Great America to be bought by group containing 49ers, will end lawsuit

If the 49ers couldn’t celebrate at the ‘Stick yesterday, at least they made a huge step towards celebrating every week in Santa Clara. According to the Merc’s Lisa Fernandez, a real estate firm partnering with a 49ers-controlled entity will buy Great America (the theme park assets not including the land) for $70 million. JMA Ventures, the lead in this purchase, is a 25-year old company backed by major private equity firms (Carlyle Group, Lehman, Morgan Stanley). They also own several properties throughout Northern California, from Tahoe ski resorts to SF restaurants. As for Cedar Fair, the squeaky wheel throughout all of this? They get cash to pay down debt.

This is a much better move than the 49ers buying the theme park outright, since they don’t have the expertise to do anything like operating a theme park. JMA Ventures would seem a more ideal partner, and at least at the outset they don’t appear to be interested in changing anything. Great America is on a weekends-only operating schedule until the end of October, when it closes to the public for the season. That should give JMA and the 49ers plenty of opportunity to take a look around and see what improvements could be made.

Could Great America close in the long run? I doubt it, since JMA is sinking $70 million into what is essentially a bunch of rides and games. Hopefully, they and the Niners can start working the channels with the NFL to integrate some sort of football theme into the park. That could go a long way towards making the Santa Clara stadium a much more cohesive experience for future Super Bowls, even if the stadium won’t have the retractable roof the league covets so much. Unfortunately, there isn’t much room to expand there as previous owners added water park features to Great America – features that won’t be useful in January/February.

Initially, I have a good feeling that JMA, a company geared around entertainment, will keep a local institution going while making it play nice with the 49ers. There’s that chance of integration with the stadium. If the two can enhance job opportunities in the area (even if they are low paying jobs, many of my immigrant relatives work there) it’s a win-win.

65 thoughts on “Great America to be bought by group containing 49ers, will end lawsuit

  1. Good news for the Bay Area. We are in desperate need of a modern football venue in this region. The Coliseum and especially Candlestick are an embarrassment every week on national TV compared to every other venue out there.

  2. It should really start sinking in to the folks in Frisco that the NFL will soon no longer be hosting games in their town… I hope the amusement park stays open.

  3. re: We are in desperate need of a modern football venue in this region.

    …I think Californians overall look at it from the perspective of – We’re not going to be like other places in the country and give you a $1 billion football stadium used a whole 10 days a year. We have plenty of other things we can do for fun if you don’t want to build your own football stadium. We’re not Cincinnati, willing to break the budget just to keep a football team…the question is, if the Santa Clara stadium really happens and the Raiders end up playing in it along with the 49ers, does this create any possibilities for the A’s at the current Coliseum property? Any chance for a ballpark village at the Coliseum lot or has that whole site simply been ruled out completely?

  4. Depends on who you ask. The city, I think, still thinks the Coliseum is a decent site for a stadium/ballpark. I think the A’s and MLB have given up on it (rightly so IMO) as it’s in an industrial waste zone far from anything of interest in Oakland or the Bay Area. It’s like the Fremont site everyone hated in many ways just with immediate BART access.

  5. That’s another major hurdle out of the way. Now they just need to reanimate Davis’s corpse long enough for him to sign onto Santa Clara and we’ll be on our way.

  6. I prefer a waterfront or downtown site in Oakland, but a new and improved Coliseum with real bleachers, a view of the hills, wider/brighter concourses, less wider foul territories, and a state of the art Jumbotron works for me. I also heard a rumor on Chris Townsend’s FB page about a local buyer from the east bay interested in the A’s, but it’s just a rumor.
    And how about the Moneyball Premiere tonight in DTO at the Paramount? Gonna be the hottest ticket around with the main stars there like Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. Besides BB, I heard Lewie’s gonna be there (I hope he knows where DTO is), and Selig was invited but passed. Afterall, he hates Oakland probably as much or more than his frat bro Lewie does. It’s probably a pact they made 60 years ago at the University of Wisconsin.

    • I prefer a waterfront or downtown site in Oakland, but a new and improved Coliseum with real bleachers, a view of the hills, wider/brighter concourses, less wider foul territories, and a state of the art Jumbotron works for me.

      Sorry, the “new and improved” Coliseum is not happening, no matter who owns the team.

