The Knauss Plan, for now

Clorox CEO Don Knauss has been making the rounds, first on KQED yesterday, then on KNBR this morning, and finally on The Game during the lunch hour. All three are worth consuming, so if you haven’t done that yet, get through all three links, then come back and read the rest of this post. Cool?

Okay. Knauss was very consistent with his messaging, which should be no big deal for a CEO of a high profile public company. The bullet points from his pitch were these:

  • Knauss and other East Bay business interests would like to meet with Lew Wolff and perhaps MLB to discuss options in Oakland.
  • If current ownership (Wolff/Fisher) continues to believe that there is no shot in Oakland, Knauss has put together a potential ownership group with members in the East Bay and others in SoCal that could buy the team, keep it in Oakland, and build a ballpark.
  • The group has identified three sites in Oakland. The preferred sites are the two on the waterfront: Howard Terminal and Victory Court. The Coliseum complex is the third site, though it is not “preferred”.
  • Financing for the stadium would be patterned after the model the Giants used to build AT&T Park. This includes the selling of seat licenses.

During The Wheelhouse, Mychael Urban pressed Knauss for answers about plan specifics and why the group has never directly contacted Wolff. Knauss replied that in the first case, he wanted to at least until after the May owners meetings (though he didn’t say anything would be released at that point), and in the second case, he “wanted to respect the process” MLB has put forth with the commissioner’s panel and so forth.

Well then, how does one go about making it work as the Giants did in China Basin? Thankfully, some very smart economists – John M. QuigleyEugene Smolensky, and Stephen J. Agostini – have gone to the trouble of diagramming the process.  The flowchart below comes from a paper titled Stickball in San Francisco. It’s better known as the San Francisco Giants’ case study in the book Sports, Jobs, and Taxes by noted sports economists Roger Noll and Andrew Zimbalist. Ready? Here’s the secret recipe:


Step-by-step instructions on how to follow the Giants’ plan.


See? Easy peasy, no sweat right? Sure, there are a few things that are different, such as the need for a ballot measure. Oakland has long claimed that it doesn’t need one. That claim originated from two theories: that either Oakland could leverage redevelopment money or the powers within the Coliseum Authority (JPA). The latter still stands technically. The former? As long as Oakland’s pledge to take care of costs to put the site together stands, and those site costs keep rising (Victory Court was at last count $250 million), the Mayor and City Council are going to have an extremely difficult time convincing the voters that they shouldn’t vote on it. Even in the Coliseum’s case, going without a vote is inherently very risky because many of the people on the JPA board are standing office holders, such as Ignacio De La Fuente and Scott Haggerty. The stench of the Mt. Davis deal still hangs thick and heavy over the Coliseum, and the Authority is having trouble refinancing existing debt at the complex. Does anyone honestly think a $2+ billion megaproject like Coliseum City won’t go to a vote? The project is calling for its own streetcar! Maybe Knauss will don a Harold Hill costume the next time he does a press conference.

Then again, Knauss expressed a preference for one of the waterfront sites. We know that Victory Court is incredibly expensive and that some current landowners aren’t exactly going to roll over for a ballpark, even though they are great Oakland supporters. Maybe it’s time to revisit Howard Terminal one more time. It’s difficult to see how the Howard Terminal site would work. Matson, one of the key corporate supporters at yesterday’s press conference, consolidated operations at HT several years ago. There’s no readily available place to relocate Matson should they give up HT. I suppose it’s possible they could give up a portion, say 15 of 50 acres, in exchange for some kind of break from the Port. Then it just be a matter of dealing with the nearby power plant and prepping the site, which would require completely new pilings/foundation work (just like AT&T Park). Judging from the price tag for SF’s Piers 30 & 32, the cost would be around $80 million to start plus whatever the price is to compensate Matson. Whatever that total is, it’s probably cheaper than Victory Court. (Personally I’d pick HT just because of its proximity to Beer Revolution, but that’s just me.)

Finally, there’s the matter of seat licenses. Knauss and his partners think there’s a market there. Lew Wolff has said there isn’t a market from the beginning. Who’s right? I’ll defer to Wolff, who has access to the season and advance ticket sales rolls and has a pretty good idea of what people are willing to pay for tickets and premium offerings. The Giants’ $255 million financing package included $75 million from 15,000 charter seat licenses. That’s a $5,000 average upfront payment (available in installments, of course). Is the market really there as Knauss claims? Consider for a moment that the 49ers are selling seat licenses right now. The Raiders, if they get a new stadium built at the Coliseum, will require their own seat licenses. They may also be in the mix for whatever venue the Warriors cook up. The A’s would be entering the fray with, if using the formula the Giants used, 20% of the ballpark cost, or $100 million of seat licenses. The A’s don’t have the Giants’ 25,000-strong season ticket roll, or the reputation of having a large number of premium ticket buyers (Green Collar Baseball, anyone?). So you’d have three, possibly four teams selling seat licenses along with more expensive tickets. That’s a good way to oversaturate the East Bay, a market which has historically shown trouble maintaining solid fanbases unless the teams are ultra-successful. These financing terms don’t work unless great support can be maintained through thick and thin, or at least if some of the load can be sloughed off to corporate interests. Otherwise someone has to make up the shortfall, and as we saw from the OFMA debacle, the results can be disastrous. MLB and Selig know this, and they won’t be impressed just because someone says “we can work it out”. Selig will want to see pledges, upfront payments, real tangible proof that seat licenses can be supported and that there won’t be a shortfall that drags down the franchise. The CBA has a provision that the A’s have to come off revenue sharing by 2016, unless they’re still at the Coliseum. MLB is not going to approve a plan that creates huge risk for the team and causes them to stay on revenue sharing even with a new ballpark.

Perhaps the best predictor of how portable the Giants’ financing model is comes from a 2002 AP article which quotes former owner Peter Magowan and  Rob Tilliss, the JP Morgan consultant who put the deal together. Magowan:

“You cannot expect a private ballpark to be built in Cincinnati or Milwaukee, there’s not the economic base there. It’s not the Silicon Valley,” he says. “And we couldn’t do it today. We were very lucky in our timing we had low interest rates and a very good economy.”


“It definitely is not a one-size-fits-all kind of model.”

Knauss’s argument is that economically, Oakland is closer to San Francisco or Silicon Valley than it is to Cincinnati or Milwaukee. I find that hard to believe.

138 thoughts on “The Knauss Plan, for now

  1. Maybe someone should have asked Knauss why he moved most of Clorox out of Oakland to Tri-Valley (ouch!). Sure seems like back to the future with all this Oakland waterfront talk. Oh well…next topic.

