Big market, low budget

In February I wrote about a potential revenue sharing rollback in the new MLB collective bargaining agreement. While today’s joint announcement didn’t produce a percentage rollback (or contraction for that matter), there is a sort of rollback coming for revenue sharing. And the way it’s constructed, it’s targeted at one team in particular – the Oakland Athletics. Here’s the relevant text (courtesy of The Biz of Baseball):


a. The net transfer value of the Revenue Sharing Plan will be the same as the current plan. Net transfer amounts will continue to grow with revenue and changes in disparity.

b. The fifteen Clubs in the largest markets will be disqualified from receiving revenue sharing by 2016. The revenue sharing funds that would have been distributed to the disqualified Clubs will be refunded to the payor Clubs, except that payor Clubs that have exceeded the CBT threshold two or more consecutive times will forfeit some or all of their refund.

c. The Commissioner’s Discretionary Fund will increase from $10 to $15 million per year.

Again, no percentage rollback (A). It’s item B that has enormous implications for big market teams. The revised revenue sharing system effectively shuts the big market teams out of the program by the end of the CBA, gradually losing 25% of any revenue sharing receipt annually until 2016 when it’s eliminated entirely. The Bay Area is the #4 media market and is #6 in population, so neither Bay Area team would be eligible for revenue sharing in the future. Sounds like a deadline and a decision for the A’s, right?

Not so fast. SI is reporting that a provision in the new CBA allows the A’s continue on revenue sharing past 2016 if there is no resolution. So what does this all mean?

The A’s are in a unique and unenviable position among the 30 MLB franchises. They are both a big market team and a low budget team. In the long run, they can’t be both. No other big market team operates on revenue sharing, year after year. When Lew Wolff and I talked two years ago, I mentioned that the A’s were the only two team market where one franchise pays into revenue sharing while the other receives it. He replied that he hadn’t heard the Giants-A’s dynamic phrased in such a manner. I joked that he could take that up to the league office if he wanted at no charge.

MLB appears to be taking the steps to ensure that the A’s are positioned to become a full-fledged big market team. Getting a stadium deal in place is only the first step. Vastly improved media and sponsorship deals are just as important. That doesn’t mean the A’s will reach the Red Sox or even the Giants in terms of revenue, but if they can achieve the medium revenue levels of the Nationals or White Sox, they’d be considered self-sufficient. Both Wolff and Billy Beane are aware of this.

One explanation for the provision may be that the A’s might not be able to open a new ballpark in San Jose until after 2016, though there has been no indication that this is the case. If Wolff isn’t given the go-ahead to move to San Jose, there’s no telling what will happen down the road. It should set up the A’s for a sale at some point. The problem with this is that we know that an Oakland-based buyer with knowledge of the area’s low revenue generation would have to buy the team at a discount, whereas other buyers looking to move the team elsewhere would be willing to pay full price. Hopefully it never gets to that point. MLB is not going to approve Oakland’s continued stay on welfare. They’ll move the team out of the area instead.

115 thoughts on “Big market, low budget

  1. @ML -seems like bs included bit of leverage in the new CBA to help push the giants along on the TR issue – may not be huge but it is something-

  2. We were talking about this over here before, how the ridiculous excuse of “we are small market” just makes our heads explode with impotent rage. If your product exists in the epicenter of the region where there’s the highest concentration of educated people in the country, with vast wealth and which is also home to the preeminent industry on Planet Earth, where there’s 3 giant cities and a total population that approaches 10 million people and which is all basically connected by public transportation and a whole system of freeways… if all this is so and you’re in a corner somewhere crying about how you just can’t possibly compete because you’re in a “small market,” then your product deserves to go out of business and the fact that it hasn’t yet is proof positive that the “free market” is for us common folk to trudge through in agony whilst the rich lie their way through their practice of socialism for themselves (in MLB’s particular zone of billionaire buffoonery, it’s called the “luxury tax”) and spew a 24/7 propaganda campaign from the mass media (that used to belong to the people before they stole, uh, I mean appropriated that too) about how it’s all our fault. If it were me interviewing Billy Beane or Lew Wolff and they said that to my face I’d tell them to try that booty bullshit on somebody else and to get the F off the wretched welfare excuse line. So I’m glad that revenue sharing is being rolled back, as it might force these people to finally make a decent product for a change and then to sell it in the glorious marketplace they always claim to revere like it’s God come to Earth, no matter where it ends up playing. /rant

  3. So, maybe we can stop the whole argument about the A’s moving to another market. It seems that the point was to get the A’s off the dole (especially since they were called out individually in the CBA according to the Sports Illustrated piece). Moving them to Portland, Sacramento, Charlotte or anywhere else puts them permanently in the “revenue sharing receiver” bucket. Of course, that means some other team that is in the middle of the pack would be take the A’s place as a “big market” club… Probably Minnesota or Cleveland (not sure how the market size is defined CSMA/TV Market/ some combo there of)… But really, would you trade half the Bay Area for Minneapolis? Strictly in terms of revenue generation? If so I will trade you Minnesota for San Jose.

  4. talking about some of the posters on that site from the link above, not lieberman himself who i disagree with him about the a’s and oakland as a whole. the writing is on the wall that the a’s will be playing baseball in sj within 4 years.

  5. @emperor- read ML’s post again. He says the A’s are large market but small REVENUE. Big difference. Wolff is actually trying to make a decent product by moving this team to a new ballpark in a decent location close to that most ‘preeminent’ industry on the planet. If that day comes to pass he would love nothing more than to get rid of revenue sharing. Otherwise, a team stuck in the worst stadium in baseball, in the ugliest, most boring part of the market’s red-headed stepchild city will never, ever tap into the benefits this large market has to offer.

  6. seems Rich should take his own advice.

  7. Bay Area = Big Market.

    SF = Big Market.

    Oakland =/= Big Market.

    SJ ~= Big Market.

    For all the crap we give crap we give BS (deservedly so), it looks like his whole point of attack back to the Gnats for TR’s centered on the CBA itself. It seems like the whole point of the BRC was to determine whether the Bay Area was a Big Market area, particularly the locales within here like SF, East Bay, South Bay, etc. and whether 2 teams would be able to coexist. The CBA reaffirms this notion, but also cites the exception being contingent on a new stadium. Interesting….

  8. Anon that’s pretty much my reading of it too. They’ve always considered Oakland “small market” and they have not made it clear they want the A’s in a “big market”. San Jose is the only city being discussed currently that fits the bill. And even if SJ fails, no one will buy the A’s at full price in Oakland as ML pointed out meaning a full price buyer from out of state would get dibs.

  9. Lew Wolff is a loser. He will never win in the sporting arena.

  10. Thankfully we have a guy like Lew Wolff who is willing to privately finance a ballpark to keep the A’s in the Bay Area when there’s no public money available. It would be easier to just sell to investors in San Antonio, Las Vegas, Portland, Charlotte, El Paso, or some other place and be done with it and have the team leave the Bay Area. But Wolff is willing to go the extra mile. He’s just not willing to build in a place where’ he would he lose his shirt doing it. Why are people bitter at Lew Wolff because he recognizes the market realities of the situation?

  11. Wasn’t Wolff calling us a “small market” for the last 5 years? Man, when can you believe this guy? Wolff: “Geren is doing a fantastic job”.

  12. David, seems baseball agrees with Wolff. Note that in Oakland even beyond 2016 in their current ballpark they’re still considered small market. It’s once they have their new ballpark (with the only such park anywhere near fruition being in San Jose), they’ll become not small market.

  13. @Dan – small revenue, not small market. That’s why Lew must go (sell). He just isn’t up for the challenge. We A’s fans know what championship ownership looks like … and sadly, this ain’t it!