  7. They just interviewed Beane and Pitt together on ESPN about the movie. Best press the A’s have gotten all year.

  8. Its not that they hate Oakland; quite the contrary. They just realize, for a MLB team and privately financed ballpark, Oakland wouldn’t work out economically. That doesn’t constitute hating, its called being smart with your money.

  9. Hmm.. having problems posting with my iPhone…but, pay attention pro-Oaklanders. This is HOW to go about getting support for a new stadium:

    1. public backing of bonds on financing
    2. working with the local government for approval
    3. aligning with the team on its needs
    4. Having a PLAN for it all, including contingencies (like the lawsuit)

    Oakland is somewhere between 0 and 1 right now….

  10. how can this not be a big win for the ninerS? they could have what no other team will ever have at lest for years to come. a theme park! im sure both parties will work out a deal. what needs to be done is they need to add more rides there. atlest two more roller coasters would be nice. there still a good peace of land right out side of “top gun” that they can configure and squeez in. and where invertigo was they can always put another thing there to. heck bring back the old school train that use to go all the way around the park. and heres a loop. have it connect to the stadium to.

  11. Other than securing the remainder of their private financing and selling the bonds what’s left for the Niners stadium?

  12. Anon brings up a good point: a ballpark in Oakland would work out economically if heavy public financing is involved. Be it $200 million in bonds or a direct tax increase on Oakland citizens. Would make up for the lack of corporate support in the Oakland region. Main reason why the Niners are moving to $ilicon Valley is the corporate support, plain and simple.

  13. @ Dan,
    A naming rights partner. Re Great America and the stadium, a “Downtown Disney” like development would be cool as well.

  14. re: This is HOW to go about getting support for a new stadium:

    1. public backing of bonds on financing
    2. working with the local government for approval
    3. aligning with the team on its needs
    4. Having a PLAN for it all, including contingencies (like the lawsuit)

    Oakland is somewhere between 0 and 1 right now….

    …all good substantive steps. The problem is, is there any groundswell at all in Oakland for public support for a ballpark? I’m not aware of any. Last I checked, the most recent mayoral election had at least one candidate trying to get elected by vowing to “spend not one dime for the A’s”

  15. re: “Downtown Disney”

    …was at Downtown Disney 5 days ago. Anyone can get in without paying the $80 admission to one of the theme parks. Would be nice to see something like that at Great America. The ESPN sports bar there is paradise – even has this mechanical goalie trying to block shots from amateur shooters. Not to mention every single baseball game airing on the different screens.

  16. The 49ers and Santa Clara have been using 3rd parties to sell SBLs, Naming rights, advertising and now found a 3rd party to get rid of Cedar Fair and their lawsuits.

    This is a big step as Cedar Fair was not making life easy on anyone and now the new guys want to work with the 49ers on a partnership.

    In reality as ML points Great America closes in October. Therefore there is only a 2 month overlap between games and the theme park.

    If the Raiders join then it would be a bit more but overall they could incorporate the theme park as part of the game day experience in some creative fashion. Similar to the original shopping mall Hunter’s point proposal that never materialized.

    It would give families more incentive to bring their families to games and boost sponsorships.

    If a Super Bowl came to town using Great America as part of the experience would work out great as during those 2 weeks they can keep Great America open as part of the gala of Super Bowl week.

    49ers are on the right track to get this finished. It would be a major disappointment for them not at this point.

    I am worried about debt service on the 49ers/NFL portion (543M out of 987M). They gave Santa Clara naming rights, SBLs, and advertising contracts to pay their 444M and they should easily be able to cover their debt service no problem.

    Without those big ticket items the 49ers are going to be relying on the NFL loan which will eat away at their profits with the debt service.

    That is the reason why the Raiders need to join in…..Damn.

  17. The Raiders will join in before this is all said and done. They’ve been talking with the Niners about it, the NFL is pushing it, and most importantly Al Davis isn’t the old firebrand he used to be (hell I’m not convinced he even has a pulse at this point). It just makes too much sense to have the teams share what amounts to a neutral site 900 million dollar stadium close to the corporate money of the region to use 20 times a year opposed to building separate 800 million dollar venues in their separate cities.

    LA will have to poach their team from one of the other available options.