  2. Are you of the opinion that a handful of companies in Giants “territory” could not be siphoned towards a new stadium in Oakland?

  3. @eb,
    Wolff and MLB are most likely of the opinion that (thinking long term revenue) its better to have one of its franchises milk the untapped potential of Silicon Valley / San Jose rather thank drink from the same well as the Giants. Remember, only 15% of SVLG companies do business with the Giants.

  4. @eb – Perhaps. The Giant brand is as strong as it’s ever been. If the two teams had similar records on the field, what would convince a SF business to support the Oakland team? Cheaper tickets? A view of SF? Those seem like minor selling points.

  5. “Remember, only 15% of SVLG companies do business with the Giants.”
    Exactly, so 85% of SVLG wouldn’t do business with a new beautiful Oakland stadium? How about 10%of that 85%? No sizable group of businesses would be interested?

  6. @eb I’d guess that a portion (a small one) does do business with the A’s now. I think the problem is that if you want to get the big money folks in the SVLG you’re going to struggle. Because of the distance and the traffic corridor, I think it would be a stretch to take on a 10% *gain*, at least with comparable dollars to the Giants. More importantly though, getting (probably) less than half of the general area they’re in and a small percent (even say 15%) of that south bay chunk i think you’re still going to fall short of what you’d need. At best it’s an extremely risky proposition to gamble on that money being there and the potential fall out if you fail. That’s not to say SJ isn’t risky too, it’s just less risky financially with more breathing room. In business it’s generally a bad move to take a high risk/low reward proposition, which is how Wolff sees Oakland.

  7. Hey if Knauss can do it more power to him. I’m hesitant to believe it given that there will likely have to be an Oakland contribution which I just don’t see as forthcoming since the city is nearly broke and a vote would likely be required to get public funding. Not to mention the plethora of other issues ML raises. But if Knauss and Co. can actually make a go of it maybe new ownership wouldn’t be a bad thing. God knows Wolff hasn’t exactly been a very good owner. But talk is cheap and so far, like always, I hear a lot of talk coming out of Oakland rather than anything tangible, but maybe, just maybe, Knauss is that white knight the Oakland-Only crowd has been waiting for. Time will tell. Until he proves otherwise however I still see this as nothing but a big cock block.

  8. @eb – SVLG directly supports a team in SJ. Oakland interests and the Giants are actively blocking that effort. Do you expect many of those companies to say, “No hard feelings, it’s just business. Here’s a check”? Those companies can spend their money elsewhere, like at HP Pavilion, 49ers, Shoreline, or the Warriors. If the ballpark is on the Oakland waterfront it’ll be even further away from those companies than before. That’s not the makings of a great sales pitch.

  9. @eb,
    Like it or not, all we know is that the SVLG wrote a letter to MLB stating their support for the A’s in San Jose. They did not do the same for Oakland. Perhaps some SV companies might support the A’s in Oakland, but as many with the team in downtown San Jose? Probably not.

  10. Knauss moved Clorox to Pleasanton from Oakland, because he went to a newer, bigger and cheaper facility.

    Smart move by him.

    If Knauss and his investment group is serious, then they need to be on the same page as developers and other on the site. Right now Coliseum City is the priority, at least to keep the Raiders and Warriors.

  11. IF the A’s team does move to SJ, then they better come up with a better design than the existing Cisco Field in SJ plan. The Cisco Field design for the Fremont ballpark was far better than the existing design for the SJ ballpark IMO.

  12. marine,

    You have a revised design for the SJ ballpark by any chance? If so, I would like to see what you can come up with. Also, any potential designs for the Coliseum City stadium and ballpark?

  13. Marine,

    BTW, most of the stuff we have been discussing for two years has been said over and over again as well.

  14. @dknight.007 – I’m going to start deleting your comments if you stay OT. If it’s repetitive to you, don’t read it. It’s not like I’ve spent a couple hours slaving over 1200 words only to have it willfully ignored and diverted.

    BTW – No, I haven’t seen new or updated designs for either. When I get them I’ll post them immediately. Then I’ll be all over the commenter who goes OT about economics or attendance.

  15. So what happens if Wolff sells the team to Knauss and, lo and behold, in 5 years from now, Knauss finds out Wolff was right all along and Oakland won’t work? Here’s what happens: “We gave it our best shot and just couldn’t make it work. We’ll be selling the team to investors in San Antonio.”

  16. @pjk – Knauss won’t get that chance. Selig’s panel wasn’t put together just so the team can be handed to someone with an iffy plan. Whatever Knauss and his partners are planning, it has to be rock-solid and airtight.

  17. I’m not a pro SJ, Fremont or Oakland. I’m a pro new ballpark in the bay area guy. Heck, I’m from Vacaville and get to commute wherever they relocate. The only thing I heard from Knauss was how to get a park done. I didn’t hear one word on how to make the A’s financially independent so they can compete. A ballpark would be great but without a team it’s not really that cool.

    What really gets me is the timing of this whole thing. Where was this coalition when the A’s were winning, in the playoffs and some corporate sponsorship could have really helped? Where was this coalition when the A’s seriously started looking for a new home? Where was this coalition when Fremont was almost a done deal?

    I recall reading somewhere that B.S. (how those initials are so appropriate) wanted no obstacles in the way to San Jose. There is the lawsuit in S.J. which is a shill group for the Gnats. Then the mysterious interested parties in buying the A’s (one, another shill for the Gnats) and now this guy. And this comes on the heels of the mayor talking with Gnats ownership. Is it me, or is there a common theme here?

    I also remember a comment by the Gnats that it might be in the best interest for the A’s to look outside the bay area. And there is the comment by B.S. about caring more about baseball than self interests.

    I think it is clear where the problem for the A’s is. And it is not Wolfe/Fisher.

  18. @ML I would imagine those business or at least some of them would not carry a personal grudge. If a beautiful on the water venue is built, I’m sure there would be interested parties. Especially if the A’s are a competitive team or the park was the new trendy place to be. I just can’t imagine it would be such a hard sell for professionals to make. I mean, a new yard comparable to At&t or Wrigley or whatever, could change the whole aura around the A’s to something we’ve never seen before. Oakland is lacking in some areas, but it does offer potential sites that are incredibly appealing and exciting.

    • @eb – I don’t see a compelling reason to choose Oakland over SF in your argument. SF already has a gleaming waterfront ballpark, what is Oakland offering that’s a differentiator? There should be something novel about Oakland’s approach that makes it stand out.

  19. “Where was this coalition when the A’s were winning, in the playoffs and some corporate sponsorship could have really helped?”

