The Neukom Doctrine

In the mid-90’s, Microsoft was at the top of the world. With unmitigated dominance over the computer operating system market, smaller competitors were crying foul as Microsoft used its stature to enter new markets and take them over. Often MSFT did this by bundling features into Windows for free, such as its Internet Explorer browser. This strategy was called “embrace and extend” though it really meant “embrace, extend and extinguish” to competitors, as Microsoft frequently added features that would lock out competitors.

Giants managing partner Bill Neukom is no stranger to this strategy, as he defended Microsoft’s practice of it during his tenure as general counsel until he left the company in 2002. Initially he and Microsoft lost the landmark antitrust case against the Department of Justice in 1999, only to have the decision overturned by an appellate court. The company and the government eventually settled out of court, which allowed the company to stay intact (DoJ was seeking to break it up). Historically, the decision for Microsoft is viewed as a somewhat pyrrhic victory, as it has struggled to innovate in the face of Google, Apple, and smaller upstarts over the past decade, resulting in flat stock performance during that period.

By building AT&T Park, Peter Magowan initiated his own form of “embrace and extend” with the fanbase by choosing a more attractable, accessible location for the Giants than the windy, transit-poor Candlestick Park. Suddenly it became much easier to bring in fans from throughout the city proper, plus well-heeled fans in Marin County (via ferry) and the Peninsula (via train). The Giants got the added bonus of tons of fans coming from the East Bay via ferry and BART. Many of those fans were ex-SF residents who moved out to warmer, cheaper suburbs like Concord and Pleasanton. In doing so, they struck at a huge part of the A’s East Bay fanbase, and while many of the hardcore A’s fans would stay allied with Oakland, the A’s lost one very important demographic: Giants fans who could frequently go to A’s games as a more accessible substitute.

Since then-A’s-owner Steve Schott couldn’t object based on the fact that the Giants were building within city limits, all he could do was to deal with it and look to improve the A’s stadium situation, which he tried with Lew Wolff at the HomeBase site and in Santa Clara. The former was declined by Coliseum officials, the latter by Santa Clara officials when rumors of Schott wanting to sell arose. Schott also infamously didn’t show for a presentation on Oakland’s Uptown site, which is the very least he should’ve done – even though Jerry Brown was never going to let an Uptown ballpark happen on his watch.

Neukom further extended Magowan’s strategy by acquiring the San Jose Giants. He also had the World Series trophy paraded all over the East Bay – though not Oakland, obviously. Now, he’s preparing to make an interesting choice regarding the Giants’ future.

Since the beginning of his tenure as managing partner, Neukom has been steadfast about the Giants’ territorial rights to Santa Clara County. The argument goes that the value of those rights was baked into the financing of AT&T Park, which means they’re also baked into the franchise’s value. As such, they’re sacrosanct and not up for negotiation. Naturally, being steadfast is not the only option that he has since Bud Selig may choose to nudge him in one direction or another. With that in mind, it appears that Neukom and the rest of his ownership group have three distinct options moving forward.