  18. ML, I don’t follow the ‘9ers stadium situation the way I follow the A’s stadium issues. From your assessment, are people feeling the way about the Yorks moving out of the City the same way the A’s may move out of Oakland? Is it that we’ve had more time to think about the A’s moving because of the waiting game? I would assume it would hurt a lot more to see the ‘9ers move just based on the passion for football vs. baseball. What is your view of the similarities/differences from where you sit?

    • @daveybaby – It’s not something I can quantitatively compare. It’s worth noting that, to me, it seems like there’s less opposition to the 49ers move because they already practice in Santa Clara and the team name wouldn’t change.

  19. @daveybaby,
    I would clarify how SOME people feel about the A’s leaving Oakland for the South Bay. While there are many who want to see them stay in Oakland, there are just as many (including myself) who want to see them relocate down here. There are probably more A’s fans who just want to see a new ballpark in the Bay Area PERIOD, be it The O or SJ.

  20. davey, from what I’ve seen anecdotally it seems the opposition to the Niners move and the opposition to the A’s move are similar. There’s a small group of vocal “pro SF” people that include Diane Feinstein (not unlike the pro-Oakland group with folks like Doug Boxer). There’s a small but vocal move to SC group including the SC leadership (similar to the SVLG and SJ’s leadership on the A’s move). And there’s the comparatively silent masses in the middle that don’t care where, they just want a new stadium built be it in SF or SC (again like the A’s with SJ or Oakland).

  21. Seems the opposition to the Niners leaving SF and the A’s leaving Oakland really just cite sentimental reasons and don’t have viable plans on keeping the teams where they are. Got a site for the A’s or Niners? Two difficult, perhaps even unworkable sites named: Victory Court in Oakland and the Naval yard in Frisco. Got a plan for any public financing for these facilities? Nope. None at all. Both Frisco and Oakland have a “no public money” stance on construction of the stadiums, which is their right. But they shouldn’t get upset when the teams decide they’d rather go elsewhere.

  22. R.M,
    Just my opinion, but I think once the Niners are rooted in Santa Clara we’ll get a push from the locals for a name change. “SV” or “SJ” wont look bad on the Niners helmut.

  23. Tony I think you’re reaching. They’ve said they’ll remain the San Francisco 49ers and it would be foolish to change their name since they will still be in the San Francisco Bay Area representing the region as they always have. Your view would make sense if the New York Giants had changed their name to the New Jersey Giants 20 years ago…

  24. This will upset people in here, but if the Raiders move to Santa Clara, I think we can expect them to drop “Oakland” for “San Jose.” Anyone questioning how loyal the Raiders will always be to Oakland only needs to look at where they played from 1982 to 1994 (it wasn’t Oakland).
    re: NJ Giants. While NJ didn’t make the Jets or Giants call themselves New Jersey, it did so to the Donald Trump-owned NJ Generals of the USFL….I think the last time the NY Giants played a road game in Buffalo, somebody hung a banner: “New York Giants: Welcome to New York.”

  25. @Dan,
    Again, just my opinion. And not saying the team would do it, just suggesting that locals might pursue it. By the way, no way you can compare New Jersey to $ilicon Valley and the largest city in the Bay Area $an Jo$e 😉

  26. @pjk,
    I can’t go there brah (you’re on your own with that one). GO RAIDERS!

  27. @all – There’s nothing contractual to push either the 49ers or Raiders to change from Oakland to San Jose or Santa Clara. For that reason alone I don’t expect anything to change. Maybe Al would consider it if SJ/SC gave him a fancy new practice facility to make him leave Alameda. That’s not in the cards. Oakland Raiders still has brand cachet even if it is somewhat negative.

  28. Plus from a pure “image” and PR standpoint, the Raiders would be even less likely than the Niners to change name. Their entire team image is built on being “bad boys”. LA, badass (particularly the area of LA they played in. Oakland, badass. San Jose or Santa Clara… not so much. It would be like the Hell’s Angels changing their name to the Care Bear Bikers.

  29. @pjk / Tony – I think that is a bit farfetched to call them “SJ” Raiders / 9ers as well. I envision them both retaining their respective city names, but sharing the same facility even although Oakland has some grandiose plans for a new Coliseum stadium with no funding behind it (unlike the 9ers).

