsor(s). Not much political capital is required for that, is there? Maybe you are referencing the need to sell the same corporate abse for tickets to both stadiums?I could be wrong, I barley follow soccer (outside of my daughters games on Saturdays). ML… where is the quakes stadium project in terms of city approval and such?

  18. blue, I wouldn't worry about Beane focusing too much on soccer. From what Quakes fans are being told Beane has no real input on the workings of the Quakes FO. So if he's not working on baseball deals I'd question what he's actually spending his time doing…?

  19. "Maybe you are referencing the need to sell the same corporate abse for tickets to both stadiums?"Actually, I'm not. I'm instead referring to the reality that monetary accommodations—read taxpayer dollars—are always part of these sports deals, whether it be land, tax breaks or outright investments. It's my sense that taxpayers—especially in California—need to be handled with care in these difficult economic times. As a San Jose resident, I proudly voted against the Giants' proposed move to SJ way back when, specifically because the financials made sense only for the Giants. So what I'm saying is this: be wary of a scenario where the soccer guys get any sort of financial help that upsets enough voters to the point where they'll say, "no more," when it comes to the A's.Personally, I think the Wolff organization is stupid for running these efforts concurrently. Soccer is small potatoes; MLB is big. I don't think Wolff and company are keeping their eye on the ball.I also think there's a good chance the A's-to San Jose deal will fall through, with the team staying in Oakland until a better offer comes along. You San Jose boys—the only ones who can actually vote and lean on politicians—need to be very watchful if you want it to happen.

  20. Blue… Isn't the parcel that the Quakes stadium would be built on already owned by the Quakes? Purchased from the City? I thought all of that stuff was handled on the soccer end already.And… I am proud of you for being proud of voting against a tax payer funded stadium. It remains to be seen what public funds would be spent on Diridon, but other than the land already purchased and the remaining parcels that would be leased to the A's… I don't expect direct spending on stadium construction or operation. And every San Jose resident should agree with that, in my opinion.Infrastructure spending in the area is a different bag… it will be needed for the coming transit projects with or without a stadium.

  21. Right on, oldblue. Very well said. Soccer is small time. Getting the A's would be huge for SJ. Don't screw this up, Lew.

  22. Full disclosure, folks. I no longer live in California, so I really don't have a dog in the fight. But I am an A's fan and a San Jose fan to boot. Given Oakland's poor record in supporting the A's and the hatchet job they did on the Coliseum for the Raiders, I don't think Oakland has much of a legitimate claim on the team. They've had their chance. I also think that if the A's are going to stay in the Bay Area, San Jose is the best bet.I've also noted I voted against the Giants' move to SJ; that was because we taxpayers were asked to build a stadium. Excuse me? Mr. Millionaire, how about you build your own park? Now, I'm also a realist and I'm not going to argue with a city giving a sweetheart deal to a team when it comes to property, etc., especially when it's in a fairly dumpy area of town and some urban renewal is possible. That whole Diridon area has been blighted, but it's got potential. I think SJ is being smart in working with the A's to get them to spend their $$ for the park in an area that needs redevelopment. Good plan.However—and here's what you ballpark boosters have to be watch out for—there are a ton of people in San Jose who will kneejerk demonstrate or vote against anything that smacks of a corporate giveaway. We all know those people; California is blessed with many of them. And getting back to soccer, my fear is that WolffCo's soccer dreams will perturbate the process by energizing the naysayers to the point that they'll bring overwhelming heat on the local politicians. Or the naysayers for MLB may be the same people who really, really want the soccer stuff. It's my sense that soccer fans aren't the same as MLB fans; I'd hate to see them all thrown into the mix together. Which is of course what Wolff is doing.I don't think Wolff is playing this one very smart.

  23. Old blue–having a hard time understand your thinking that LW is blowing it by trying to get the 'Quakes stadium going–2 completely different deals–for the Quakes he has already bought the land from the city and he is building the stadium he has revenue sources in place to fund the $40-$60M requirement. Nothing is expected from the city.For the ballpark–he is waiting on MLB to take care of the TR issue—Assuming that gets done than the city vote will most likely be on providing the land for a ballpark at a low annual lease payment.With unemployment in the valley at 12% I would think most citizens would be thrilled to have $500M+ dollars of construction projects going on–especially if it is shown that a worst it is revenue neutral for the city—yet adds significantly to the culture of San Jose–making it more attractive for biz interests going forward.

  24. You grumpy, old soccer-bashers have it backwards. The Quakes stadium process is a good showcase for Lew and the manner in which he does business. All of the proceedings have been honest and open. It is paving the way for the A's, not mucking the trail.

  25. "Grumpy old soccer-bashers" – yeah, ok, guilty as charged. LOL! I hope you're right. But I can definitely see a situation where people will say (even if it's a flat out lie) that here we (SJ) are again, giving away a bunch of perks to some fat cat. I really don't have anything against soccer, I'm just not a fan. If Lew can build a soccer stadium and it doesn't affect the A's, great I'm all for it. If it somehow enhances his ability to build the new park, well then I'll bow down to his greatness. I'm just not certain that is the case.

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