    The A’s owners had long since given Oakland the finger by the 2000 season. There were efforts back then to try and work on a stadium deal with Steve Schott, but he was not interested, and was in fact already in talks with Santa Clara. The topic of territorial rights was already an issue. Wolff was only brought in to ratchet up the intensity of their Get-Out-Of-Oakland agenda, no other reason. Let’s quit pretending that either the Schott or Wolff ownership groups ever lifted a finger to get a ballpark built in Oakland. These 17 years under those two ownerships are the reason there is no new ballpark for the A’s. They’ve been gunning for downtown San Jose all that time, and still, nothing to show for it.

    • @tps – All that and you didn’t answer the question, choosing to pull out yet another talking point. The answer is that they were working in stealth mode and getting ignored by Selig.

  20. @tps- gunning for SJ and nothing to show- how about an agreed upon site, land, certified EIR, $120M naming rights deal, bs actively negotiating with the gints on TR…. And what does Oakland have to show during this same period- absolutely nothing- and don’t blame that on Wolff- SJ pursued lots of things while not having any idea if they would end up with the team- Oakland has the team and chose to do nothing!!

  21. @ ML – “…what is Oakland offering that’s a differentiator?” IMHO, it would be probably 15 or more years newer. Assuming it’s planned properly, I think it would be easier transportation for fans. I work in the city not far from AT&T and, often, on foggy days the fog does not spread across to Oakland so I would add better weather and, thus, better views. I saw an image today that someone put together of a JLS ballpark with the centerfield view pointing directly toward the downtown skyline. One could imagine that views from the upper deck of the RF side would be that of downtown SF and the bridge; from LF it would be the Oakland hills. Lastly, again if it’s planned properly, the location itself perhaps would offer the amenities, like bars, clubs, restaurants, shopping, etc. Not sure if I can post a picture of this JLS illustration but it does look cool.

  22. would like to see it too. i remember it was posted here a few years ago how a park location in or around jls would look like but without the details explained above.

  23. GoAs, I was not aware that Oakland had the team. The team belongs to Wolff/Fisher, and they’ve said categorically for six years now, “It can’t be Oakland.” And I doubt you’re incapable of reading between the lines to know it is was anything more than code speak for that same thing prior. I don’t know what you gain from pretending otherwise.

  24. @tsp- and the gints and lb have said n to SJ for many more years than that- and did that stop them from moving forward? Nothing but excuses and finger pointing by the city that has screwed over the A’s consistently- it isn’t Schott’s or LW fault- it’s bumbling Oakland politicians who have never given a rats ass about the A’s- and still have no plan in place– and still no preferred site- wtf???

  25. @tps, I think you missed my point. This conflict between the A’s and Oakland/Alameda has been going on since 1968. My point, and perhaps not clearly articulated, was I question the sincerity and commitment of this coalition. After all these years they show up now, when it appears San Jose is in play? Again, where was this commitment from this business coalition when the A’s were winning or when the A’s were off to Fremont? And what kind of commitment have they really made?

    Naming rights at 120 million and construction through PSL at 200 million. That’s 320 million from corporate money. And these guys bring less than 1% to the table as a sign of good faith? I had to more than that percentage on my home as a sign of good faith. Someone can correct my math but the point is made. These move by Knauss and Oakland is just more smoke and mirrors stuff that is even evident in the article you link.

  26. @Columbo – I think I’ve seen this somewhere. I can’t remember where.

  27. wow that stadium idea in Oakland looks great!!! I like the name in center field too, “Oakland Tribune Field”…one can dream i suppose. But either way, this whole mess needs to be resolved soon!!! eff the giants (ownership group, not so much the fans.)

  28. @ ML – Thanks for posting it. I’ve seen different renderings over the past few years but today was the first time I saw this one with the skyline in the background.

  29. Could use a little more foul territory.

  30. Looks nice….more work needs to be done to that design, specifically in left field. Love the low fence in right center.

  31. I’m sure the structure would be different, but the views would be pretty awesome.

  32. Home play backstop is too far back as well. I think left field grandstand can be opened up more a bit. The scoreboard takes too much space.

  33. Personally, I would much rather see a ballpark in JLS and than in Victory Court or even Howard.

    At least JLS already has most of the necessary infrastructure/restaurants and bars. Victory and Howard areas would need to be completely redeveloped as would Coliseum City.

    After JLS, Coliseum City should be the 2nd choice for an A’s ballpark in Oakland IMO.

    • @dknight.007 – Where would you place a ballpark in JLS exactly? It’s largely built up. There’s the JLS West site, but that was ruled out a while ago.

      Also, the last thing anyone needs is to bring up all of these old sites that have been killed a long time ago (Uptown, O29). It only causes confusion. The Knauss group is looking at three sites. Let’s stick to that.

      The image on Bruce Wagg’s site is Howard Terminal.

  34. This is how the ballpark in Fremont would have looked like. Love the pool party area on the top in center field:

  35. A swimming pool should never be in a ballpark, IMO. The Giants Corona “beach” area is bad enough.

  36. where would the image of that park above be built at? howard terminal? wouldn’t you want a park near the estuary to actually face the waterfront so intead of looking east the park would be pointed towards southwest.

  37. @ letsgoas – I personally do not think that picture above is HT. The orientation to the Trib Tower is all wrong if it was from that location. I think this artist put this park somewhere either northwest of VC (where I don’t know) or across the estuary in Alameda. I say this because, if you look really closely you can see the entrance to JLS beyond CF. So this image is definitely west of 1st street and possibly across the estuary. I say this because if it is where I think it is, there is currently a marina there and the park would extend at least 50 feet out into the estuary. In theory it would be a great location but, since I’m not an engineer, I have no clue how you would create a “solid ground” over the existing water/marina. I have no clue how deep the water is there. Moreover, I’m not sure how easy it would be to move an entire marina somewhere else plus any businesses in the area. Personally, though, I do like the idea of a CF view toward the skyline with the RF having views of SF/Bridge and LF with views of the skyline and the hills.

  38. you’re right that location is much more south than howard terminal, probably just north of where the ktvu studios are.

  39. @Columbo/letsgoas

    Whoever made that render probably photoshopped their stadium onto a photo similar to this:

  40. I think when Knauss uses the statement the he’s going to “respect the process” in regards to Selig’s panel he’s being disingenuous. This process doesn’t involve public negotiations through third parties, he’s trying to bully his way into the process. That’s fine. His outlining of financing a ballpark in Oakland is not. My biggest fear (outside of the team leaving) is that the A’s become the Pirates of the west, bogged down with a ridiculous mortgage. My “fan experience” is based on a winning product, not wider concourses. I do wonder however, if Mr. Knauss isn’t so much trying to save the A’s for Oakland, as much as marketing himself, his group as future owners of some other pro sports team down the line. What better way to be taken seriously, than having put together a plan to finance a stadium; good plan or not. As far as Selig even giving even one thought about this, and please correct me if I’m wrong here, was it not Bud Selig who told Lew Wolff back in 2008 or so that if Fremont fell through that he should begin discussing ballpark plans with San Jose?