  30. ML: Might Al want to change if he thinks he can sell more luxury boxes with the “San Jose” name than the “Oakland” name? I’ll bet he would. If the Silver and Blacked Out can become the Silver and Soldout with the San Jose name, why would he keep the name, “Oakland Raiders?” What kind of ticket sales has that other major sports team with San Jose’s name had? (Two decades of sellouts, that’s what..) Once again, not trying to anger the Oakland Raiders supporters, but the Raiders have struggled to sell tickets and luxury boxes in Oakland. The name, Oakland Raiders, doesn’t seem to carry the muscle it did in the 1970s, when the Raiders sold very well. We all expected the Raiders would sell out automatically when they came back but we all were fooled. (Raiders do seem popular nationwide, though. Once, I talked with a big Raiders fan in eastern PA. I was sure to tell him there are plenty of seats available if he wants to attend the games.)

  31. @pjk – Al’s not a pushover. How many extra would he sell? 20? 50? Even then it’s not even close to enough. If the Raiders were to go to Santa Clara Al would cede control of a venue, which is a big enough deal. The name is the only thing left he has that’s worth anything. Also I think you’re overestimating the cachet of “San Jose” or “Silicon Valley”.

  32. Even with the L.A. move, Al really does have a connection with Oakland, unlike Lew. He’s lived there ever since he’s been in the bay. Plus, the Oakland Raiders are one of the top brands in the NFL even with 8 years of losing. Imagine if they win on a regular basis. I’m sorry, San Jose has cash, but the San Jose Raiders would detract from the “Raider image.” I can’t see the 49ers changing the SF either. Both teams may move to SC, but in my opinion there origin city’s name wouldn’t change.

  33. Are they one of the top brands? Aren’t the Raiders amongst the least-valued franchises in the league? One of the lowest revenue-generators?

  34. The Oakland Raiders have fans all over the U.S., they have good merchandise sales (used to be great merchandise sales), are featured on prime time games, etc. All of this with a historically bad losing stretch. So yes, they are one of the top NFL brands. Their value is not dictated by brand recognition, it’s sponsors, stadium, etc.

  35. I love the Raiders and San Jose equally. That being said, I wouldn’t see the City of SJ going after the Raiders if they were to move to SC. It wouldn’t fit the city’s “image,” if that makes any sense (kind of like what Dan alluded to earlier). I could however see the City of SJ go after the Niners; maybe something along the lines of what RM mentioned, i.e. build them a palace of a practice facility in, say, the Coyote Valley. Niners could then redevelop their current facility into mixed-use residential, retail. Again, not saying this will happen, just suggesting it could happen.

  36. I’m not trying to stir the pot, but I agree with pjk on this. The logo only says “Raiders”, and that is what people accross the country identify with. It’s the silver and black, the bad boy image, and the guy with the eye patch. Many if not most outside California don’t know the reputations of SJ or Oakland, so they won’t care which city is attached to the name. As for his loyalty to Oakland, after going to LA for 15 years, didn’t Al Davis consider moving the team to Sacramento instead of back to Oakland? He’ll go where the money is.

  37. I think people in other states recognize that Oakland has a blue collar persona. But I suppose this whole argument is based on whether you think a team’s city has any impact on its image. I think that a city can absolutely makes an impact on a team’s identity.

  38. There’s no way the Raiders or 9ers would change names. SJ or SV Raiders?..lmao. That just sounds wrong, like San Jose A’s.Both will just play in SV, that’s it. Sponsorship will come from all over, not just SV, being that they play just on the weekends.
    OT, but the Moneyball Premiere was a huge success, raising a million dollars for charity. I couldn’t make it (had to work), but heard the 100’s of fans gathering outside the Paramount were mostly Oakland A’s fans and not your typical star gazers. They were chanting Let’s Go Oakland and booed poor Lew Wolff as he arrived. The stars when interviewed said more positive stuff about Oakland in a few minutes than our ownership has in 6 years!! The showing was at the beautiful art-deco Paramount, and the post movie partying was a few blocks away at the funky, recently restored Fox Theater. Neither SJ or SF can match these great historic theaters.

  39. re: There’s no way the Raiders or 9ers would change names.

    …that’s right. It’s never happened before. Remember when the Raiders played at the LA Coliseum? They were called…. Oh nevermind.

    re: Neither SJ or SF can match these great historic theaters.

    …now if only a neat old theatre was all that was needed to sustain a $500 mill ballpark, we’d be in business.