  14. No body is up to the challenge in the Coliseum.

  15. MLB has spent 3 years validating the conclusions of LW- guess they must be lying to-

  16. Tampa won in a bigger dump than the Coliseum.

  17. Jeffery just nailed it. Even Wally Haas would be floundering in 2012 in the Coliseum.

  18. David hate to break it to you, but Tampa’s stadium while not a retro palace, is not a dump either. It’s only 22 years old and was designed specifically for baseball (and for the Florida weather where you’d have to be on crack to want to be outside in the summer (hence even Miami has a roof now). We’re playing in far and away the worst stadium in MLB.

  19. Tampa won because they had Top 10 draft picks for something like 10 years in a row. Evan Longoria, etc. If Wolff sells, the next buyer will move the team out of the Bay Area. Oakland-only folks continue to hold out hope for a magic billionaire ready to donate a free stadium to Oakland.

  20. I’m not a Wolff lover, but I do believe that when he says Oakland is a small market, he means small revenue. He correlates the market to the amount of revenue being brought in. Oakland is not a small market. The majority of it’s market is just not interested in the product Wolff is selling. Therefore, the market interested is small.
    I don’t mind the Coli as much as some people do. At the same time I recognize it’s flaws & a need for change. I was in FL a couple of years back and got to see a Rays game. Walking to the stadium sucked sweaty balls, but as soon as we walked in, it felt so much nicer. I don’t mind the Trop either, but they need a new field too. I guess I’m just not hard to please. Give me the A’s playing baseball anywhere in the bay area & I’ll be happy.

  21. So for the Giants: no, or less, revenue sharing payments after 2016, and saving $20 million annually after 2017. Smoke = fire indeed! 😉

  22. I noticed in recent interviews Beane and Wolff have been calling the A’s a low revenue team whereas they had previously referred to themselves as a small market team.

  23. re: The majority of it’s market is just not interested in the product Wolff is selling. Therefore, the market interested is small.

    …correct. $2 tickets, $38 behind-the-dugout tix (compared to $150 for similar tix at ATT Park), free hot dog nights, free parking nights, giveaways, etc. All of that has resulted in being last in attendance. And when the team went to the ALCS in 2006, they finished 26th in attendance. It’s safe to conclude the majority of the market is not interested in the product.

  24. Oakland is small market and small revenue because the Giants got a new ballpark 12 miles away that has dwindled the already small A’s fan base in the East Bay….plain and simple.

    Wolff invested 30M into Fremont and failed. He has 227 pages of info showing that the East Bay has no viable site.

    Wolff is not going to build in Pleasanton or Dublin either. He needs a big city downtown site to build privately.

    Oakland has never been willing to deal with the A’s and they got sued by the team when they reneged on remodeling the Coliseum for baseball only to bring the Raiders back…16M the team won in court.

    This plus Schott offered 100M to build a ballpark with Oakland’s help….Of course the city ignored him.

    Oakland is the wrong Bay Area city for a baseball team in this large market. SF and SJ are the two places you want to build….SF essentially overlaps Oakland.

    That is the sad truth and Selig knows this full well or he would have shot down San Jose already.

  25. Baseball needs a nice ballpark, or people will not show up. Hardcore fans often make the point that “I’m there to watch the game, not look at the stadium or it’s surroundings … who cares about the stadium?”. However, since baseball is a slow game, for most casual fans a nice stadium experience makes all the difference in the world. Unfortunately, the Coli, old and decrepit, and with ugly-ass Mt Davis, is about as pleasant as a visit to San Quentin.
    Then there is the local spending power and corporate base. In Oakland, it’s relatively small.

    Building a new ballpark in Oakland would help. It would increase attendance and revenue. But not enough to help get ROI on a privately financed ballpark, and get the club off the revenue sharing dole.

    Building a new ballpark in SJ, due to it’s huge corporate base and more disposable income of citizens, would bring in the needed ROI, and get the club off the MLB dole.

    Some people have accused Wolff/Fisher of being carpetbaggers and never giving a sincere effort to make something work in Oakland. To a degree, I agree with that notion. But it’s for good reason. If you’re going to invest half a billion of your own money, you want to be able to recoup at least some of that investment, and due to economic factors that recoup is just not there in the city of Oakland.

    Selig knows this. And there aren’t out of area alternatives at this point. It’s SJ or bust.

  26. As for revenue sharing.

    Even with a new ballpark in Oakland the A’s would still be on revenue sharing. In San Jose that would not be the case hence MLB can compensate the Giants.

    That is why MLB will not build in Oakland privately or they would have already just to avoid the Giants.

    Oakland will lose the Raiders and A’s to Santa Clara County while the Warriors will move to SF near China Basin.

    Soon Oakland will have zero teams left with no one to blame but themselves.

  27. ML, not entirely A’s related. But in concert with all of this the San Jose Earthquakes Stadium goes before the SJ planning department to get the final “use permit” for the site on December 14. It is expected to pass which would leave only the “building permit” remaining before construction to begin. However once the use permit is passed the building permit is largely formality. So essentially December 14 will be the final hurdle of any consequence for the Earthquakes stadium. Also once the use permit is issued architectural drawings and such will be finalized, however they do seem to have a definite design they’re looking for.

  28. @jeff-athletic- Well put. We both have the same logic just in different wording! Ha1

  29. Sid,

    I love the conclusions w/o facts to back them up.

    1. “Even with a new ballpark in Oakland the A’s would still be on revenue sharing. In San Jose that would not be the case…”

    Do you have some kind of crystal ball to indicate the A’s will be a screaming success in SJ. You do realize that for a number of years the Giants barely broke even at AT&T, the crown jewel of Major League Ballparks.

    2. “Soon Oakland will have zero teams left with no one to blame but themselves.”

    Even if Oakland loses all three teams, given your earlier statements that there is no fan base, no corporate support within Alameda and CC counties, how should Oakland blame itself? You’ve already concluded that no one can make money here and that Oakland doesn’t have the funds to pay for any venues. How is that Oakland’s fault then. Your logic is illogical.

    Further, If the W’s love to China Basin, how is that Oakland’s fault? Last time I checked the Ws sell the joint out every night despite one playoff appearance in the last 15 years.

  30. Oakland did everything for the Warriors and Raiders and zip for the A’s. So it deserves to lose the A’s. The Warriors? Just a fact of life that Frisco is more glamorous and if an arena is built there, the Warriors will be gone from Oakland. A Frisco arena would surely go after the Sharks, too. But the Sharks have a good deal in SJ.

  31. re: Do you have some kind of crystal ball to indicate the A’s will be a screaming success in SJ
    …the best comparative we have – the Sharks – have sold out for 20 years, despite playing a sport with abysmal TV ratings and one not ever played by many in the Bay Area. The Sharks success serves as a fabulous indicator of how strong SJ is as a market for major pro sports.

  32. “I love the conclusions w/o facts to back them up.” – looks at Coliseum historical and present attendance figures as well as corporate and local government support……/shakes head

  33. A Frisco Arena would have a hard time stealing the Sharks since SVSE own the rights to manage the arena and get a cut of every event held there. I doubt an SF arena would offer them terms that generous.

  34. A. 81 games during the summer. Fewer hockey during the winter. Very different.

    B. SF Giants sucked wind at Candlestick, arguably a worse venue than the Coliseum and then moved into new park and voila, they draw 3MM. Not saying the A’s will do that well in a new venue but they will get a bump in a waterfront stadium in Oakland. Corporate support — red herring. How about have a marketing dept that actually tries to develop corporate support.

    Local govt support. It’s there for a new park. I knkow you guys refuse to accept that. But it’s there.

  35. @SS- you serious that you consider VC “waterfront”? Maybe you can be that “marketing” guy you feel Oakland needs

  36. re: develop corporate support.
    …The Raiders got brand new luxury boxes – lots of them – and all the indications are they have had trouble selling them. And we all see the empty suites at A’s games. All the indicators reveal there’s not much of a market for premium seating in Oakland – which is a big big problem when that is how the ballpark would be paid for, since Oakland wouldn’t help pay for construction. Al Davis got his suites free. The A’s owners would have to pay for theirs and when they don’t sell, well, the A’s owners have to pay the mortgage from their own personal bank accounts. Would anyone take this risk given the demonstrably poor market for premium seating in Oakland? Nope.