  41. Has anyone asked Knauss etc: Are you prepared to pony up $500 million or more for the team and another $500 million to $700 million to build a ballpark in what Al Davis described as an “economically depressed” area? And to do it with no public funds? If so, let’s see your books and let’s put it in writing. And we want to know which banks have committed to funding this project. If not, step aside.

  42. I was never a fan of the Fremont rendition. That triangle bleacher section just looks weird and my eyes keep getting drawn to it. I like the first drawing. It’s nice to see the skyline and it’s great to see the hills again. Makes me feel like they really did destroy Mt. Davis. For you Oakland folks who have seen the HT site live: Isn’t HT essentially next door to JLS? When I look at the maps that’s the way it looks to me. Where else at or near JLS could they put a stadium? I followed one of the links regarding the troubles with the HT site and after reading it, I’m curious where Knauss plans on getting the money to make that site happen.

  43. @JL – That figures. Not realistic in the slightest. You’d think they’d have popped open Google Earth and put together something like this:

    @pjk – Urban and Lund asked those types of questions in their interview with Knauss. Could you at least listen before going off half-cocked like that?

  44. Oakland Tribune Field? Does whoever made that drawing ot realize how large of an investment aming rights are for a privately financed stadium? Floating in the Estuary? As ML pointed out, they could have just followed our lead and ised Google earth. Good grief get this over with…
    Food for thought…. When Don Knauss (I had no idea that wasn’t a silent k) says it is time for the business community to take a lead, is he not just saying the political leadership in Oakland can’t get it done? Additionally, why does be keep saying he helped get Enron Field built by contributing a naming rights deal when Minute Maid wasn’t a naming rights sponsor until well after the stadium had been rocking and rolling for years? Further, why does be keep throwing out the red herring of the Giants suing MLB? If anyone has a case against MLB, it’s San Jose and a far fetched Anti Trust law suit.
    More chest beating and PR spin from LGO members… Go figure

  45. Mindboggliing that the Knauss group would bank on selling seat licenses after the confirmed disaster the Raiders already had with this. And the Raiders didn’t personally take a bath – the city and county did. This all gets down to Oakland’s “build it on your own dime, your problem if you go bankrupt doing it” plan for the A’s

  46. Mrsteve, the triangle bleachers were an Oakland plan, not Fremont.

  47. SJ has less of a case than the Giants, who are smartly going after the developmental challenges and not the move itself. If San Jose and Wolff “are getting their legal guns ready” as the main blogger on this site claims than its over for SJ. Also unless us as fans are 100% committed to San Jose only we should not be amused with the prospect of an extended legal battle, further sending this franchise into deeper pits of mediocrity. At that point we are no longer fighting for the fans or the team, just John Fisher and Lew’s pocketbooks and real estate dreams. Two things that neither you or I should have any concern about.

  48. @djr- extended legal battle compared to how long it would take Oakland to even have a site ready for construction- legal battle would be over and done well before Oakland has anything real- let’s see- 17 years and counting and still no agreed upon site-

  49. @D Jr – To think that any significant money will have to be shelled out by Wolff/Fisher or even San Jose on the legal pursuit is severely mistaken. Regardless of what anyone thinks the limits of the antitrust exemption are, MLB desperately wants to avoid a legal challenge on any grounds other than labor. Especially if that challenge happens to be filed in the 9th District Court in SF. MLB will settle before it gets to a trial, book it. That is what the nuclear option represents.

    BTW, the Giants’ case has little merit. The EIR has stood for years now. It’s pretty difficult to overcome a certified EIR, especially one that was definitely not rushed as San Jose’s was.

  50. djr, my point was that only one of the interest groups involved in this whole thing really has a case against MLB. That is San Jose. The A’s, the Giants, Oakland and San Francisco don’t have much to get past a summary judgement. It is absurd that Knauss says Oakland’s economic vitality is a red herring in the same breath he trots out a real red herring: the Giants suing MLB.
    As far as fan commitment to SJ. I am committed to either, but i feel that one city and it’s boosters are showing real signs of desperation, and it isn’t San Jose. Unless “shouting outside the walls and hoping someone hears” is not desperate.

  51. SCOTUS now has 3 new justices: Roberts, Thomas and Sotomayo. In the past, SCOTUS has always let Congress handle ATE but MLB don’t know that today. If SJ files a suit, BS will move his azz so fast, it would be hilarious.

    It has been obvious to me what BS wanted to do: delay delay delay and when Lew and Fisher are tired of the whole thing, BS will tell them to sell.

    The G’s have no case against MLB or The A’s. Now we have this guy Knauss out there with his plan and of course we are looking at more delays and bogus plans.

    David Boies is in town for the Oracle/Google battle. I hope Mayor Reed gives him a call.

    I doubt we will see movement unless SJ sues.

  52. @ML/Jeffrey

    I have to admit, it would be one kick-ass view if it were possible. And that Google Earth render you guys made… one of the reasons why I personally favored the JLS West site over the three that were proposed back in ’09. Guess I’m just a sucker for skyline views.

    Funny, we’ve already had one floating stadium proposal (980 Park) thrown out there, anyone up for a floating stadium on the estuary?

  53. The whole Knauss thing is a giant, lame distraction.
    There isn’t enough money to be made that would pay off both 1) the price of acquiring the franchise and 2) the cost of building a new stadium.
    Thank you for your analysis, ML.

  54. @pudgie,

  55. JL, me too. It’s why I have desperately tried to find a reason for a trip to Pittsburgh for the last few years.

  56. re: There isn’t enough money to be made that would pay off both 1) the price of acquiring the franchise and 2) the cost of building a new stadium.
    …that pretty much says it.

  57. @Jeffrey,
    Target Field appears to have a nice skyline view as well. Must be nice…

  58. @eb,
    Scott Ostler and Carl Steward are in dire need of reading this blog (if they find the time to take their heads out of the sand).

  59. OT: Newest A’s fan, Adelaide, born May 3rd, 11:28pm at 20in and 6lbs 15.8oz.

    With her brother Hunter:

  60. I guess img html code doesn’t work:

  61. Great looking kid in a great looking hat. Gratz!

  62. Welcome Adelaide!

  63. I’m confident LS your daughter will one day watch our A’s in a spanking yard right here in the Bay Area.

  64. @LS Congrats! Thanks for sharing.