  40. @pjk—hmm, last time I looked LA was around 400 miles from here in a totally different market. Okay, so if you and TonyD had your way, would it be San Jose 49ers and Silicon Valley Raiders, or the other way around? They’ll keep their present names for a long time to come wherever they play in the bay area. Silicon Valley in front of any major sports team’s name sounds quite silly IMO. Maybe they can experiment and put it on the Sharks, Earthquakes or SaberCats.

  41. re: They’ll keep their present names for a long time to come wherever they play in the bay area.

    …Please cite your official Raiders source who told you this. If you don’t have one, you’re just guessing.

  42. I can’t hold back. I just have to comment. First, let me say I totally understand the SJ point-of-view. I’ve made it very clear that I actually like SJ. I have friends that played for both the SJ Giants and Lake Elsinore Padres back in the day so I used to go down there all the time to watch games and get insanely drunk at the local bars. I won’t mention names but one of my best friends was a graduate of SJSU with an MBA and tried to pitch in the minors for 6 long years until he decided to give it up. However, it is starting to sound like a pissing match where the SJ people are just spouting off random stuff to validate their positions. San Jose is the largest city in the bay area. I get that. There are technology companies that comprise the Nasdaq 100 that are housed here. I get that. I’ll be honest. It sounds as if the SJ crowd wants the bay area to be renamed the San Jose Bay Area with SJ being the center of attention. I can totally understand that. SJ is a big city. But let’s face facts here. SJ is known as the high-tech capital of the world. Innovation, ideas, software programs, futuristic technology, and cutting-edge programming all originiated here. In San Jose. For the life of me I cannot see what the problem is. SJ is known worldwide as the technology capital…..period. San Francisco, Oakland, Walnut Creek, Pleasanton, Redwood City, et al, have no comparison to SJ and Silicon Valley when it comes to technology. For pjk to say the Raiders would change their name to SJ I can only wonder what the f*&k he is thinking. Let’s be real for just a minute. Are you feeling like since SJ is the largest city in the bay area that SJ should be known for more than technology? I’m from the east bay originally and now live on the peninsula. To me the bay area is the bay area. If Oakland was the center for high-tech I could care less what sports teams put their name there. Look, I’m not trying to be hostile here but this sounds like an inferiority complex from the SJ partisans. I may be wrong though. I’ve been wrong many times. Why not embrace what you are known for? I work in a business where I talk to people around the country and 100% of them think of SJ as the high-technology capital of the world. To me, anyway, that’s a great thing. Who gives a s&%t if there are major league teams there? We are all one metropolitan area, are we not?

  43. so Columbo–since we are one big happy family here in the Bay Area…and the “bay area is the bay area” than help me understand why you are opposed to allowing the A’s to build a privately funded ballpark in the only place in the bay area that wants and can support the ballpark? The fact is SJ is embracing what they are known for—lots of hi tech companies with lots of money that would be willing to buy tickets and boxes and advertising and naming rights—Oakland doesn’t have enough of these to allow for a privately financed ballpark–that’s reality man—

  44. Let me just also say that we are talking about setting here. SJ, for all of its wonderful positives is not situated in what would be considered an ideal place. If you disagree, fine. I’m just trying to be honest. SJ is so far away from the bay it’s kind of like Pleasanton. I love Pleasanton. I have a brother and sister that live there with their kids. They go to great schools no doubt. It’s a great suburb. Would I be ecstatic if the A’s built a stadium off of 580 on the Dublin/Pleasanton corridor? No way in hell. It’s a suburb and that’s what it was meant to be. Oakland, for whatever you all of you may think of it, is luckily situated in a beautiful surrounding. I have a brother that lives in Alameda on Bay Farm Island not far from the beach. I’ll be honest, I would rather have a facility there than in some suburb simply because of the surroundings. I’m not saying SJ doesn’t have other things to do. I’ve been there. I know that. But let’s be forthright. IF, and that’s a big IF, Oakland can come up with a plan where a ballpark is built somewhere where there are things to do before and afterward while, at the same time, significantly reducing the crime stigma, would it not be more enjoyable to watch a game near the bay? Again, I get the SJ position. You are the largest city in the bay area. You want respect. You want recognition. What I don’t think you get is that you do have that right now. You are the high-tech capital of the entire world. If I lived in SJ I would be embracing that reputation 100%. No offense but I would rather watch an A’s game with views near the bay than some place like Pleasanton or some other suburb. Again, assuming there are activities in the area.