  37. Actually the best data point for what we can expect with a SJ ballpark…the giants doing everything they can to keep the A’s out of it-

  38. “Local govt support. It’s there for a new park. I knkow you guys refuse to accept that. But it’s there.”

    Sorry but if it were there their EIR would be complete, they’d be negotiating the sale of the land at VC (or outright purchasing it), and they’d be providing some form of financial lure to the A’s to get them to stay rather than doing… NOTHING. Oakland’s leadership has done nothing but get out a map and draw a line around a few blocks and said this is our stadium site. That is not political will, that is called covering their ass.

  39. @Sid It’s hard to take your posts seriously. You’ve already stated that you have only gone to 4 or 5 Oakland A’s games in your life, were a Giants fan and would only go to the East Bay to golf. Your credibility and “expertise” on the Oakland sports front is questionable at best.

  40. @GoA’s: Yes, VC is waterfront….in the same way that the Coliseum is, w/San Leandro Creek.

  41. re: A. 81 games during the summer. Fewer hockey during the winter. Very different.

    …same old, same old. If the Sharks were bombing at the Box Office, it would be Exhibit A for the Oakland-only folks about why San Jose supposedly can’t support major pro sports. But since the Sharks sell out, it’s supposedly not a good comparison. Convenient.

  42. As a kid I went to several California Golden Seals hockey games at the Oakland Coliseum. I distinctly remember the A’s season ticket brochures and the Seals season ticket brochures look remarkably similar – probably because at the time Chas Finley owned both the A’s and the Seals. My old man, Rayburn, hated Candlestick so we never went there. I remember my first A’s game in 1970 when the A’s played the Minnesota Twins. I remember going to an AL playoff game in 1971. I remembered that after 1972 I hated Pete Rose but loved Johnny Bench. I remember my first World Series game in 1972 – that got rained out and didn’t get played – and the game after that. I remember Willie Mays making a fool of himself in 1973 and Don Hahn who played CF for the Mets – because he was from my neighborhood in Campbell, CA. I was at the 1974 Game 5 at the Coli when Ken Holtzman hit a home run (A’s Pitcher) in World Series. I remember seeing the A’s get no-hit by 3 Chicago White Sox pitchers, including former A’s pitcher Blue Moon Odom. I remember seeing Aerosmith, Blue Oyster Cult, AC/DC, etc. at Days on the Green – with absolutely terrible acoustics. I remember dozens of Raider games I’ve attended over the years. I remember hating to miss any A’s game in 1988 because I just wanted to see how good the team was each and every night. I remember being heart-broken when Gibson hit his home run off Eck. I remember the 1989 sweep against the Giants, the 20 game winning streak, the playoff disappointments during the early part of the 2000’s, the 2006 flop against Detroit. While I will miss all of these things and will cherish each and every one of them forever, I will not miss the Coli, I will not miss the F—d up drive on 880, and I will not miss the anxiety each time I leave the old girl at night – hoping that nothing happened to my car. The old girl is almost done; she is in her last furlong of a 6 furlong race. God rest her soul.

  43. @SS –

    “Corporate support — red herring. How about have a marketing dept that actually tries to develop corporate support.” Wait, is this the same marketing dept. that got endorsed by SVLG to SJ, but not to Oakland?! /scratches head.

    “Local govt support. It’s there for a new park. I knkow you guys refuse to accept that. But it’s there.” VC EIR anyone? Brown to Dellums to Quan….. /nuf’ said

  44. @ RS – “The old girl is almost done; she is in her last furlong of a 6 furlong race. God rest her soul.” Amen to that bro’!

  45. At this late stage of the game, I’m still amazed that the Oakland boosters are still so shrill in their histrionics.

    Me personally, I think the Oakland city council and mayor will heave a collective sigh of relief when the moving trucks back into the coli to cart the team down the road.

  46. Oakland boosters are wasting their breath. If Oakland or Alameda County put a legitimate stadium deal on the table — land and financing — MLB would not consider San Jose or any other venue that involves opening up the T rights issue. The failure to put such a plan on the table lies with the East Bay and its elected officials, nowhere else.
    I understand the frustration at the prospect of Oakland being demoted from the ranks of major league cities, but anger at the South Bay is misdirected.

  47. @ Jeff — “At this late stage of the game, I’m still amazed that the Oakland boosters are still so shrill in their histrionics.”

    At this late stage of the game, I’m still amazed that the SJ boosters are still so shrill in bashing Oakland, still so insistent in making that lying bastard Wolff into a hero for “saving” the A’s when he has divided and trampled on the A’s fan base and consistently puts a losing team on the field, and are still so shrill in their unfounded assumption that the A’s would leave the Bay Area if denied a SJ venue.

    It’s obvious why Wolff wants such a small ballpark — Santa Clara County is and always has been mostly Giants fans and he knows that building the ballpark to a more traditional capacity would mean it will be half empty after the novelty of a new ballpark wears off. Why? Because locating a major sports facility at the edge of the regional market area where no regional public transportation exits (except LA-style freeways) is sheer idiocy. Hey, but you SJ loudmouths know all the facts…. right.

  48. Half-empty would still be better than what the A’s have now. And when will the novelty of the Sharks wear off? 20 years of sellouts in downtown San Jose. No regional public transit? Right next to Cisco Field will be bus service, CalTrain, VTA Light Rail, ACE Trains, Amtrak and maybe BART someday…Which move “trampled on the A’s fan base?” Was it the free parking nights? The $2 ticket nights? The free hot dog nights? The overall most economical ticket prices in pro sports? Which of these trampled on the A’s fan base? How about 2006? AL runnerup, #26 in attendance.

  49. @Jerry- and that is why the giants are fighting so hard to keep the A’s out SJ because it’s a ridiculous notion to build a ballpark in one of the wealthiest (corporate and personal) areas of the US- really?

  50. @Jerry – The facts ML laid out are pretty clear as to why leaving the area is probably more likely to happen than Oakland. The A’s were purchased for $180M 5 years ago and are currently valued at $320-340M depending on who you ask. If SJ is denied, effectively leaving the team in limbo, MLB could purchase the team from Wolff for that value. But, then, there are two choices: Sell the team at a vast discount (maybe $250M?) to a guy who would build in Oakland, leaving the other owners out $70-80M and praying for an attendance boost from a new park so they aren’t on welfare. They could also sell the team at full price, and let the new owner move them wherever was willing to build and hope *that* works out….

    Or, they could just approve SJ and spend only the money needed to placate the gnats.

    As far as traditional ballpark sizes, parks are getting smaller. AT&T holds about 42K, and it has been reported Wolff agreed to expand his plan to about 36K. The Marlins’ park will have 37K; Target Field has 39K; Comerica has 40K. The era of ballparks with 50K+ capacity is over.

  51. @Stanley Stanson- Simon says it the best. If the A’s were viable in Oakland they would have built there already just to avoid the T-rights issue with the Giants.

    Facts without backing them up?

    I am shaking my head because your statements have zero facts. The A’s have never drawn well in Oakland outside of 3 Haas years. The attendance is a key sign that Oakland is not a viable city.

    The A’s will have great success in San Jose, better than finishing last in attendance or the bottom 1/3 every year like in Oakland. The only way to go is UP….think about that.

    San Jose is a far larger city with people who have money with little crime. The site in downtown San Jose would be a big boom for the area. People would go to games, Giants fans like myself would buy 20 games a year…Of course I would buy 20 games on the 1st base line instead of 81 in nosebleed.

    Why would I buy games? Because SF is too far and Oakland is a dump. Plain and simple. The A’s would sellout for years. If they become a contender you will not be able to find a ticket. The A’s would in in Oakland and not sellout. Not even close.