  • Don’t budge, let the A’s leave the Bay Area. The Giants have said publicly that they “hope” that the A’s are able to work out a ballpark deal in the East Bay, since it would respect the existing six-counties-to-two distribution of territories in the Bay Area. Secretly, they have to be hoping the A’s fail completely in the Bay Area and are forced to look elsewhere. The only really advanced threat of building in either Alameda or Contra Costa Counties was when Pacific Commons was in the planning stages. It concerned Magowan and Giants President Larry Baer enough that they scouted the location to see how close it was to Santa Clara County. With Fremont a bust and many outside Oakland skeptical that a privately financed ballpark deal can be done in Oakland, the Giants have to be licking their chops at the thought of a Bay Area completely to themselves. While there don’t appear to be any good relocation markets for the A’s at the moment, there’s no certainty that will remain so five or ten years down the road. Should the A’s leave the Bay Area, they would be compensated by the Giants for ceding the East Bay. The interesting thing about such a transaction is that like the Giants ceding Santa Clara County, it would place a price tag on a territory. If the argument among the big market teams is that they don’t want to see such a precedent, then they don’t want either outcome to happen. Strange, huh? It would get even more complex if the A’s were to move to Sacramento as Baer has suggested, because the A’s could lobby MLB hard to split up Northern California to gain exclusivity over much of the region up to the Oregon border and Northern Nevada, the same way Warriors and Kings TV territories are split. The split would be damaging to the the value of the Giants’ TV rights since they’d give up millions of households every game. The result is ultimate dominance over the Bay Area for the Giants, but a huge loss throughout their broader territory. From a bottom line revenues standpoint, it’s hard to say how much this helps the Giants. If the A’s move out of state, the Giants pay nine figures upfront. If the A’s move to Sacramento, the Giants lose money on an annual basis. There have been rumors about the the Giants being willing to pay off the A’s to leave, so it’s not like both teams haven’t thought about it.
  • Don’t budge, keep status quo. This option assumes many events occurring in sequence. First, Lew Wolff (or whoever the owner is if Wolff sells) would have to stay in the Coliseum several more years past the existing end of the lease while working out the details of a ballpark in Oakland. It also assumes that MLB absolutely believes that a privately financed ballpark deal can be and is being done in Oakland. The Giants would be fine with this as it maintains regional hegemony. It might not work quite as well for MLB. If the A’s have trouble filling the ballpark due to poor performance, high priced tickets, or both, the A’s will have an extremely bad debt position for MLB to deal with. As long as the A’s struggle (whether in old or new digs), the Giants will continue to essentially pay part of their revenue sharing payment directly across the Bay to the A’s, which could be $20 million or more in coming years. Remember that the Bay Area is the only market where one team effectively subsidizes the other. That’s another situation that has to give MLB and Giants ownership pause.
  • Allow the A’s to move to San Jose. Again, Neukom has been steadfast about not allowing this. How bad would the Giants be damaged? Once you remove TV money and other Bay Area local revenue, I figure that Santa Clara County alone is worth at least $25 million per year in revenue to the Giants (back of napkin guess). That’s a lot. That pays off AT&T Park all by itself and then some. Neukom’s argument is that they’d lose that revenue. Wolff and South Bay proponents counter that hardcore Giants fans will remain that way and the Giants’ losses won’t be so deep. In particular, Wolff has argued that the league should look at compensation for T-rights on an annual basis, where a threshold is set and the A’s pay for the gap that doesn’t meet that threshold. Whatever the compensation model, I don’t think the Giants would lose $25 million annually. They’d probably lose 50% of that number since many of the fans are casual and both fans and sponsors can be replaced by East Bay fans. Years ago Magowan floated a number like $100 million for Santa Clara County, while Roger Noll estimates that the actual value is around to $20-30 million. If you’re Neukom and his partners, how do you attack this? A one-time payoff, even $100 million, dissipates within 7-10 years and doesn’t do much for franchise value (currently $563 million). Noll’s number is a mere pittance to them. Even if the A’s come off revenue sharing, it doesn’t mean the Giants won’t stop paying in – they most assuredly will continue to pay, though a few million less every year. The best thing for them may be to simply shut up. But that sets up the possibility that Selig will name the price for them.

No matter what Neukom decides, it looks like he’ll have to pay. He either keeps paying to keep the A’s in their stadium rut, he pays them to leave, or he gets less revenue if he cedes the South Bay. With the aura of the World Series and record revenues pouring in, such a possibility seems extremely remote. When the time comes to figure out how all of this should work out, that glow will be the furthest thing from his mind. By no means am I sympathetic to either Neukom or Selig for dragging this out for more than two years, but this is a thumbnail sketch of the dilemma and it took 1,600 words. What price hegemony? It’s definitely not cheap. Or easy.

71 thoughts on “The Neukom Doctrine

  1. @#$%& A’s and Sharks! In reality Neukom and the Giants don’t have any distinct options because what happens in this situation WON’T BE UP TO THEM! Selig/MLB are the ultimate authority here, not the Giants (that’s not opinion; it’s fact). What ever marching orders they provide the Giants/Neukom will have to obey. My personal opinion is that this thing has already been decided; just waiting for someone to cross the finish line. Hence the gag order that Neukom, Baer and Slaughter are now fully obeying. Let’s also not forget that Neukom is one of the junior owners of MLB circuit and was voted in by Selig/Wolff knowing full well this situation would probably come up. An old saying goes “You can’t start at McDonalds one day and expect to be a supervisor the next.” Bottom line is that Neukom has no authority here whatsoever.