  45. …just the proximity alone should have the Raiders thinking about the San Jose brand if they go to Santa Clara (a big if.). The Santa Clara stadium would be about 30 miles from Oakland and about half a mile from San Jose.

    re: San Jose not situated in an ideal place
    … For who? People in Frisco? That’s like saying the Padres are not situated in an ideal place for people in LA.

  46. @Columbo- this isn’t about SJ getting what it needs—its about the A’s getting what they need—As an A’s fan I want them to have a state of the art ballpark so we can compete on par with other franchises in MLB–this isn’t about Oakland which is your focus or about SJ–its about the A’s—How much longer do you want to give oakland to try and figure this out—15 years and running not enough–come on man—

  47. @Columbo–nice post. The pro-SJ folks feel because they’re the 10th largest city, have all this obscene wealth, ground zero for cutting technology, blah, blah, blah…, they should naturally get a bunch of their own sports teams tomorrow. Definitely an inferiority complex. I just don’t like cities stealing other cities teams, especially after 43 years of great, colorful history. Hell, they even have a movie coming out about it. To end up in SJ, San Antonio or Vegas is not the happy ending to this Hollywood story. Keeping them in Oakland and getting the new park they deserve there is. All the actors in Moneyball have a true affection for the Oakland A’s now, not the Philadelphia A’s, KC A’s, or SJ A’s. Even east bay native Sully Sullenberger chimed in yesterday: “It’s great that the premiere is in Oakland,” Sullenberger said. “That’s the best place for it, and I’m glad it happened.”
    Hmm, no quotes from Wolff?

  48. …and the Oakland folks feel entitled to have the team, despite a history of poor support, voting in politicians flat-out disdainful of the franchise and having no $$ to pay for a new ballpark… The Mercury News editorial yesterday has it right – if the A’s can’t go to San Jose, they will probably be sold to someone who moves the team out of the Bay Area. Maybe Oakland should go to the bank and tell them the several hundred million dollars worth of bonds can be repaid with “colorful history.”

  49. O.k., pjk, I have to respond. It’s the same old “free ballpark,” “history,”, etc. Let’s just be honest for one second, o.k.? The area where AT&T Park is now was a shithole. Would you agree? Nobody in their right mind would even think of building a stadium there. I worked in San Francisco since 1995 and I know that area. It was a shithole. And that’s being generous. All of a sudden it’s the place to be. No corporations would touch it with a 50 foot stick until the area was revamped with condos, restaurants, bars, etc. It’s a great setting. I think you would at least admit to that. Teens born at the right time would never even know that this place was a drug-infested, homeless hangout, place to avoide. If you don’t know that I would urge you to research it. Now, let’s get to Oakland. Oakland has been long considered a “crime-infested” city thanks to the media. I went to Catholic School in Oakland from 1984-1988 with zero episodes of violence and mayhem that is often reported by the media. Sure, Oakland has its gangs and turf wars but it is largely isolated in specific areas. The SJ crowd likes to utilize the Oakland name to discount a proper place for a ballpark but let me give you a little information. My best friends from high school lived in Montclair and Piedmont, which are considered pretty nice places to live. My father lived in Piedmont for 10 years after he got remarried and the area was close to perfect if I’ve have ever seen it. I take that back. I went to the Raiders Super Bowl in San Diego and I stopped in La Jolla and I would say that is perfect. Anyway, I’m not trying to be pro-Oakland here but the truth is that Oakland would be a prime spot for a ballpark. Let’s put aside the “largest city in the bay” stuff for a moment. I have two sons. Would I rather be watching an A’s game looking at the bay bridge, the downtown skyline, the Oakland hills, the SF skyline, and the beautiful bay or would I rather be sipping beers watching the A’s play in a suburb with concrete views of buildings? You may disagree and that’s fine. I have no problem with that. Aside from LW and JF, the reality is that a setting like that would be more atttractive, at least to me. I may be wrong and I could very well be. Taking the corporate sponsorship aside just for a moment, what would be the better setting? If I’m a regional manager for a high-tech firm in San Jose and I want to woo prospective clients I would have to decide the setting for this. Again, I love SJ. But it’s a suburb. There’s nothing wrong with that. I would send my kids to SJ public schools all day long but we’re talking about long-term attraction here. Again, unfortunately or fortunately, depending on where you stand, Oakland is situated in a prime location. If MLB doesn’t see that then, well, it is what it is. To me it’s not about city recognition it’s about location.