  65. good to know the fan base is still growing! 😉 congrats!

  66. I know it will be hard.. but Oakland has a long history with baseball.. ever since the early 1900’s with the Oakland oaks. There’s so much history that it would be nice if something could be figured out to keep them in Oakland. I know many people just plain and simple.just hate the city. But the team makes the team not the city. If it is financially possible, all should be done to work out a plan in Oakland.

  67. Matier and Ross say there are THREE potential buyers of the A’s:

    Rally time: The home crowd is definitely turning up the heat on Oakland A’s owners Lew Wolff and John Fisher to keep the team in town – or sell to someone who will.

    There are deep-pocketed investors who are interested. None is willing to be publicly identified just yet, but we’re told one group is based in Oakland, one in the South Bay and the third is from Southern California.

  68. Out of curiosity, is the Al Davis flame still flickering at the Coliseum?

  69. “Matier and Ross say…,” enough said. Someone needs to tell those idiots the A’s aren’t for sale and that Oakland, East Bay biz community have no power to “turn up the heat” on Wolff/A’s. Funny how tps brought this thread full circle with that one. Oh well, going back to positivity…Congrats again LS!

  70. Let’s just have these three groups come forward and put $1.2 billion in escrow to pay for the team and a ballpark. Money talks…

  71. This is what happens thanks to Selig’s inability to make a decision. Sit around and do nothing and allow throngs of outsiders to come in and gum up the process from a PR standpoint. If he tries to approve San Jose now, we’re going to hear “Several groups are ready to build in Oakland!” How many of these groups will be ready to put in writing their commitment to such an endeavor and be willing to put more than $1 billion in escrow to cover the costs? How many will be willing to sacrifice their own personal fortunes? None, I suspect

  72. To PJK:


    People from Oakland – the city where the A’s have played for 44 years – are “outsiders”?

    A’s observer.

  73. Where have these people been for 20 years, if they’re suddenly so concerned about the A’s? Are any of them leasing suites at the Coliseum for A’s games now? I suspect not. I figure once these people get the full price tag on what it’s going to cost to buy the A’s and build a ballpark with no public funding, they will retreat back out of the picture.

  74. @A’s observer,
    Simply put: to little, WAY to late! These folks should have come forward when Uptown was a real possibility. Oh well…

  75. According to San Francisco Business Times by Blanca Torres, Reporter “Clorox, based in Oakland, is one of the Bay Area’s largest public companies with revenue of $5.31 billion in 2011”, Also Oakland is the shipping center of the Norther California. Because Oakland is several hundred miles closer to mainland Asia than Los Angeles/Long Beach, more than half of all the products from Asia imported into the U.S. are shipped into port of Oakland the 5th largest port in the nation, the port best served modes of transportation in the country: Railroads, Highways & proximity to the airport. Oakland is the Bay Area industrial center & one of the 1st places hit hard by “Out Sourcing” in the early 80s. As the county makes an effort to stop out sourcing an make product in the U.S. Oakland is a perfect location for Manufacturing

  76. mr steve: “Where was this coalition when the A’s were winning, in the playoffs and some corporate sponsorship could have really helped? ”
    I realize times are different 20 years later, but remember Lurie was ready to sell the Giants to the people in Florida because he couldn’t sell tickets to Candlestick — even in the flush times of the Al Rosen/Roger Craig years. Imminent loss of the team apparently galvanized the corporate sponsors. I don’t know if something similar is happening now in the East Bay — but it’s possible.
    The weather in Oakland is the key. Hell, that’s why I live here. I guarantee you from April to November the temperature and the wind is always better on the east side of the bay than it is directly across the bay, at China.Basin. Will many people take the ferry from SF to JLSq to see the A’s? Maybe — after all they’ll be playing at home primarily when the Giants are out of town. Baseball fan tourists in SF during such weeks would be attracted to a beautiful new park featuring an exciting team. And I’m sureI some of those people who now get on the ferry at JLSq to go to China Basin will choose to see some games at a new A’s stadium — either instead of, or in addition to, games in SF. The JLSq area (either of the alternatives proposed down there) would be a delightful destination for people who live and work in CoCo County or South Alameda County.
    One minor note, about the fanciful ballpark renderings: A guy who was deeply involved in the legal side of the China Basin ballpark development, throughout the mid to late 90s, told me that an engineer convinced the Giants owners, fairly late in the process, to drastically alter their ballpark plan. He demonstrated to them that a park open to views of the downtown SF skyline would create a wind tunnel nearly as bad as the one at Candlestick. He then convinced them to turn the high walls of the park around, to block the afternoon fog-wind that comes in every day, and to forego the city skyline fantasy. The result still was terrific. It’s a great place to see a game. Simillarly, I think at this point all you can know for sure is that however it gets aligned, a ballpark near JLSq should be terrific, too.

  77. Now we’re having the same old already-studied-and-ruled-out sites brought up yet again: Howard Terminal, Victory Court…
    CFL: Has Clorox come forward ready to buy naming rights for an Oakland ballpark for $120 mill, matching what Cisco would pay in San Jose? Clorox is only offering 40% of tha, figure, no?

  78. @cfl,
    Let’s see Blanca Torres do a report on Cisco and the economy of San Jose/ Silicon Valley. You’ll soon realize why Oakland isn’t happening for a privately financed ballpark.
    That’s some awesome vision for a JLS waterfront ballpark…if it were still 2001. Alas (again), to little, WAY to late for Oakland.
    Enough from me on this thread. I’m out!

  79. I will likely get slammed for this comment. However, in light of the many questions regarding the East Bay’s economic abilities, not just as it pertains to the ballpark but in general, I just wanted to point something out. One caveat is that this report was from 2000 as I couldn’t find anything in this format that was more recent. The MTC did an economic study on the Bay Area and put together a comprehensive 27 page report. I was particularly interested in economic output and found it in their report broken down by the 9 counties into 14 different sectors. The top 5 counties in order (billions of dollars) were: Santa Clara 191.7, Alameda, 136.7, San Francisco 108.5, Contra Costa 87.8, and San Mateo 81.7. Bay Area total was 792.5 billion in economic output. The economic output per capita for the entire Bay Area was $116.8k versus $38.9k for California. If we assume the same growth rate of California from 2000-2010 the economic output per capita of the Bay Area in 2010 would have gone to $159.9k versus $51.0k for California. Whatever side of the aisle you fall into on the ballpark situation, I just wanted to point out that the East Bay is not an economic wasteland like some may believe.

  80. Columbo, the issue isn’t that Oakland (or the east bay) is (in private dollars) broke. It’s that the Giants are easily able to siphon off too much of it from all the surrounding counties because their areas of influence heavily overlap. If the Giants were in SJ (or out of the bay area), building in Oakland would be perfectly viable.