    In terms of the Giants T-Rights “baked” into their franchise value, this is easy: allow SCCo to become a shared territory and the shared rights to SCCo are still “baked” into their value; kind of along the lines of the Orioles/Nationals. Pretty simple.
    By the way, does Neukom know why the Giants have T-Rights to SCCo in the first place? Last I checked, there wasn’t a 42K-seat Giants ballpark at Zanker and Brokaw Roads, San Jose. (I predict 100+ posts on this thread when all is said and done)

  2. My head hurts.

    And what’s the lesson from all this kiddies? When you have your foot on the other guy’s neck (Walter Haas), don’t take a step back and help the man up. Rather, put your weight on your foot, crush his throat, calmly turn around and walk away without ever having worry about looking back.

    The early 90’s were so many moons ago. Oh well. Woulda, coulda, shoulda…

  3. By the way R.M., who’s saying the Giants would loose $25 million annually in revenue if they “cede”
    SCCo. to the A’s? That’s outrageous! How in the hell did that figure come up and where’s the proof?! The A’s are already here in the Bay Area! They’re not moving from Canada or Alaska! Doesn’t anyone remember the SVLG poll of company’s a few years back?! Have any South Bay Giants fans stated they would abandon their team with the A’s in San Jose?! Wolff’s compensation model should be more than enough for the Giants (I personally don’t think they should get crap since they don’t play here). They could also get a guaranteed franchise value much like the Orioles got for the Expos move to DC. Again, very, very simple. R.M., we’ve been at this for over 6 years and as a proud San Josean, I’ve despised those “rights” since day one. If you put together this thread just to get my blood boiling, IT WORKED BRAH! But I digress; I’m glad this thing is almost over. Opening Day 2015 at Cisco Field/SJ…it’s gonna be awesome!

    • @Tony D. – $35 x 9000 tickets per game x 81 home dates = $25 million. 9000 tickets is roughly 1/4 of a crowd at AT&T Park. The post isn’t a rallying cry, it’s supposed to make you think.

      • @Tony D. – $35 x 9000 tickets per game x 81 home dates = $25 million. 9000 tickets is roughly 1/4 of a crowd at AT&T Park. The post isn’t a rallying cry, it’s supposed to make you think.

        Anger has subsided from Sharks and A’s; time for some serious thinking. So there are apparently 9,000 Giants season ticket holders from the South Bay. That’s 9,000 die hard, “Black N Orange” bleeding Giants fans who were so dedicated to their team that they bought season tickets to AT&T Park (even though they reside way out of the traditional 20 mile radius for season ticket holders). So somehow, someway someone did a survey or poll of those 9,000 fans and the results concluded that they would all dump the Giants for the A’s in San Jose; that they would all become die hard, “Green N Gold” bleeding San Jose A’s fans with season tickets to Cisco Field. Hence the Giants loosing $25 million annually with the A’s playing in San Jose. Correct?
        Look, I’m a die hard Raiders fan (before marriage/family attended almost every home game in Oakland), and will remain a die hard Raiders fan even if the 49ers move to Santa Clara (which I support for regional purposes). I’m pretty sure all SF Giants fans living in the South Bay share that sentiment towards the A’s in SJ.

  4. i like slusser’s pov months ago about the whole fee that the a’s may have to pay for the sj trs.

    ZERO! a’s didn’t get anything when they gave away their “half” of the rights down to the south bay so why should they pay to get at least get back what they had previously.

    former a’s gm alderson said it best, one of his worst decisions was not to have sort of a grandfather clause on the rights down south that if no park was built in the early to mid 90s that the rights would’ve gone back to what they were before that deal was made. if that actually took place, imo the a’s probably would have been playing a new sj park for many years right now.

  5. 4th distinct option: Victory Court ballpark is built and the A’s flourish in the East Bay, with sellout crowds (no revenue sharing, or Pittsburg scenario in the town)! And please don’t ask me about funding … i work at a public school, not for the A’s!

    • 4th distinct option: Victory Court ballpark is built and the A’s flourish in the East Bay, with sellout crowds (no revenue sharing, or Pittsburg scenario in the town)! And please don’t ask me about funding … i work at a public school, not for the A’s!

      As much as I disagree with your opinion, I hope you don’t loose your job brah.