    Oakland is a shrinking city and does not have a site to build on. Where are you going to build a successful stadium I ask? VC is not viable, if it was MLB would tell Wolff to build there to avoid the upcoming confrontation with the Giants.

    The Sharks are direct evidence of San Jose being a sports town. The Raiders never sold out until this year in reality. Granted they did not have control of ticket sales until 2006 so in their defense they had issues selling out for that reason alone from 1995-2005.

    The Warriors are the only NBA team in this huge market. They will be lured away by a waterfront arena in SF.

    If your the Raiders why play in Oakland with a new stadium coming up in Santa Clara?
    If your the Warriors why play in Oakland with a new arena in SF?
    If your the A’s why play in Oakland with a new ballpark in SJ?

    @eb- I have been to several A’s games over the years. Just 4-5 in the past few years. That is 4-5 more than I have attended with the Giants because of this BS of holding my hometown hostage from getting a team.

    I have been to countless Warriors games and I am a 49ers fan so the Raiders I do not care to attend.

    I understand the “Bay Area” landscape on sports very well. I understand full well why Oakland is going to lose every team. The East Bay is the poorest region in the Bay Area. SF and SJ are the richest….that is simple enough math.

  52. @Stanley Stanson- In Oakland they would be on revenue sharing even with a new ballpark. Look at Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Kansas City and San Diego….New stadiums in small markets and they are still on the dole.

  53. Jerry- You’re kind of proving my point about histrionics. It may amuse you to know that I live nowhere near SJ. I like the coli well enough, and I bear no grudge against Oakland. The only difference it makes to me where the park is built is whether I turn left on the 680 or keep heading west to Oakland.

    What does make a difference to me is which municipality has credibility in getting a stadium done. Frankly, Oakland is all hat and no cattle. Hey, I’m an impartial observer, and as such I can tell you that Oakland’s political apparatus is almost as incompetent as it is ineffectual. Throughout this whole process, they’ve held the high cards and would have prevailed if they had the gumption to play them. And yet it was SJ’s politcal apparatus who took risks with no guarantees. They quietly went about assembling a plan and a site. Oaktown has yet to produce a single document of worth. I’m not kidding you when I tell you it’s my belief that city hall will rejoice the day the A’s albatross is no longer worthy of political intrigue in Oakland. And they’re more than happy that it’s citizenry will so easily be misled into blaming Wolfe for their misfortune. About the only act of political consequence that impresses me.

  54. “I understand full well why Oakland is going to lose every team. The East Bay is the poorest region in the Bay Area. SF and SJ are the richest….” Amazing analysis. I stand corrected.

  55. @Sid–Excellent comment. SJ would be on revenue sharing, the same as a new ballpark in Oakland, because the market is small.

    @Ml–stop bashing Oakand. Maybe MLB should buy the team and resell it to someone who will build a ballpark in Oakland. Possibly over the air rights of 980 freeway.

    Recall Jean Quan

  56. @Sid – Boy, where do I begin? “I am shaking my head because your statements have zero facts.” You then say, “The A’s will have great success in San Jose” and “San Jose is a far larger city with people who have money with little crime,” and “Oakland is a dump. Plain and simple. The A’s would sellout for years.” You know, I’m speechless. Do you have facts that would support what you are saying? Just like the silicon valley, the east bay, which is a vast area, includes rich areas and not-so-rich areas. As far as your comment about Oakland being a “dump.” well, let me just say that this is just plain ridiculous and is an insult to anyone who is a true A’s fan. I have never, once, said anything about SJ the entire time I’ve posted here, although, believe me, I got very close several times. For you to say that Sid shows me that you have zero credibility. Oakland is a dump, huh? Wow! A mere few weeks ago you were completely negative on the A’s to SJ. You have now switched gears and are not only a major partisan, but you have resorted to dumping on this team’s current city. If that’s how the attitude is in SJ about this, I say screw it, take the team, take LW/JF/BB and change the name to San Jose Techies or San Jose Conductor Chips for all I care. You reap what you sow. Good luck bro.

  57. @Sid – Oh, I forgot to mention this. “The Raiders never sold out until this year in reality.” You are saying 2011 is the first time they’ve sold out? Please provide proof and a link. I have the numbers so I’d like to compare them with yours since 1995. Sharks selling out provides proof that SJ is a sports town? Yet, when an Oakland poster says anything about the W’s attendance that is dismissed. It sure sounds like there is a definitive script going on here.

  58. Actually Bryan, they wouldn’t per the new CBA. A new ballpark in San Jose would preclude the A’s from being on revenue sharing.

  59. talked about a’s to sj on chron live blitz today. three guests were townsend, poole, and kawakami.

    townsend…of course its gonna be sj, hear nothing from oakland. all signs are pointing to sj with what selig and beane has said.

    poole…as much as sj has to offer, best place geographically, but until the a’s actually move out of oakland he says it’s oakland.

    kawakami…sj is the best and most lucrative site. still not sure that selig and mlb owners will go for it. throws out what rosenthal says which is get a oakland deal done and get new owners. thinks it’s 50/50.

  60. townsend also said he nominated mayor quan as the bay area’s biggest turkey due to her basically ducking townsend when he’s requested an interview regarding what her plan is with the a’s and the city of oakalnd. said look at the difference between her and major johnson up in sactown and how proactive he is and has made it publicly know ever since he got into the mayoral spot that he wants to keep the kings in town which is almost the opposite of how quan has acted with the a’s.

  61. Poole and Kawakami must have their heads in the sand. They would have more credibility if they started checking with other sources and asking around before they speculated on what was or was no going to happen. I hate to admit this, but Ray Ratto got it right in his most recent article.

  62. @RS – Ratto also continues to obsess over this idea the Wolff doesn’t have the financing lined up and that’s why nothing has started yet. That seems to be a spurious assumption at best. His articles seem to make less sense all the time, IMO.

  63. what’s funny about what both poole and kawakami said is that sj is the best and most financially sense option for the a’s yet they still don’t believe mlb for do it for sure. again why wouldn’t mlb brass and other owners wouldn’t want the a’s to move to sj if it’s the best place and as great of a untapped resource in the silicon valley that they wouldn’t get a part of if no team moves down to the south bay?

    it’s been said before many times but are those in the higherarchy of mlb gonna appease just one team or do they want what’s best for not only the a’s org but also potentially for the whole league in general?

  64. OT: Happy Thanksgiving to ALL A’s fans on here, be it on the pro-SJ side, pro-Oakland side. or just get a stadium built in the bay area side.
    Gonna take a break from posting today and will be heading out to Sacramento around 10am with my family to visit my mom and feast on one of her great spreads I’ve enjoyed for most of my 49 years of life.
    I’m so thankful for so many things in my life: great, loving family; super friends I can count on; having a good job in this topsy-turvy economy; and having pretty good health for a guy kind of getting up there in years (knock on wood!).

  65. To Sid:

    “The Raiders never sold out in reality until this year.”

    I don’t know how old you are but judging by your statement you’re probably not old enough to remember the Oakland Raiders from the 1960’s and 1970’s.

    Check your facts.

    A’s observer.

    PS. The Raiders have also sold out some games since their return to Oakland in 1995.

  66. The Raiders have sold out every game this year.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Oakland A’s fans!

    Who else can’t wait to see Michael Taylor or Brandon Allen crush a few home runs!?

  67. Kawakami is the worst columnist writing for the SJ Merc. He’s a SF homer through and through (ever read any of his Niners, Giants crap?). You’d think he’d support SJ baseball endeavors and an A’s move: nope! Anyhow, needed to get that off my chest. Happy Thanksgiving all and GO RAVENS!

  68. the only pro a’s to sj media types here seem to be purdy and townsend, everybody else i think rather see the a’s stay in oak and or aren’t buying the the a’s going to sj will become a reality.