  81. Just one more thing. To put this into perspective, if we took the numbers in the previous post, calculated an estimate of the present day, and compared them to countries here’s what we’d have: In the top 50 countries in the world in output as of 2011, California would be #8, the Bay Area would be #14, Santa Clara County would be #36, Alameda County would be #49, and SF would be in the low 50’s. We live in a very vibrant, successful area.

  82. @ dmoas – I do realize the geographical argument as well and I meant to put in my post that I was merely attempting to point out the economic vibrancy of the East Bay. Nor was I attempting to compare the East Bay to the South Bay’s economic strength because as I showed the South Bay has the greatest output in our area. This was intended to quell any misunderstanding people unfamiliar with the East Bay may have about the area’s economy. After all, since this whole ballpark saga began long ago, it has been argued that the East Bay is economically challenged.

  83. townsend said it on fri that the plan the business leaders want to follow for an park in oakland for the a’s is what sf did when they built at&t but townsend said that’s not happening due to sf having 3 banks giving them loans because they have sj in their “territory” and the a’s with just only two counties out of the 7 that make up the bay area just don’t have that advantage.

  84. @ letsgoas – It would definitely be more of a challenge today than it was for the Giants at that time. As the article said they were “lucky” with their timing and you couldn’t do that today in Milwaukee or Cincinnati. In fact, the economic output of those 2 metro areas is 85b and 100b respectively so I definitely agree that it couldn’t be done there today. The output of the Bay Area would be 12-14 times that of Milwaukee or Cincinnati. By my rough estimates, based on the Giants model, it would take about a $240-$260m bank loan; a lot of scratch. We would at least need $100m for committed seat licenses and another $140 or more for naming rights/sponsorships, etc. Not to mention possibly another $150m or more from some other source for prep work. That’s a huge amount of dough. Impossible? IMHO, no. Challenging? Extremely.

  85. We know why people like Tony D and others don’t want A’s,Raiders or Warriors in oakland……do I need to say it?….they’ll never go to SJ. Lew Wolff was the same punk who tried to move the Warriors to the non basketball city(like SF) of San jose. When it didn’t go through in the 80s what did that scumfk do? Sell sell sell baby.

    Won’t be any different this time. Oakland is on the rise as a city and anyone with eyes can see that. All 3 teams will stay in Oakland and in 2020 when Super Bowl,Mlb All Star,Nba All star and NcAA Final Four choose the 510 as their venue you haters will shut up and cry forever about the city full of “minorities” being on the come up.

    Yes that’s exactly what a lot of this boils down too. You can only hide yourselves for so long no matter how much you deny it

  86. Finally, the race card.

  87. Finally, someone with a coherent argument. Looking forward to 2020… how about that Brandon Inge?!!!

  88. The Giants got everything secured in a time where loans were flying everywhere for commercial businesses. Even more so than during 2001-2008 because of the technology sector in the general area booming on on smoke and not real ideas.

    The Giants are correct they could not pull of a privately financed ballpark in San Francisco in this day and age. They would be asking the citizens of San Francisco for some sort of public subsidy to get it done.

    Land in SF in this day and age costs a lot of money and to build does as well….700M price tag for the Warriors on Pier 30 says it all. If an arena would cost 700M in SF, what would ATT Park cost in this day and age?

    The Giants debt service would run so high they would turn to San Jose in a heartbeat themselves.

    That brings me to my next point, if San Francisco would have a hard building privately how in Bud Selig’s wildest dreams could he nor anyone expect the A’s to build privately in Oakland with sites that have been eliminated years ago? This plus the Giants 12 miles away having already cannibalized the sponsors and affluent fans?

    Howard Terminal was eliminated years ago as from what Wolff stated in an interview there is a sewer line below the area that cannot be moved. Victory Court, Oakland just eliminated on their own as 250M just to say hello makes no sense and they saw that…. The Coliseum even Knauss says is not preferable.

    At the end of the day, there is only once site that is ready to build that can secure financing and sponsors in the Bay Area….San Jose CA.

    Bud Selig knows this and the BRC knows this hence why they do not release their findings to the public with good reason.

    They do not want everyone to see the flaws in their system and how they have screwed the A’s over while favoring the Giants in every way.

    If Oakland had any kind of feasibility Selig and the BRC would have gone to Wolff and instructed him to try.

    But why have they not? It is because they know Oakland is not viable and they have done the research and know San Jose is the only way.

    Selig thought when he appointed the BRC that Wolff may have missed something but his worst nightmare came true….Wolff missed ZERO when it came to the East Bay.

    Now Selig is trying to get the two teams to agree when he has to himself has to do what is right but at the same what is tough and fair for baseball.

    The A’s have to get to San Jose or they are done in the Bay Area, if there was another alternative of any kind even relocation to another city Selig would do it, do not doubt it.

    Selig gets this done, how long? Who knows, if he does nothing after this year you will start to see Wolff and San Jose start doing some crazy things…

  89. It’s an interesting point- it would have made things a lot easier for Bud Selig if the BRC had found an viable spot in the East Bay to build a ball park. Then he could have taken the Giants side and said SJ was off limits- build where I showed you in the East Bay. And most likely, we would have heard about this location at some point. Money no object I wanted my Victory Court waterfront BP, but maybe that’s not realistic, not even as a backup plan.

  90. YeahYeah the truth card is what some hate….considering Oakland’s history we know why a lot of people truly hate the area with unrivaled passion. “Thug”, “Slum” and `ghetto” always attach to Oakland….gee I wonder why. Compared to many areas in USA that is a joke

  91. It must suck to that cynical and delusional all at once.

  92. Best case scenario from where I stand:
    Raiders announce tomorrow that they are going to partner with the 49ers to build the new stadium in Santa Clara.
    JPA works with Athletics to convert Coliseum into baseball only venue.
    As was hinted by McGowen and his buddy from JP Morgan, I don’t think there is enough money to be made anywhere in the Bay Area to pay off a stadium debt of $500 million (before interest) in the current economy.
    The most pragmatic move for the franchise (and for the fans), would be to stay at the Coliseum and renovate.
    So, in a weird way, I actually think Knauss is valid in suggesting that Oakland is the best place for the team to play . . . but the notion of building a privately financed stadium in Oakland is just ludicrous.

  93. Interesting idea. Coliseum City is a stretch, so I follow the logic. You are still playing in the shadow of AT&T in not the best baseball only destination, but if you could do it cheap, maybe it would be worth it. The problem is, from a structural standpoint, I don’t see how. It was always easier to do the opposite- turn it into a football only venue. After all, Mt. Davis is fairly new and looks like half a football stadium already. But you want to tear down Mt. Davis, and try to update the really old part of the Coliseum. I don’t even know if that is possible without some major work.