  6. “Should the A’s leave the Bay Area, they would be compensated by the Giants for ceding the East Bay. ”
    – That appears to be a massive assumption. I am not sure on what you base this theory. Can you think of another situation in baseball history (or professional sports history) where this has occurred?

    • “Should the A’s leave the Bay Area, they would be compensated by the Giants for ceding the East Bay. ”- That appears to be a massive assumption. I am not sure on what you base this theory. Can you think of another situation in baseball history (or professional sports history) where this has occurred?

      Did the Yankees have to compensate the Giants, Dodgers when they moved out west? Did the A’s have to compensate the Royals, Phillies after they moved to The O? Just curious.

  7. @Pudgie – It’s based on backchannel discussions I’ve heard. Baseball history is a bad place to look for a precedent because there have been so few moves in the modern era. MLB doesn’t have relocation fees unlike the other three sports, which makes it difficult to do an apples-to-apples comparison.

  8. @Tony D. – Not season ticket holders, just tickets sold. That covers casual fans buying one or two games, partial plan holders, mini-plans, etc. Actual season ticket numbers may only be 5,000 or so.

    None of the franchise moves prior to the Expos had monetary compensation IIRC. They were done so long ago that they’re not really relevant to the current era.

    • @Tony D. – Not season ticket holders, just tickets sold. That covers casual fans buying one or two games, partial plan holders, mini-plans, etc. Actual season ticket numbers may only be 5,000 or so.None of the franchise moves prior to the Expos had monetary compensation IIRC. They were done so long ago that they’re not really relevant to the current era.

      Got it RM. I know a lot of those Giants fans down here; one to two games a year, partial plans, etc. Nonetheless, they’re still die hards and even they state they won’t abandon the G’s for the A’s in SJ. But of course they would catch some home A’s games when the G’s are on the road; heck, some of them do this already. Bottom line (and you even alluded to this in the thread), there’s no way in hell the Giants would come close to loosing $25 million annually with the A’s in SJ. At the most they would “loose” $5-10 million annually (not even taking into account the North/East Bay fans who would take their place). With the financial future of an entire franchise in the balance, seems like a very small issue as far as MLB is concerned. A non-issue really in my opinion.

  9. Thanks Tony. I’m pretty safe in the subject I teach. Go A’s!

  10. @ML So 9000 South Bay Giants fans per game will have to decide whether to pursue their less convenient passion or check out the convenient option close to home. It seems likely an even larger number of East Bay fans will be confronted with a similar decision.
    In other words, with respect to non-premium tickets, the Giants probably come out ahead (or at least it’s a push). Premium seat sales are, of course, another matter, which is the real reason the Giants resist this and a privately-financed Oakland ballpark is an impossibility.

  11. I think the best option in this case is to contract the two Tampa Bay teams, the Rays and the Giants. That solves everything.

  12. Maybe the Giants would subsidize the construction of 980 Park in Oakland, cheaper than revenue sharing. The city of Oakland can not afford Victory Court–16 properties, building a new garage as there is not enough parking nearby, freeway improvements, etc. Why can’t your blog get behind this concept and help inform city officials.

  13. @Bryan – For the last time it is not our job to campaign for any sites. All we do we review them and report on them. It is YOUR job to do the heavy lifting of presenting it, getting it on the EIR, making it viable, getting the attention of the pols. So far none of your claims are independently verifiable, that’s why it’s hard to really take the 980 concept seriously. Do not even attempt to make this blog responsible for your lack of effort.

  14. I can easily imagine the Giants going for a deal where they’d pay the A’s to leave the Bay Area, but there’s no precedent for that and no requirement to do it in MLB’s governing documents. The only way it would come about would be if the Giants thought adding such a payoff would be the tipping point that caused the A’s to choose a deal in another market.
    ML is certainly right that all sorts of things can change in 5 years or so. But relocation outside the Bay Area is extremely unlikely for several reasons:
    1) All else being equal, even a small share of the Bay Area market is more valuable than exclusivity in the markets that remain open, all of which are very small by MLB standards — Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio, Charlotte, Vegas, etc. MLB certainly isn’t eager to get into any of these marginal markets unless they grow significantly over the next 20-30 years.
    2) Therefore, any non-Bay Area market would have to overwhelm the A’s (or Rays) with a fantastic, all expenses paid, this-will-print-money-for-you stadium deal. Not likely.
    3) Virtually all broadcast markets in the US are part of an existing team’s broadcast territories. That used to be irrelevant, because contractually those rights can be changed at any time without an ownership vote, unlike T-rights. But since Peter Angelos managed to finagle compensation (in the form of MASN, which controls the Nationals TV rights forever, plus an MLB-backed guarantee of the Orioles franchise value) for giving up the Washington market in which he held no territorial rights, other open market will probably require a similar payoff. The Mariners have exclusive broadcast rights to Portland, Rangers and Astros jointly to San Antonio, Braves to Charlotte, Rays to Orlando, etc. The required payoff probably adds enough to the cost of such a deal that it won’t be worthwhile, especially considering we’d be talking about a Milwaukee-sized market.
    The A’s long term home is in the Bay Area.