  50. Oakland is done guys no matter how you slice and dice it up.

    It is not Lew Wolff who has shut the door it is MLB themselves. They see clearly a public ballpark is never going to happen in Oakland and privately financing it would be financial suicide for the team and the league putting it 12 miles away from ATT Park.

    @Columbo- What you say is “nice” and “thoughtful” but money “walks and talks” and Oakland has zero of it. The Giants have cannibalized the corporate sponsors already in the metro area (SF-Oak-Fremont) while there is a population base in a nearby metro area (SJ-SC-Sunnyvale) that has the demographics to support the team.

    The problem really is…..THE GIANTS. People in the East Bay have a choice between SF and Oak while people in SJ do not have a choice. Driving to SF or Oak consistently is not practical.

    If were too look at a map from outer space of the Bay Area and place 2 MLB teams where would you place them?

    San Jose and San Francisco, the two largest cities in the area and the centers of two different metro areas. Not Oakland, in fact Oakland would be a distant 3rd because of its lack of size as a city and proximity to San Francisco.

    Only 19% of A’s fans come from Oakland because of its lack of size. San Jose is 1M people and you would see 75% of all fans coming from the city itself.

    Oakland is not the original home of the A’s so no one can claim they own the team. They screwed the the team years ago with Mt Davis when they had a signed contract to renovate the Coliseum for baseball only…..That was the end plain and simple.

    MLB knows the history all too well and the Giants holding San Jose hostage is wrong and their reasons are incorrect as well.

  51. To Colombo:

    I would urge you to take your comments – minus any say colorful language – and email Bud Selig and copy Lew Wolff and John Fisher. Please put what you said in writing. I think it is a very important point..

    You make great points including the one that most people would prefer looking at the scene you described in Oakland rather than the one in San Jose (wonderful tech companies but not the best location for a new A’s ballpark).

    I have made that point directly to Mike Crowley, A’s President.

    I get all the stuff about corporations but there are tons of corporations in the East Bay that will support a team that’s committed to the East Bay.


    A’s observer.

  52. @Columbo Some quick fact checking:
    – The fact that greater San Jose is suburban (in the same way LA is) is irrelevant. The ballpark is slated for downtown. The Diridon site is every bit as urban as the Victory Court site. There is and will be just as much to do within walking distance. Fact is, downtown SJ is quite a bit livelier than downtown Oakland, and has been for a long time.
    – San Jose actually sits right on the Bay. Look at the map. I know you can’t see the Bay from Diridon. You can’t really see it from Victory Court, either.
    – All that stuff you wrote about the Bay Bridge, San Francisco skyline, etc. sounds great. Problem is, you wouldn’t be able to see it from Victory Court. If we were talking about a Lake Merritt or Alameda ballpark, your argument might have some merit. But in fact, the Diridon and VC sites are quite comparable in terms of “setting.” Both offer the potential for downtown skyline and hillside views. Neither offers the AT&T Park experience.
    – If “setting” were all that mattered, they could build the park on Treasure Island. Marin Headlands sounds nice. Or the site of the Mormon Church has terrific views. Obviously, practical considerations come into play. One of these is financing. Financing trumps setting.
    – Oakland is an inferior site due to its location. Too close to the competition. Too far from the revenue generators that drive the modern game. These are fatal flaws.

    @jk The hypocrisy of ranting about cities stealing other cities’ teams – while glossing over, in the very same post, the theft from KC/Philly – simply breathtaking. The world truly is not made for those who are cursed with self-awareness.

  53. @Columbo “If I’m a regional manager for a high-tech firm in San Jose and I want to woo prospective clients I would have to decide the setting for this.”
    Again, the flaw in your reasoning is that no matter WHAT they theoretically built in Oakland, even if they could bulldoze any existing property to come up with the optimal “setting,” it would not be better than AT&T Park. And AT&T Park – quite literally – takes half as much time to get to from the South Bay/Peninsula during weekday rush hour. So in your fantasy scenario, no matter how good a job they did on an Oakland ballpark, that regional manager is taking his client to San Francisco. And that in a nutshell is why a privately-financed ballpark in Oakland is not economically viable.