  69. All the Frisco and East Bay media don’t want the A’s going to San Jose. Their solution for a new ballpark in Oakland? A’s owners risking their own bank accounts, of course.

  70. This same group of writers also questions the ‘9ers move to Silicon Valley- they may know a little about sports…. But they are clueless to the economic drivers needed for success- bottom line- I’m not going to ask any of these guys for investment advice-

  71. Absolutely correct. Economics is not their forte. And some of them still look down on San Jose and refuse to recognize its rise to prominence as the most important city in Northern California. They really, really think Oakland is a better place for MLB than San Jose, even when private financing is needed.

  72. Tony, that should tell you something though. If an SF homer is saying it’s 50/50, I like those odds because in real odds they’re much, much better.

  73. Thanks Dan,
    By the way, saw the latest renderings of the Quakes SSS over at skyscraper city. Not bad at all! Looks like there are no more obstructing beams supporting the roof. By the way RM, if somehow Diridon became impossible for some unknown reason, could Cisco Field fit in at airport west? Not ideal downtown site, but still accessible via 880, Caltrain and future BART terminus.

  74. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

  75. Hoping that we are going to get this resolution done in Jan. Happy Thanksgiving all and whether its in Oakland or San Jose, Go A’s!

  76. Not too crazy bout the Quakes stadium. Looks a little on the cheap side IMO. Happy Turkey day all!

  77. A’s Observer… I think a better argument you might want to use is that the Raiders have sold out plenty of games in the recent past but have still been blacked out because the tickets weren’t purchased by the Thursday deadline.
    1960 and 1970’s attendance figures for the Raiders bare little significance today for a few simple reasons. Most importantly, the team left for more than a decade and lost a large part of the fan base as a result.

  78. A ballpark is not happening in Oakland. I know this is disheartening to some who place a high value on the A’s being an in-Oakland team. However, the climate in most of California to build a ballpark is unfriendly. The climate in Oakland is even worse. Anyone wishing to build a ballpark in Oakland would have to be prepared to move heaven and earth (or nearly so) with the exception of the State government stepping in with money and political clout (that is Oakland’s single hope). IF Oakland had a track record of being a high revenue team, some owner may be inclined to put forth the good fight. But that isn’t the case with Oakland. Please tell me what wealthy individual in his right mind would buy the A’s and put forth his own money to build a stadium with the existing revenue track record? It’s an absurd proposition and isn’t going to happen.
    The reason I say this is because MLB is not, repeat not, going to buy the A’s with the intent of building a stadium in Oakland. It is not going to happen! The only way MLB buys the A’s is if they plan to move them to another city (out of the bay area) or sell them to an owner who is content with the Coliseum. And, fyi, any owner who buys the A’s and says ‘the Coliseum is where I want to be’ is lying through his teeth. A new owner for the A’s, in my opinion, is the death blow to the A’s remaining in the Bay Area.

    The new CBA is telling in that it speaks almost specifically to the A’s (if it was anymore specific it would have said “Oakland A’s”). Reading between the lines, it says MLB is in favor of either giving the A’s the option to move to SJ or moving them somewhere else (what else could it mean?). Further, as pointed out, both these options are financial positives for MLB with the possible exception of the Giants regarding the SJ move. However, the A’s owner wants to go to SJ, the owners believe SJ will make a welfare team into a non welfare team (and in a shiny new stadium), and the City of SJ’s due diligence (give SJ credit in this regard), the permission to move to San Jose is now ALL about the Giants. Does this mean the A’s are moving to San Jose? That is a most definite maybe (As Marine Layer has said many times). Whether we hear the specifics or not, the interaction between BS, Giants, A’s and the rest of the MLB owners will be very interesting over the next month or two. The answer is likely yes to SJ, in my opinion, if the posture of Selig and 80% of the owners strongly feel it would be good for MLB for the A’s to be in SJ. The interaction/posture will definitely be more talking down to the Giants with a ‘prepare to come to an arrangement. And that isn’t a request” (in a manner of speaking). If many of MLB ownership’s resolve is not ardent, it puts the Giants, and their adamant stance that no deal is possible, in a position of strength. If that is the case I expect the fight to be too difficult for the A’s. I believe that definitely means the A’s will be moving out of the Bay Area (which ever City is willing to throw in a stadium as a gesture of good will).

    The A’s are done in Oakland in a few years. I just don’t see any path that shows that isn’t the case with, again, the exception of state money and political clout. The state stepping in might be plausible if the financial climate was better in Sac. It isn’t and that isn’t going to change for a long time to come (unfortunately)..

  79. There are too many differences for Football and Baseball to be an apples to apples comparison. Whether the Raiders have or have not largely sold out since their return — they most definitely have not — does not have significant meaning regarding the A’s. The A’s could theoretically have good attendance while the Raiders struggle. However, the A’s have many recent years to draw upon — both with a playoff or close to playoff team and definitely not a playoff team — to singularly conclude what the attendance will be at the coliseum. Nobody but the most cockeyed optimist believes the A’s are going to be a high attendance/ high revenue team where they currently exist. Further, there is enough data to make an educated guess at what the Oakland attendance would be in a new Oakland stadium. The educated guess is that it will be ok to decent. But few believe it will ever be at a threshold of being a high revenue/high attendance team. If it did happen it would be a surprise albeit a pleasant one.

  80. I never cease to be amazed by the people who think the A’s stand a snowball’s chance in hell of fielding a consistently competitive team while playing in Oakland. By now, it should be pretty well established that Oakland won’t support MLB no matter how good the team is, and that you can’t blame the A’s recent non-competitiveness on the current owners, no matter how much insight you and your favorite sports radio talk show host may think you have into their inner lives.

    The basic facts about baseball in Oakland:

    1. The A’s have outperformed the Giants both the regular season and the post-season as long as the two teams have been in the Bay Area, but Giants fans have outperformed A’s fans in buying tickets and attending games.

    2. When the Giants played at the stick, they won 98% as many games as the A’s and sold 98% as many tickets, but since moving to China Basin their attendance tops the A’s by 70% even though they still win fewer games.

    3. The A’s teams fielded by the Wolff/Fischer management group have won more games an the Giants have during the same period, and attendance has still continued to drop off.

    4. The A’s lost money this year, even with the welfare.

    In the past, the A’s have pulled rabbits out of a hat with such regularity that fans have come to expect miracles. Charlie Finley had a mystical eye for talent, Wally Haas owned the teams that introduced steroids to baseball, Billy Beane seriously applied “moneyball” techniques, etc.

    Now that everybody scouts like mad, steroids have been banned, everybody’s front office uses sabermetrics and the Giants are drawing 3 million fans a year (something the A’s have never, ever done) the game has moved on and you need something that you can’t get in Oakland, a decent ballpark close to where people work and some corporate sponsorship.

    You can scream into your radio about what a bastard Lew Wolff is until you’re blue in the face, but these facts aren’t going to change.

    The A’s have three choices:

    1. Stay in Oakland suck consistently due to low revenue.
    2. Move to a new ballpark in San Jose and rebuild the franchise on a solid financial base.
    3. Leave the Bay Area for someplace like Sacramento or Portland.

    I don’t see “stay in Oakland and hope for a miracle” as a viable option.

  81. re: A new owner for the A’s, in my opinion, is the death blow to the A’s remaining in the Bay Area.
    …correct. But some persist in believing that Wolff could sell the A’s to some billionaire ready to donate a $500 mill ballpark to Oakland. Not going to happen.

  82. Selig meeting with the A’s and Giants should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that the A’s will be granted access to San Jose. The meetings would never take place if Selig still believed the TR were sacred and untouchable. They also signal that Selig has the votes to get this approved.
    My only concern now is whether SJ can get a ballpark measure passed. Speaking of which, I wonder how much of a difference compensation (if any) will have on Giants fans voting in the South Bay? Will say a $30 million payoff get them to vote for the measure? Will a $0 payoff piss them off and encourange them to vote “no”?