  15. In summary: if Lew Wolf wants to move the A’s to San Jose he pays the Giants $100 million.

    It’s hard to feel sorry for Lew Wolf. He knew about the territorial rights when he bought the team.

    • In summary: if Lew Wolf wants to move the A’s to San Jose he pays the Giants $100 million. It’s hard to feel sorry for Lew Wolf. He knew about the territorial rights when he bought the team.

      Dan A.,
      It’s not so much about Wolff knowing about the T-Rights. It’s more of a case of those rights shouldn’t exist in the first place. The G’s have SCCo only because they were supposed to relocate here. No where in baseball does this ridiculous arrangement exist; all other two-team markets are shared territories. Bottom line: in 1992 the Bay Area territorial rights changed to accomodate the Giants move to San Jose. In 2011 they can change again to allow the A’s to move to San Jose.

  16. @DanA—or he stays in Oakland in the Coli—he still makes near $30M a year in revenue sharing….gints love it…..their revenue sharing check for the A’s is relatively minimal compared to other options…..but it sucks for mlb to have another team on life support….and this is why there is supposed to be a commissioner in baseball who can make the tough call “for the good of baseball”….and unfortunately bs is not that guy

  17. ML is correct on several things in his post:

    -Bay Area is the only 2-team market where one team subsidizies the other. LA, NY, and CHI have 2 teams but all put $$ into revenue sharing as they are all strategically placed with respect to one another in their respective markets.

    -The Giants would have to pay the A’s to leave the area. Essentially MLB would force the Giants to purchase the 2 counties the A’s would leave vacated or face the possibility of a relocation or an expansion franchise down the line in the East Bay….Not a huge chance of either happenening hence MLB will force the Giants to pay $$.

    What I do not agree is on the loss of 9000x 35x 81= $25M in lost revenue.

    The reason why I do not agree here is because then T-Rights would dictate where fans go to watch games despite having a “choice”. People in the South Bay who go to Giants games would still go regardless of a San Jose ballpark. SF is 1 hour away and those fans and corporations (25% of Silicon Valley) would not stop because the A’s are in San Jose. That is “far fetched math”.

    MLB could simply contract the A’s and essentially trade the East Bay to the Giants for opening up the South Bay for a future expansion franchise…..BS is to gutless to do this in my opinion.

    In the end the Giants are going to pay $$ or they are going to get $$ in return. Personally since the A’s gave away those rights the Giants should do the same. To bad business is not that easy.

    It is San Jose in 2015 or bust. The A’s have no back up plan as VC is too far fetched with all the problems around the site.

    This plus the Raiders want to renovate the Coliseum site for football but as long as the A’s are stuck there that plan is on hold.

    BS is a flat out idiot and the whole country is laughing at the Bay Area and MLB as a whole right now. Something has to give….I think litigation is the only way.

  18. Looking at all of this, it seems the best scenario for the Giants would be for the A’s to move the SJ, even though they are steadfast against it. I say this for the following reasons:

    1. They would not lose $25 mil /yr as they fear. Most hardcores and companies currently supporting the Giants would continue to do so.

    2. They would gain some from East Bay – they already court that market anyway (ferries giving easy access, parading WS trophy in East Bay, etc).

    3. They would get up front money from A’s – could be upwards of $100mil.

    4. A’s in SJ would probably not need to be recipient of revenue sharing money – they would then be a profitable on their own – more tickets sold, more corporate support, more advertising money, etc, etc. Thus, the Giants would shelve out less in revenue sharing.

    It just seems like the best overall situation for everyone – the A’s, MLB, and the Giants (in spite of their stubbornness), is for the A’s to move to SJ.