  94. Raiders leave and the Coliseum is renovated into a better baseball venue? That really is the first Oakland plan that has some grasp on reality. It would be interesting to see what the cost of renovating the Coliseum would be. However, it doesn’t address several issues. 1, Who pays for the 200million renovation cost (just a guess). 2, the immediate area around the coliseum is not going to help in drawing fans. 3, serious doubt would remain that a renovated Coliseum would dramatically improve the A’s attendance. 4, it does nothing to change the fact that big corporate dollars are just not there in sufficient quantity.
    +I disagree that no where in the Bay Area can a privately financed stadium work.
    +The renovated coliseum plan may not be attractive enough to become reality but at least it isn’t a foolish political hot air.

  95. Peter McGowan is not exactly a beacon of objectivity on the subject. It isn’t up to him to privately finance anything and it is in his interest to cast doubt that it can be done.
    There is plenty of capital in the Bay Area to privately finance a stadium. The trouble is that most of it is concentrated in the South Bay and most of the folks who control it signed a letter to Bud Selig asking him to move the team.
    Don Knauss and crew have taken the wrong tact from the start. Expecting MLB to be impressed with an escrow account that had $500k in it (he says $1M now, but it was widely reported as $500k 2 years ago) when that was less than 1% of the construction costs seems foolhardy.
    But, it was their strategy to convince MLB that there was an ownership problem that led to a revenue problem rather than a weak market. I am still baffled that LGO and crew hasn’t done more to show that there is a better market that Lew is ignoring… Why not get the facebook group to actually matter? Why not buy tickets now? Why not host corporate events at the Coliseum and make a big show of it?
    In reality, I think this “announcement” is counter productive. It signals that the business community isn’t on board with Coliseum City, at least as it relates to the A’s. This reaffirms one of Lew Wolff’s talking points “There is no site.”

  96. @Jeffro – How much money did Cisco, or the SVLG put in escrow? Its hard to keep up with all the details.
    Also, as a show of good faith – couldn’t Cisco and SVLG buy tickets, or host a corporate event right now too? They could buy a whole section of tickets and have a bunch of signs praising Lew Wolff. Here’s one for them: “Quan lied, she never tried”.

  97. As an Athletics fan, I am not sure how comfortable I am with the thought of the franchise taking on the huge risks of financing a new stadium, even if it is located in San Jose.
    The Giants were able to do it successfully, but there have been many more failures:
    Target Center
    Rose Garden
    Joe Robbie Stadium (in part due to estate taxes after Robbie’s death)
    Nationwide Arena, Columbus
    Citi Field?
    California Memorial Stadium (renovation)?

    The A’s success in San Jose in not a slam dunk, by any means, and they would be assuming all of the risk on their own.

  98. Pudgie,

    Not quite sure about your failures list. Cal Memorial Stadium wasn’t funded by a franchise (or even privately) nor is it even complete so I don’t know how you could term it a failure yet. Citi Field was about 50% publicly financed so again not funded entirely by the franchise nor has it been a failure (remember Wilpon lost his money to Madoff not because of the ballpark). Skydome was also funded majority via public funding and was a technical masterpiece on opening and has remained a decent if aging stadium that hasn’t harmed its franchise in the slightest. Not sure why you’d consider Joe Robbie Stadium a failure either, as it is largely the basis for every football stadium built since it opened and is still a great venue entering it’s 25th season.

  99. David: You can keep pretending Oakland is as economically viable as the South Bay. I wish it was. But reality says otherwise. Cisco has a signed deal for $120 million, more than twice what Clorox supposedly says it would pay. Who makes up the difference? A’s owners out of their personal fortunes, of course..

  100. pjk – I am a proud Californian. I have nothing against Redding, Eureka, Sacramento, San Jose, Turlock, or San Diego. I also am proud of Silicon Valley. Sure there’s more fortune 500 companies in SJ. I wish them all – continued prosperity. I just want the A’s to remain in Oakland. The richest guy doesn’t always get the prettiest girl. When the Expos moved to Washington, why didn’t they go to SJ? There’s more to it, then just setting up shop next to the wealthiest zip codes, imo.

  101. Why didn’t the Expos go to San Jose? That’s a peculiar question. Maybe because there’s already two teams in the Bay Area and DC had been clamoring to get a team back for 35 years and was willing to spend public funds on a ballpark? Oakland is unwilling to spend any funds on a ballpark and doesn’t pencil out as a place to privately finance a ballpark. In these days of tight, tight money, which banks are going to risk $500 million on such a venture in a place with a history of poor corporate and fan support? And with fierce competition 12 miles away? None….

  102. Wow David, how easily you forget Cisco has already pledged 120M in naming rights while there has not been any Oakland business to pledge anything near the sort.

    These people like Knauss, Quan, and other Pro-Oakland people do not understand the issue at stake here.

    Economic viability is only a piece of the bigger problem.

    I ask, what is the bigger issue here? The answer is a viable site that can actually be built upon regardless of financing or who pays for it.

    The East Bay (not just Oakland) has zero viable sites, that was the job of the BRC to confirm what Wolff has been saying all along that zero viable sites exist in the East Bay.

    You can sit there and say Victory Court, Howard Terminal, or even the Coliseum would work but in reality if any of those sites could work the BRC would have instructed Wolff to turn around and try.

    Pro-Oakland people are the worst when it comes to realism and hard facts.

    Wolff did try in the East Bay, he tried for years even when he worked for Schott and Hoffman who sold the team because they felt a new ballpark would never occur in the East Bay and the Giants would never let them into San Jose.

    Wolff took the team on thinking he was more creative than Schott and Hoffman because of his real estate background but in the end the recession killed that creativity in Fremont and he lost 24M doing so.

    In the end San Jose is the only way, if not for the Giants the A’s would have been in the South Bay years ago…..Selig is a coward and a lawsuit will occur from San Jose if this is not resolved this year.

