September 8, 2010
The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner
245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, NY, 10167
Dear Commissioner Selig,
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group strongly supports a new home for the Athletics baseball team in downtown San Jose. We were encouraged to learn of San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s positive conversation with Major League Baseball President Bob Dupuy regarding the timing of a possible election next spring should the A’s be granted approval to pursue the construction of a baseball-only state of the art Ballpark in downtown San Jose.
By way of background, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group was founded in 1977 by David Packard and has grown to become the largest organization of its kind in Silicon Valley with more than 300 member companies. Combined member companies employ more than 250,000 local workers – nearly one of every three jobs – and generate more than $2 trillion worth in global revenue.
We, the undersigned CEOs and senior executives, are committed to bringing jobs, revenue, a rich culture, and a thriving business climate to Silicon Valley. We believe that an intimate state of the art ballpark located on a prime downtown San Jose parcel, close to mass transit and major highways will be a catalyst for economic development in our region. We also believe downtown San Jose offers a compelling location for the advancement of Major League Baseball in the 21st Century. Silicon Valley is well known throughout the world as the cradle of innovation and the leading incubator of new ideas and new possibilities for human kind. There is no better location than San Jose, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, to advance the Major League Baseball brand on a global basis.
San Jose is a world-class community, and the ballpark proposal not only secures a quality Major League Baseball team for America’s 10th largest city, but also creates jobs, strengthens our economy and enhances the cultural opportunities for our workers and their families. According to an economic study commissioned by the City of San Jose, a new ballpark will generate thousands of construction jobs and permanent positions at the ballpark and surrounding area.
The Silicon Valley Leadership Group, along with other respected and diverse organizations, stands ready to offer any support needed to move this important project forward. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is comprised of both devoted A’s and Giants fans and we will continue to enthusiastically support both teams. We strongly believe that both teams will thrive in a vibrant two team market anchored by San Francisco and the Bay Area’s largest city, San Jose. Today, the Bay Area is the only two team market in Major League Baseball where the teams don’t fully share their common geographic territory. The divided territory was imposed at the request of San Jose baseball boosters in 1992 in a previous attempt to secure a Major League Baseball team. We can only hope moving forward that the Bay Area can be restored to a shared marketplace for the two teams in a manner similar to Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.
It is integral to our mission that we support and promote opportunities to improve the quality of life for families who live and work in Silicon Valley. A new A’s ballpark will provide a great entertainment and community asset that will capture the essence of Silicon Valley. It will be a tremendous benefit to our region, with a wide appeal that can help to promote Silicon Valley – and Major League Baseball – on a national and international level. The new venue will be a great source of pride for our innovative region, and deserves your consideration and approval to move forward.
Please call on us to help make this decades old dream to attract a Major League Baseball team to Silicon Valley a reality in the near future.
CEO, Cisco Inc.
CEO, Brocade Inc.
Partner, Kleiner Perkins
CEO, Silicon Valley Leadership Group
Other signatories include Lew Wolff, former mayor Ron Gonzales, the publisher of Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, the presidents of Santa Clara University, UC Santa Cruz and Foothill-De Anza Community College District, the CEO of Palo Alto Medical Foundation, and the head of Goodwill Silicon Valley, who happened to be head of the Valley’s largest beverage distributor a couple years ago. Just about everyone else on the second page is either the head of a tech firm or a bank. Including the main heavy hitters, that’s 75 companies and organizations, and the vast majority of them are not small businesses.
The crux of the letter is the request to share the Bay Area the same way New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago are shared. My guess is that this won’t happen because of certain long term implications. Unlike those other three markets, the Bay Area is uniquely set up for a game of franchise musical chairs once any lease ends and a team wants a new stadium. The others aren’t. If a T-rights compromise were to occur, the definitions would look much more like Washington-Baltimore just because of the decades of history there (and here) that can’t be easily wiped away. That said, the letter’s soft pitch does have one statement that has some hidden teeth.
We strongly believe that both teams will thrive in a vibrant two team market anchored by San Francisco and the Bay Area’s largest city, San Jose.
Something’s missing from that declaration.