  19. re: BS is a flat out idiot

    …Selig’s inability to make a decision surely would have him canned if he worked anywhere else where there wasn’t such an authentic “Good ‘Ol Boys Network” in charge.

  20. Apparently, the T-rights issue is a direct violation of Anti-Trust laws. The city of San Jose, and/or the A’s, could chose to threaten a lawsuit of the Giants, MLB, or both.

  21. Another thing that comes to mind is this:

    With the Giants obviously aggressively marketing in the East Bay, aren’t they violating the A’s T-rights? And if so, wouldn’t that legally make the Giants’ T-rights null and void (if, assuming T-rights were not already rendered null and void by Anti-Trust laws)?

    Basically, the whole Giants T-rights issue is really a farce.

    The A’s have a shovel ready stadium project in SJ, and willing corporate support, and a willing and able city of San Jose, and it would be great for both the A’s and MLB. But it’s being blocked/slowed down because of this Nuekom clown.

    Well, I say it’s time, if MLB doesn’t decide soon (in SJ’s and the A’s favor), for SJ and the A’s to bring out the heavy legal artillery.

  22. ML — if what you hear through backchannel conversations about the putative East Bay TR payout is true, and we consider all the other fiscal details in the 2 other scenarios, then MLB (not just the Giants) is looking at pretty massive expenditures no matter what. Seems to me that this makes contraction of the A’s and Rays (+ expansion of roster to 27 + expansion of DH to NL + possibly but not necessarily realignament) less unlikely.

    • @monkeyball – Not necessarily. Consider the fact that the last two teams sold (TEX/HOU) commanded nearly $400 million over Forbes valuation combined. Apply that to the A’s/Rays and it’s almost $1 billion for those two franchises. Even for MLB that’s a bit rich.

  23. Isn’t the Giants’ SCCo T-rights claim rendered weaker by the fact that they did not have to pay for it?

  24. On the eve of day 800 of the MLB study, @OaklandAthletics twitter account becomes @Athletics.

  25. re: @OaklandAthletics twitter account becomes @Athletics.

    Wonder if we can read anything into that? Days numbered in Oakland, maybe? San Jose on the horizon? VC EIR proving site not viable?

  26. gojohn10

    should we read anything into the change of twitter account to @Athletics?

    Do you know something we don’t, that we might perhaps like?


  27. The only thing I know is that I don’t want to see Brian Fuentes warming up in a close ballgame anymore

  28. @pjk:
    Its curious given the team also wears the away greens more often than grays with “Oakland” plastered in front. You can’t even purchase the gray road coat anywhere online. They sure don’t wear em. A slick marketing exec would plea that is a strategy to broaden the scope of the total fanbase. Dark days in Oaktown lately.

  29. While I think a Jack London Square location could be cool, and in general I’m against a city losing a team (although in this case the team is staying in the same metro area, so that’s kinda a moot point), the San Jose site by far makes the most sense for the A’s and Major League Baseball. SJ/Silicon Valley has much more population and wealth and corporate base. The financing mechanism is in place (not so at VC). Most of the property is in place (not so at VC). Most of the infrastructure is in place (not so at VC). The local city gov wants them. And it would turn a welfare recipient into a big revenue generator. Finally, Giants draw from all over, including in the East Bay. And of the people in SCCo, they wouldn’t lose most of them. And the T-rights is flimsy at best (it belonged to the A’s in the first place, Giants did not pay for the T-rights, the Giants market to and draw from A’s territory already, and the T-rights violate anti-trust laws).

    A’s in SJ should be a done deal. Really, it’s a no-brainer. Neukum can stick it.

  30. I’m from Sactown area. We almost lost the Kings (and it still could happen). So am totally against the relocation of teams, in general,

    But ….

    Oaktown would still have the Raiders and the Warriors. Plus, the A’s would still be in the same metro area. Sorry, not that big of a loss for Oaktown – still two other major sports franchises (so comparison to one-team Sac is moot). And again, A’s would be just down the freeway 30 minutes, they’re not leaving the whole metro area (again with Sac, they would be going to whole new metro area).