  83. Hey guys, just for the record… I am thankful for all of you that I have met (both virtually and in person) via this blog. We have a tough time, us A’s fans, and knowing that there are as many passionate fans as there are is a gift that I appreciate. The fact that you guys some times read my rambling thoughts and “insights” into the situation, and that they get to share cyber real estate with some one like ML blows me away.
    That goes for all of you, San Jose, Oakland or whatever your preference is. Let’s hope that soon enough we will all be sharing a beer and enjoying an opening day in a beautiful ballpark that is worthy of the franchise that started the whole steel and concrete baseball stadium trend 102 years ago.

  84. @Bryan Grunwald- The A’s would not be on revenue sharing in San Jose. Why? Because of the huge corporate base and affluent fans that make up the area. In fact they would be “eventually” a bigger financial powerhouse than the Giants down the road. Why do you think the Giants protect San Jose with their lives? San Jose is NOT small market…Oakland is. San Jose is the sleeping giant that MLB is going to open up.

    In Oakland they need the revenue sharing to survive or they would go bankrupt. A new ballpark there like San Diego, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh would not change a thing. Why do you think MLB refuses to build in Oakland? Then again you are the guy who thinks building on 980 is a good idea……

    @Columbo- The Raiders never sold out before this year at all AFTER they returned from LA in 1995. The 1970s and 80s do not count as it was before they moved to LA. Since 1995 they have sold out 50+ games and blacked out 80+…..Wow. That is pretty bad. But in their defense, they did not control ticket sales until 2006. Now they are getting fans because the team is good and the Raiders have control of ticket sales, the Raiders have some of the lowest ticket prices in the NFL.

    The East Bay does have rich areas….but they are too close to San Francisco. All those rich people go to Giants games because they have a “choice”….People in San Jose do not have 2 teams so close with BART. We have to drive to the games which thus reduces the # of games we go to by far.

    The Warriors are a bad example of attendance in Oakland. They are for some odd reason the only NBA ticket in the entire market. This market should have 2 NBA teams but as we can see by the current lockout the NBA has issues of being in the wrong markets. The Sharks are a perfect example of attendance as San Jose is a “non traditional” hockey market. The citizens show “civic pride” for the Sharks and they average 18,000 fans a game…..About the same as baseball in Oakland. Tells you right there San Jose would support a baseball team far better than Oakland.

    I have switched my thinking after seeing the recent news. Why would MLB tell the A’s they want them to expand their San Jose ballpark capacity??? Just to screw with their minds? No, it is because they are going to allow the A’s to move.

    San Jose will be a revenue sharing winner and the A’s will overtake the Giants in the market down the line especially if the A’s start winning and signing free agents with a much larger payroll then they have right now.

    San Francisco pales in comparison with the corporations in their general area compared to San Jose. 25% of SV corporations do biz with the Giants and they make tons of money. If the A’s move to San Jose and tap into the other 75%…..what do you think is going to happen?? The A’s will make far more money than the Giants, hence why the Giants protect SV.

    Oakland is done, they have so many issues that a ballpark there just is not happening. The city council has shown no interest and the A’s owners have seen this. The Raiders coming back was the death blow for the A’s in Oakland.

    If the A’s could build in Oakland, MLB would make them so they could avoid the TR issue with the Giants that is about to come to a head.

    The Pro-Oak guys never cease to amaze me or make me shake my head…

  85. Nice post Jeffrey,
    I can’t wait until we’re actually talking about construction of the ballpark myself, but yes, Opening Day 2015 is right there to. Have some beers while watching pile drivers, construction cranes, flying steel beams and sparks from welding/grinding? Sounds good to me!

  86. @Sid…except for Cisco, Adobe, and Ebay, most of the companies that are based in SJ have annual revenues in the $500m to $1b range. Which are considered fairly small companies. SJ has a nice corporate base, but to say it has a huge corporate base is a gross exaggeration.

  87. @Dennis H,
    If you’re just talking SJ proper, then you are technically correct. But SJ Metro? Try adding Apple, Google, HP, Yahoo, Brocade, Nvidia, Facebook, Netflix, etc etc $$$$ get the picture.

  88. I can’t believe these long-winded same old same old tedious, always redundant posts by the pro-SJ crowd. Give it a rest for a few days, guys!! Go outside and get some fresh air, go shopping locally and help the small businesses.

  89. The Giants best allies in their fight to keep the A’s in Oakland and under their thumb are the old-skool Oakland fans who can’t bring themselves to accept the realities of modern life.

    The Giants have maybe three years to create a legacy for themselves as a premier-caliber franchise, because as soon as the A’s new ballpark opens in San Jose and/or Billy Beane takes over the Dodgers the Giants’ recent bit of good fortune will come to an end. They’ll still sell lots of tickets, but they won’t outperform the A’s as they did in ’09-11.

    Oakland dominated MLB during Finley’s golden ’71-75 period, Haas’ steroids-fueled ’88-92 run, and Billy’s Moneyball years, ’00-03 when they had made consecutive post-season appearances over multiple years.

    The Gnats have gone to the post season in consecutive years only once, behind Bonds and BALCO in ’02-03. So either the Gnats go all out to win this year and next or they fade back into baseball obscurity as a perpetual mediocrity and the Bay Area’s Number Two MLB team.

    I think it would be outstanding of the A’s were to defy the odds and outperform the Gnats one more time, but you can’t bank on miracles season after season.

  90. @Sid – “The Raiders never sold out before this year at all AFTER they returned from LA in 1995. The 1970s and 80s do not count as it was before they moved to LA. Since 1995 they have sold out 50+ games and blacked out 80+…..Wow. ” Let’s break this down. Unless there are typos you are saying that they have never sold out after they returned from LA. Then you say they’ve sold out 50 games since 1995. Maybe you’re referring to a sold out “season.”???? If so, then that’s true. Their capacity is just over 63k. Okay, so since they’ve come back to Oakland (prior to 2011 season) they had a winning percentage of .410 in 16 seasons. This includes 9 losings seasons with a winning percentage of .278, 4 seasons at .500, and 3 winning seasons at .688. They have had 6 seasons topping 90% capacity obviously including the winning seasons of 2000-2002. Their super bowl year of 2002 hit nearly 97% capacity. Ironically, the other 3 seasons that topped 90% capacity were massive losing seasons totaling a dismal .229 winning percentage, including a 93% capacity in their infamous 2-14 2006 season. They are on pace to having 100% in 2011. When you say the 70’s and 80’s don’t count I’m wondering why? The east bay had a much lower population then and the stadium was selling out. Let’s think for a moment. Do you think when AD moved the team in the early 80’s that there might have been some resentment in the minds of many hardcore fans? Moreover, look at the teams they have fielded since they came back, with the exception of the few good Gannon/Gruden years. What is your point? I think logically there is a correlation here. In the bay area, unfortunately or fortunately, there are many things to do (we are lucky). If a team sucks people are not going to show up. I don’t think this is far different from many other markets with some exceptions, i.e. usually places where there’s not much going on. Sid, this is not an east bay thing. You are trying to make it that but it’s not. And you say “the pro-Oak guys make me shake my head.” You are lumping everyone into one bucket. It’s true that there are posters on both sides who make no sense at all. Yet you are trying to paint an area (east bay) as a place that is unable to support major league teams while, at the same time, supporting the notion that SJ is the golden ticket with the only evidence being the Sharks and the population. There are more people in the east bay than in the SCL Valley, depending on where you draw your borders. I submit that the corporations are plentiful and this is vital to a stadium but what does that have to do with fan support? Just because AAPL, NVDA, and GOOG are based in SV it has no relevance to fan support. They may buy up the expensive suites and club seats (which is what LW wants) but what does that actually say about regular fan support? How can you honestly say that, excepting the corporate support, that SJ will be able to sell out each and every game without question? The 49ers have been “selling out” their games for years but it has been shown that the team buys the remaining unsold tickets to avoid blackouts. Oh, and the Warriors are a bad example, huh? Because they’re the only game in town? Aren’t the Sharks the only game in town? I read somewhere, and I can’t remember where, that up to 75% of season ticket holders for the Sharks come from outside SCL valley. I am going to try to find the link to back that up. Aren’t you a Giants fan? Why are you such a hardcore supporter of an A’s move when this is not a popular thing in the G’s organization? It’s the same old rhetoric from you guys. I have never talked bad about SJ yet you and many others call Oakland a dump. Whatever. That’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it. You just don’t display tact by saying things like that. If you want to get into a war of words I can do that easily but I choose not to. FWIW.