  54. Ah, the know it all is back. How ya doing Bartleby? The pro-SJ guys were lost without you on here.
    IMO, the views from VC trump SJ’s in all directions. You have DTO, the hills, the estuary and SF/the bay. In SJ, you have some hills and an uninspiring downtown skyline that resembles Fresno, not the 10th largest city in the US. SJ sits on the bay? Uh, kind of, sort of, but that’s the ugly side of the bay, and Diridon is far removed from even that.
    As for cities stealing others cities teams, it was a shame when all that was going on in the 50’s/60’s. Outside of Montreal, it hasn’t happened in years and that’s a good thing. BS knows what it felt like when his beloved Braves went to Atlanta, but he in turn lured the bankrupt Pilots team to Milwaukee, and Seattle got the Mariners a little later. Philly fortunately still has the Phillies and KC got a new team in the Royals shortly after the A’s left.

  55. …so maybe the ballpark can be paid for with “views” and “colorful history,” then? By the reasoning that it’s wrong for cities to “steal” teams, the Braves would be in Boston and never have played in Milwaukee in the first place. The A’s? They had a colorful history in Philadelphia….

  56. @jk Your thesis that the Oakland skyline is superior to SJ’s is subjective and debatable. In any event, any difference is incremental. Few outside objective observers would claim either city’s skyline are among the world’s greats.
    As for hills, San Jose wins hands down. The East Bay hills have been ruined by unrestrained development; the South Bay hills are protected by greenbelt and relatively unspoiled.
    As for supposed views of SF, the Bay or the bridge – you wouldn’t be able to see more than fragmented glimpses of any of these from VC – if that. For one thing, they’re not particularly close. For another, the angle is wrong and there’s lots of obstruction. For another, the ballpark would necessarily face in the other direction. As I recall, ML did an entire post some time ago debunking this myth.
    San Jose’s bayfront consists of wetlands and salt ponds which have lovely trails and are quite beautiful. Your thesis that a view of giant cranes and containers is superior is also questionable. It’s true that it’s a distance away from Diridon, but given that VC will not have Bay views, either, the distance seems pretty moot.
    Your bias is showing.

  57. @bartleby–and your bias isn’t showing?..lmao. You’ve had very few if any positive things to say about Oakland here on this blog, and your previous post is more proof of that. Your pro-SJ stance gets TonyD all giddy like a 12 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. I just viewed dozens of skyline pics of Oakland and San Jose from many vantage points and Oakland wins hands down with some pretty cool views. On the plus side for SJ, you do have a nice view of fairly unspoiled hills, but other than that there’s not much to look at. A few plain modern buildings, not enough cool old ones, and much suburban sprawl beyond.. Go to Google images, compare the two and report back to me.
    BTW, some San Jose, Costa Rica pics got mixed in with your SJ, and I found that city rather colorful and more interesting, even though it’s smaller at 365k.

  58. re: I have two sons.
    …Yes, i have kids too. So do lots of people. Not seeing the relevance.

  59. jk, you continually come in here and talk about the A’s “crazy history” – which is what other teams had that had to move – and saying you don’t think it’s right to steal teams from cities – while ignoring the fact that the A’s played in two other cities before winding up in Oakland (a move Charlie Finley regretted within 5 to 6 years after getting here). What is your plan to pay for a $500 mill ballpark plus infrastructure improvements, business relocations and property acquisitions given the lack of public and corporate dollars available to do this in Oakland? What’s your plan? Some magic billionaire looking to drop $1 billion on the project? Nobody can find such a guy.

  60. Can we quit talking about opinions of what ‘looks better.’ Both views would be neat, in their own way, as is pretty much every city skyline or view of mountains.
    Can we start talking about how in the hell Oakland is going to pay for any of this? I want facts, not what gives you a warm feeling in your chest.

  61. @pjk – Yeah, I read my post after the fact and determined there were some irrelevant things like the two sons comment, not to mention typos. I suppose I was attempting to say something like “when I take my two sons to the game…”

  62. “Can we start talking about how in the hell Oakland is going to pay for any of this? I want facts, not what gives you a warm feeling in your chest.” …../crickets chirping …next thread.

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