  31. w’s are moving to sf within the next decade.

    raiders? there supposedly is a plan at the coliseum site but if somehow the niners get that stadium built near great america, easily could see the raiders playing there too. doesn’t make sense to build two 3/4 billion of a dollar football venues in the same area and eventually the niners/raiders will be like the nyg/nyj situation in nyc/nj.

    i easily could see oakland being without a pro team by 2020.

  32. Is there another option where the A’s could build a park in Oakland for a couple hundred million? A 35,000 seat version of TD Ameritrade park in Omaha. By saving two or three hundred million on the stadium, they could use the savings to absorb the lack of corporate support for the A’s and over time add more amenities.

    • @Jesse – I’m sure Selig and the owners’ stance is that either you build a MLB-worthy facility or don’t bother. Even Wolff’s vision cuts it close.

  33. re: Is there another option where the A’s could build a park in Oakland for a couple hundred million?

    Cheap park = cheap park. I suppose they could put up some aluminum bleachers, post a few porto-potties and hammer together a couple concession stands after picking up some wood from Home Depot. . But keep in mind: They already have to compete with that amusement park by the Bay that the Giants play in. My kid is itching for a chance to slide down the Coke bottle there. Cheap, no-frills, cut-rate won’t do it for A’s. .

  34. @Marine Layer–I just got word. The 980 Park concept will be reviewed the Victory Court DEIR.

    • @Bryan – Good to hear! I hope there are a multitude of alternatives. Was there any mention of when the draft would be available?

      @pjk – Seriously, do you need to shit on everything coming out of Oakland? It’s part of the process.

  35. re: The 980 Park concept will be reviewed the Victory Court DEIR.

    …Perhaps because the review of VC has the preferred site shaping up as a bust? Perhaps Oakland now needs to throw a “Hail Mary” pass and start looking at other sites because the preferred site isn’t going to work?

  36. ML: It does seem like the find-a-ballpark-site-in-Oakland mission has been expanding since the blue ribbon committee, or whatever it’s called, was formed. The committee was supposed to look for ballpark sites in the A’s territory and obviously has been looking in San Jose, too. Now, the VC EIR also is to include the 980 thing. Maybe it’s all part of the process but I just have to wonder if everyone is looking for something that just isn’t there – a viable site in the A’s current territory.

  37. @ML–“@pjk – Seriously, do you need to shit on everything coming out of Oakland? It’s part of the process.”
    Thank you.

  38. How does one get “word” that the Oakland Preliminary EIR has been expanded? Link?? phone number???

  39. Hey, JK: I will run, not walk, to a new ballpark in Oakland. Will you do the same if the A’s end up in San Jose?

  40. @jk–sorry man—but for someone who does nothing but shit on LW and SJ–pretty much the pot calling the kettle black—

  41. I’m still waiting for JK to tell us whether he will stick with or abandon the team if they move – gasp! – 35 miles south. As I’ve said before, maybe Southwest Airlines can institute San Jose-to-Oakland flights on game days for those who can’t bear to drive the 45 minutes.

  42. @ML–Eric Angstat, the Planning Director, does not have a schedule for the completion of the VC DEIR. Can you believe that. An administrator without a schedule! Hopefully, the 980 Park will get a fair hearing.

    By the way, the only negative comment came from some yahoo, that said someone could blow the ballpark up from a bomb in a vehicle below. The answer to that question came from first attempt to blow the World Trade Center up from a bomb in the parking garage. The physics is that the bomb blast (energy) goes in the direction of least resistance (opening at either end of the freeway. If there was any upward pressure, it would only impact the outfield and a limited portion of the far 3rd base line seats, an area that could be reinforced if necessary. The deck over the freeway would be at least one foot thick reinforce concrete, similar to the deck under AT&T Park which is bridging poor soils on piles.

  43. In a recent ESPN article on owners rankings, LW is at #17, Neukom is at #10. That’s the highest I’ve seen LW in any rankings in his 6 years as owner. He’s usually in the bottom 4 or 5, deservedly so.
    The writer says about Wolff: “Wolff is in a tough position but — and mind you, this is just a wild guess — he probably would be more popular if he concentrated less on getting a new stadium in San Jose and more on winning in Oakland.”
    Amen to that.
    Redsox, Rangers and Angels top 3.
    Pirates, Mets, Dodgers at the bottom.

  44. How can he concentrate on winning in Oakland when players don’t want to play there? All the A’s can get are players with no other options. And young stars have been bolting for generations now. Sign me – Supporter of the A;s whether they are in Oakland or San Jose.