  91. Anyhow, good to see Keith Wolff follow in the footsteps of his father, reportedly close to buying the beautiful St. Claire hotel in downtown San Jose. Add that to a Wolff DSJ portfolio that includes The Fairmont, Holiday Inn, and Hilton. After 2015, it won’t be a stretch to refer to DSJ as Wolff’s Empire. 😉

  92. @Columbo: The evidence is very, very clear that Oakland will not support MLB, regardless of how good the team is. All you have to do is check the data that’s readily available at Baseball Reference and several other Internet sites to see the facts.
    Since the Giants have been playing in AT&T park, they’ve won 1593 games, made four post-season appearances, and sold 38 million tickets. During the same period, the A’s have won 1607 games, made five post-season appearances, and sold 22 million tickets. There’s only one way to interpret the data: Oakland doesn’t like baseball.

  93. @Mossback–i interpret that data on the Giants having a beautiful park, the Barry Bonds freak show, and the A’s playing in a football stadium with not-so-great ownerships. Give the A’s an all new park like At&T, and the numbers would be a lot closer. Remember the Giants stuggled to draw well at the Stick when the A’s came along and they were ready to move to FLA. Who would of thought now that they were almost gone back then.

  94. @jk-usa There have been periods when the Coli was a nearly a “beautiful” park, specifically when the heinous Raiders were in LA, and even then the A’s didn’t draw like the Gnats do today with their inferior team (built around elderly castoffs from other teams and drafted pitchers.) When the Gnats were at the Stick they won 98% as many games as the A’s and sold 98% as many tickets. So the two ballparks are similar, and the ownerships are all pretty much the same.
    We don’t really know with 100% certainty whether a new ballpark in SJ would enable the A’s to sell more tickets than the same ballpark in Oakland, but we’ve got a pretty good idea. Oakland has had 40 years to demonstrate support for baseball and hasn’t done it, but SJ has been gaga over a sport (ice hockey) that nobody cares about.
    Why would a new ballpark in the same location change anything?

  95. One more thing, jk-usa: The A’s have won more games under the current ownership than the gnats have won during the same period of time, so the idea that Wolff and Fischer are sub-standard doesn’t have factual support, no matter how popular it may be.

  96. Even when Oakland had a nice ballpark with perfect weather and BART access, attendance was usually in the bottom tier of the league…

  97. Good lord, MLB please end this ridiculousness. Seriously, the excuses for Oakland futility border on absurd. It is pretty clear that attendance history has sucked. How many teams have been in the shorts 15 times in 43 years but in the bottom half of all MLB attendance 36 out of those 43 years?
    The question isn’t how does hockey attendance or basketball attendance relate to baseball attendance? The question is why does anyone expect it to change in the same locale with the same, assuming we are lucky, circumstances?
    It is ridiculous to claim Lew Wolff is the problem when his seasons fit so nicely in with the rest of the team’s history in the Bay Area.
    Screw the Sharks. Screw the Warriors. And especially screw the Raiders. None of that stuff matters. The A’s have been awesome more often than not and they have not drawn. I recall listening to Bleacher Dave call into Robert Buan and saying “The A’s don’t deserve” good attendance. This was in 2002. Hell yes they deserved 3 million butts in the seats that year and if you don’t think so… Have fun rooting for the Warriors.

  98. Like it or not, the A’s and the Giants, historically, haven’t drawn very well in the Bay Area and that’s the BAY AREA”S FAULT, not specifically Oakland. All A’s fans are responsible for that. Also, a new stadium would most likely draw well in both Oakland and San Jose. We’ll see where it ends up getting built. Christ, some people need to grow up.

  99. @eb the Giants have in fact drawn very well in China Basin, their attendance has been best in the NL three times out of 12 and in the top five ten times.
    How about showing a little respect for the truth?

  100. @Mossback Right, interesting that you omit all of the history before the new park. The Bay just didn’t draw well to baseball throughout the most of its history. You can probably cite the low population for two teams during the 70’s but it’s still a fact. However, a new park for the A’s would draw well in San Jose and in Oakland. How it gets built is the issue.

    How about not bringing your trolling from SFGate over here(if this is the same Mossback)?

  101. I see the usually cooler heads are getting steamed … its been an interesting journey to this point. Chess and Poker.

  102. @eb – History? At some point it ceases to matter because of changes in the demographics, competition from other sports, competition from other forms of entertainment, the quality of the teams, and the waxing and waning of the appeal of baseball in general. There have been times when the Bay Area was a good baseball draw. When the Gnats had it all to themselves (1958-1967) they had some very good years in terms of attendance. From 1960-63, they were second in the NL in attendance, and in the middle of that period (1962) they went to the WS.
    The A’s had a short period of good attendance during the Haas/steroids years; in ’89 and ’90, they were second in the AL in attendance while the Gnats were fifth and eighth in the NL. Haas spent like crazy in ’92 – tops in the league – but finished fourth in attendance despite a run at the ALCS.
    For most of the history pre-China Basin, however, both Bay Area teams drew in the lower third or fourth of their leagues. So yes, if we judge strictly on what happened 20, 30, or 40 years ago we would conclude that the Bay Area is (or was at the time) too small a market to support two teams.
    But baseball attendance is up across the board in the last 10-15 years, and we’ve seen a dramatic increase in attendance for the gnats since they moved from the football stadium at the Stick to their precious park at the tourist- and transit-friendly China Basin location. With no improvement in team quality, they jumped from 11.2 place in attendance in the five years before China Basin to 1.6 in their first five years in the new place. That’s a major move and nothing like that happened before. They had some good teams then, going to the PS three out of the five years, but the A’s also had better teams, going four out of five times.
    When the gnats were in the Stick and the A’s were in the Bay Area, the attendance of the two teams tended to follow their success on the field, with the gnats outdrawing the A’s when they had good teams and the A’s outdrawing the gnats when they had good teams. Overall, the gnats trailed the A’s with 98% as many wins and 98% as many ticket sales before China Basin.
    But we’ve seen this dynamic change since China Basin opened, with the gnats out-drawing the A’s even when they totally suck, as they did from 2005-08 when they were winning 71-75 games. The gnats drew 3.2 million fans in 2007 with a team that lost 91 games and finished in the cellar, while the A’s went to the ALCS in 2006 and drew slightly less than two million. So the park is making the difference, not the team.
    So the only question is how much of it is the park’s design and comfort and how much is the location. I suppose you could believe that an AT&T park in the Candlestick location would draw just as well for the gnats as the real park in China Basin, but I don’t see why. Part of the appeal of China Basin is the transit connections, but the Coliseum has that going on, with the exception of Cal Train from San Jose. There is a Capitol Corridor train from San Jose to the Coliseum, but I don’t think many people ride it. So my guess is that the Gnats sell a lot of tickets to people who work in Frisco in all those high-rise buildings. I’m sure others have done the analysis on where the gnat fans come from.
    Frisco has had a little renaissance with the fluffy social network crowd moving in over the last few years, such as Twitter, but they’re not major employers and probably not sports fans. In general Frisco is hostile to business. So I suppose it’s possible that a new park in Oakland might improve the A’s attendance to the point that they could compete with the gnats payroll-wise, but it’s a real leap of faith to simply assume that when there are masses of data that say otherwise. You can be sure that the A’s have crunched all the numbers on that option, since crunching numbers is what they’re good at (after all.)
    It comes down to this: Would any sane baseball owner bet $400-500M on a new ballpark in Oakland on the prayer that it’s going to draw better than the Coliseum did during the heyday of Oakland baseball but not for the last 20 years, or are they going to take a page out of the book of recent history and go to a location that has more demographic promise? To me, that’s a no-brainer.
    And I’ll ignore that name-calling nastiness, it’s not becoming.