  45. Just when you thought you’d read it all here at! The A’s are only 2.5 games out of first, have one of the best pitching staffs in MLB, and went to the 2006 ALCS…ALL UNDER WOLFF’S WATCH! And as pjk alluded to above, it’s not the A’s fault if top free agents don’t want to play in Oakland. Anymore @#$%& bull shit to put out?!

  46. @TonyD-it”s just an article I posted; I didn’t write it. E-mail the writer and tell him you’re a Lew Wolff apologist and disagree with his assesmnet. #17 is pretty good for the Wolff, but our attendnace under Wolff’s watch is: 26th, 26th, 27th, 30th, 29th, and 29th so far this year. I’ve cut down on games under his watch. I wonder why?

  47. have the a’s even thought about putting temp walls down the rf and lf lines to cut down the foul territory? not only would it have improved it to more of a hitter friendly park, it also maybe would’ve allowed for some more seats on the field .

    would it cost that much considering that maybe if they did that hitters would find it the coliseum more desirable. maybe a mute point if a new park be it in sj or oak could be on the way in 3-4 years.

  48. @letsgopens–i like your thinking. And how about a scoreboard upgrade? I know they’re not cheap, but between the A’s, Raiders and Oak/AC, they could scratch up a few mill for upgrades. Something bigger and brighter would make the fan experience much better. I hear about sewage smells, water leaks, lousy, cramped locker rooms, etc..Have they done any upgrades in the inner bowls since Mt. Davis? LW had pocketed 100 mill in profits the lat 5 years, while the Haas family lost a similar amount thier last 5 years. Put something back into the facility you’re profiting from, besides those wonderful tarps.

  49. re: Put something back into the facility you’re profiting from, besides those wonderful tarps.

    Oakland and Alameda County own the stadium and they already showed us how much priority they give baseball when they wrecked the place to bring the Raiders back. (And this is the same bunch for whom Wolff is supposed to give a free ballpark?) Are the A’s selling out the bottom two levels and losing attendance because of the tarps? Nope. The bottom two levels are half-full on must nights.

  50. re: attendance rankings 26th, 26th, 27th, 30th, 29th, and 29th

    Wolff and Fischer, with their $2 tickets, free parking nights and $38-behind-the-dugout seats ($100 less than the Giants charge) practically let people in for free. And still, they won’t come. Any wonder why Wolff doesn’t want to sink $500 billion into a new ballpark in Oakland? Would anybody?

  51. @ pjk “And still, they won’t come” – but hey look, we have 40K FB fans…woohoo! :X

  52. @ST–and Baseball SJ has 494 FB fans. Where’s all the excitment for SJ?
    BTW, Lets Go Oakland: Keep the A’s has 46,464 FB fans.

  53. OT – @ML
    While we wait for MLB to decide on the TR issue, has there been any discussions regarding extending the A’s lease at the coliseum beyond 2013? Seems to me the City of Oakland and AC will have the A’s over a barrel if they decide to play hardball.

    • @fc – I’m not aware of any discussions currently. In previous instances, a lease extension would have been hammered out 2-3 years before expiration.

  54. @fc–instead of playing hardball, how about some “communication” between the City and LW over the VC site incase SJ gets shot down?

  55. re: ““communication” between the City and LW over the VC site i

    ..Is Oakland prepared to help fund construction of a VC ballpark? Or does the city still expect Wolff to give Oakland a free ballpark? Without the level of corporate support that would happen in San Jose, Wolff is going to need a a major public contribution to make it work in Oakland.

  56. SJ won’t get shot down. If that was going to happen it would have happened over 800 days ago!

  57. @tonyd–“SJ won’t get shot down. If that was going to happen it would have happened over 800 days ago!”
    You can say the same thing about Oakland!

  58. Unless they discover large petroleum reserves within their city limits, Oakland will most likely shoot themselves down.
    “Got Dinero?”

  59. @TonyD–Jean Quan pulled off a miracle mayor win (thanks to rank choice voting), and Oakland can do the same with VC. They’ll be some help with the “dinero.” Look for a surprise or two to pull this sucker off, with or without the Wolff.

  60. LOL @ JK – ever the delusional still awaiting for the resurrection of Haas (RIP)….

  61. @ST–a dead Haas is better than a live Wolff.

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