  103. To clarify my “screw the (insert bay area sports team name here)” stuff. I don’t think the Raiders, Sharks or Warriors attendance really matters. That’s all I was trying to say.
    Eb is right. San Jose or Oakland there will be an initial boost. We can all argue about what happens in the long term at either locale, none of us have any real data to support that it would be better in San Jose or Oakland. We have plenty of data to talk about what has happened in Oakland and as they say “past performance is on indication of future success.”
    I really don’t care where it is eventually built. If I can get there regularly, I will be there regularly.

  104. PS- I think the atmosphere for the Raiders is awesome and only going to get better. I hope they find a way to stay right where they are for a long, long time.

  105. Jeffrey,

    The Raiders have their bags packed and ready for LA; Al Davis was the biggest obstacle to that move.
    Now that he’s gone, LA officials will have a lot less trepidation in dealing with the Raiders brass.

    I think that in an ironic twist, we will have both the Raiders AND the Rams sharing a stadium in SoCal, rather than the Raiders and Niners.

  106. I would love the Raiders to stay right where they are too, especially if the A’s go to SJ. Rebuild the baseball side to make it all football, or start from scratch and blow the sucker up. The NFL wants the R’s and SF to share a place, so a move to SC will be more likely than LA,, but the Coliseum site is better than SC IMO.. SD will probably go up to LA, having trouble getting a new place in SD.

  107. The Raiders will never leave the Bay Area again. By doing so, they would alienate the heart of their fan base in the East Bay for life.

    Those fans forgave the Raiders when they moved back from LA but not twice.

    This plus LA needs expansion in order to get a football team and here is why:

    -How are you going to sell tickets/suites when there is no team currently playing in LA? Or anywhere near?

    You cannot, a team would have to relocate to the LA Coliseum or the Rose Bowl temporarily so that they can get fans to start buying tickets/suites.

    The only team who might make sense is the San Diego Chargers. But even they are pretty far away from Los Angeles.

    The only the NFL can return to LA is via expansion. Then they can start a new brand for fans to cheer for.

    Also, most heads in LA are from somewhere else and have their own teams that they watch on the weekends. The Raiders and Rams struggled because of this. By the end each team was blacking out every week and it was obvious no one cared about them in the region.

    NFL is better served with no teams in LA and concentrating on their other markets that actually have fans who care.

    The Bay Area has 2 teams but LA has zero…that is because the 49ers and Raiders have local fans who care about them.

    While in LA no one cares about a local NFL team.

  108. Sid,
    Respectfully, whatever.

  109. The raiders have an established fan base in Los Angeles. A sizeable contingent makes its way up north for home games in Oaktown, just as fans from the bay area went down to LA back in the day.

    Sid, I dont think the Raiders brass cares whether or not they break the hearts of fans in the bay area (again) – simple reason being, i dont think they cared the first time, nor do i think they ever thought in a million years they’d move back.

    Unfortunately, it comes down to luxury suite sales, and the Raiders can’t get it done in the Bay Area. In LA, I think it’s more likely to happen. Remember, the reason they left the first time is for those suites, which were promised but never delivered – this time, it’ll be a brand new stadium.

  110. @pllraz- If they cannot sell luxury suites in the Bay Area what makes you think it will happen in LA?

    Raiders fans in LA or the Bay Area do not have the money to spend on suites like the 49ers fans do. Essentially the Raiders need another team like the 49ers to get a stadium built with their fans and piggy back of them.

    The Raiders brass does care and them leaving for LA in 1982 was a colossal mistake, that is obvious as by the little attendance they got in LA over the years. They moved back in 1995 to a market that is half the size with another team in the 49ers who won 5 titles in that 13 year time period.

    The Raiders sold out all day before they left to LA and Al Davis learned the hard way LA is not a good NFL market.

    The Bay Area is a big NFL football market, the Raiders are selling out consistently for the first time since before they left for LA and the fan base is energized. The Raiders would be wise to carry this momentum for the long haul in the Bay Area.

    LA is a land of false hope for the NFL. Does any NFL team want to risk moving to the LA Coliseum temporarily and have financing fall through and get stuck? That is what the Raiders would have to do in order to sell anything in LA.

    For this reason it is too risky for the Raiders to leave the Bay Area again. In Santa Clara they can be a sub tenant to the 49ers for 5-10 years and in the new CBA in 2020 ask for a stadium credit to build in Oakland…..They would sell out all day in Santa Clara since it is so close to the core of their fan base in the East Bay.

    LA fans just do not care about having an NFL team of their own. The south-land is full of transplants and people who have their teams. DirecTV makes a killing of the NFL package out there, it is their #1 market for this reason.

    LA is just not a good NFL market period, that is the sad truth of the matter. One team would have a hard time getting fans much less 2 teams once the novelty of the stadium wears off.

    I lived out there and know full well the landscape. I am a 49ers fan too and I think the Raiders are better served sharing this market rather than be the only team in LA.

  111. Football is boring.

  112. Sid… are you for real? Raiders fans don;t have money for suites like 49ers fans? It isn’t “fans” who buy luxury suites in either case.
    I am not advocating for the Raiders to move to LA, but to pretend that if they were the only game in town that they would have some trouble selling luxury boxes to LA Area corporations is ridiculous.
    Why do you talk out of your ass all the time?

  113. @Jeffrey- Hold up….I never have once said “Jeffrey, stop talking out of your ass” once. Please show some respect for my thoughts and views….This is a blog for fun after all.

    As bartleby pointed out the Raiders in Oakland have had a hard time selling premium seating in this market despite the 49ers not having anything close to the suites Oakland built for the Raiders back in 1995.

    Corporations should have lined up for the Raiders but did not. Even the SF metro market should have been enough, forget Silicon Valley.

    The 49ers get corporations to sign up because their executives are fans of the team in Silicon Valley.

    So in the end the “fans” do buy the suites. The executives use their corporations to do it because it is a great tax write off.

    The East Bay is the Raiders ancestral home and the heart of its fan base. If they could not sell luxury suites here with little competition it is going to be easier in LA? Where they have several more teams in the same general area. (Lakers, USC, Dodgers, Clippers, and Kings all play in or near Downtown LA).

    LA corporations have their teams and their money is allocated. Their executives are fans of the teams that are there already. SV works because there is only the Sharks nearby hence why the 49ers are killing it selling suites for a stadium that is 3-4 years away.

    The Rams had LA all to themselves for years and could not cut it despite the fact from 1973-1979 they won the NFC West every year and still moved to Anaheim because of lack of fan support.

    What does this tell you? Even winning consistently the Rams struggled at the gate in LA and in OC they had luxury suites and could not sell anything if their lives depended on it in a far richer area.

    The evidence is clear cut that LA is bad NFL market. I am not just saying the Raiders here. The Bills, Vikings, Jaguars, could all move to LA and they would all struggle long run because LA is bad market for the NFL.

    The Raiders and Rams were wise to leave. LA does not deserve a football team when they had 2 teams for a long period of time and each struggled to sell tickets…..much less luxury suites.

    If regular seats have a hard time selling, luxury suites will be a far tougher sell. Why? Because they are far more expensive.

    LA has a history of being a poor NFL market. That is something that will never change. Too bad the Raiders left, as you said “they lost a whole generation of fans” in the Bay Area when they moved.

    As you said before in a nutshell “past performance is a good indicator of future results”..

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