  103. Hey David, I don’t think an escrow account is really important. Oakland boosters are trying to fight the perception that there is not enough corporate support in Oakland and their tact was to create an escrow account and show that they could sell 34 luxury boxes. I think they thought that having an escrow account would show that, and it may well show that there is enough support for 34 luxury boxes. That is just a small part of a larger financing picture… There is a reason the escrow account (as per Don Knauss) was ignored. It didn’t paint the picture that LGO thought it did.
    San Jose is trying to show that they are the better place for a privately financed stadium. Hell, they are trying to show that San Jose is the only place it can happen. It doesn’t help the SVLG to host events in Oakland. Especially if they are saying “build it in San Jose.”
    In the end, I don’t care who is right… Just get it done. If it has to be in Oakland and with new owners, let’s do it. If it can be done in San Jose (as seems to be MLB’s current process based on Bud Selig’s recent comments) then get on with it.
    In a way, the Knauss thing is good news for all of us because it means relocation out of market is even less likely. Of course, if MLB wants the A’s to move to an inferior market like San Antonio (I was just there this week and I can’t imagine that market supporting MLB over the long haul) what we want really doesn’t matter.

  104. …if San Antonio or Portland, whatever, comes up with a publicly funded ballpark, which won’t happen in either San Jose or Oakland, the A’s are gone. MLB likes publicly funded balllparks.

  105. I don’t know that there would be much support from MLB for the A’s leaving the Bay Area, EVEN IF a small-market like Portland or San Antonio put together a publicly financed project. I think ALL the NL West teams would instantly knee-jerk oppose it, along with many other clubs, for creating the largest one-team metro area in baseball. Even with the A’s measly 15,000 per game attendance (in a crappy old yard with a losing team that’s trying to move), that’s a lot to be gifted to a franchise that’s already doing pretty well. Will the other owners be happy to see the Giants add that much to their bottom line, in order to gain another small-market for them to worry about?

  106. @ TPS/David/Eb/Columbo – given that Oakland’s “white knight” Don Knauss is now publicly endorsing a PSL plan to play for the stadium. I am curious if you agree with this strategy and for the city/county to be on the hook if it does’t work out (a la the Raiders)?!

  107. doesn’t Wolff’s SJ “plan” involve PSL’s?

  108. @David – No. That fact is in the original post. I’d like to hear what support there is for PSLs in Oakland.

    @Anon – The city/county can’t be “on the hook” because they can’t raise money to build a stadium. It would be on the team owners to assume that risk.

  109. So fans used to getting in the ballpark in Oakland for as little as $2 are suddenly going to fork over thousands of dollars for PSLs? Get real. PSLs can only work when there is great demand for seating. I don’t see how it can work for a team known for its vast acreage of empty seats. The Giants got away with it because, well, they’ve always had more fans than the A’s, even when they were stuck in awful Candlestick. Radio and TV ratings always bore this out, I believe…

  110. @ Anon – I’m not sure how to answer that except to say that the businessmen/women who are interested in possibly taking over this venture would look into (if they haven’t already) this very question. I may be incorrect but I’m certain that the Raiders would not be a very good comparison. I say this as an East Bay native and was there when they moved back. Al Davis burned many bridges with fans in the East Bay when he left, especially doing so shortly after winning the Super Bowl against the Eagles and, to this day, I know a great deal of people who have never forgiven him and will never support that organization again. I must add, though, that the animosity has obviously lessened since that time and more and more people have changed their stances. As to PSL’s for the A’s, again, if there are those interested in pursuing options in Oakland like JLS, I would have to assume that these wealthy folks have taken a look at the situation and may feel confident that they have enough commitments to satisfy the answer to your question. I honestly don’t know. For Knauss to go on record and say that there is a group (and I’ve heard of 2 others) that are willing to purchase the A’s and finance a ballpark in Oakland, I have to conclude that it’s either a PR stunt or these people actually believe it can be done, i.e. something was overlooked by the current ownership. What if these people have been gathering corporate support behind the scenes for the past 2 years for commitments to purchase the premium seating? My personal opinion is that, to go on record publicly and say that there are those willing to do this, I have to believe it’s one of two things: 1) It’s all a bunch of BS to delay an end to this whole mess (SF Giants conspiracy), or 2) Some wealthy people believe they can turn the franchise around without having to move out of the East Bay and have concluded this from their own due diligence. It has to be one of those 2 things in my mind. Wealthy people don’t become wealthy by making rash decisions without proper investigation. Assuming #2 is true, I find it extremely unlikely that this group of investors didn’t run the numbers over and again, along with gaining the proper support for a privately financed ballpark, and make their conclusion public via Knauss. Without discounting the appropriate questions posed by pjk and others regarding “how” this whole thing will be financed in Oakland, what I’m trying to say is that it appears someone thinks it can work out profitably, preferably in a downtown location and secondarily at the present site. Of course, if #1 is true, then it’s all BS.

  111. re: As to PSL’s for the A’s, again, if there are those interested in pursuing options in Oakland like JLS, I would have to assume that these wealthy folks have taken a look at the situation and may feel confident that they have enough commitments to satisfy the answer to your question.

    ..I’ll bet it’s more a case of brainstorming than actual investigation that has led to proposing PSLs for an Oakland ballpark. A “Hail Mary” pass for stadium financing.

  112. I agree with TPS on relocation. Not the Giants spite part of it, but because MLB and it’s owners won’t want to have a new Milwaukee, Kansas City, Cincinnati, Tampa Bay, etc. Those are the markets that are comparable to Portland, San Antonio, Sacramento, etc. when looking at things like Median Income, Population, Media Market size…

  113. As far as PSL’s go… I would consider it. But I don’t know many other people that would. Though, from what I understand the 49ers are doing fine with their PSL sales (which may actually be bad for the A’s, considering some of those folks would need to be courted to buy PSL’s in an Oakland plan as well).

  114. @ pjk – And that’s where we differ. And that’s o.k., by the way. That’s the fun of debating. You believe they haven’t done their due diligence, which is a very real, and likely possibility. I’m kind of a glass-half-full kind of guy and think they might have looked into it pretty well before going public. Again, going public is the big thing for me. Why? What if Wolff called their bluff and said, “O.k., we’re selling. Go ahead and buy it today.” If what you’re saying is true (which I’m not disputing it could be), then this group would be shitting their pants, right? Assuming no due diligence was completed. “Oh, crap, we now have no choice but to buy this team and we have no idea if it will work out.” But it seems to me that someone does think it can work. Again, I could be wrong but, by going public, it kind of paints them into a corner that they now have to honor. Speaking as a non-billionaire, if I were a wealthy, potential-A’s owner, I’m not sure if I would go public with such an announcement unless I was 100% convinced this thing would work. Then again, these ultra-weathly types march to a different drum so you never know. It could be a “hail mary.”

  115. Columbo, I’d only point out that Don Knauss said they were going public because they have been ignored by MLB for 2.5 years and he was alarmed that there was talk of resolution at the coming owner’s meeting. That doesn’t mean they haven’t researched things, but I am pretty sure they would have to reach out to the fanbase to know what our appetite is for PSL’s in one way or another. I don’t know a soul that has been contacted by anyone representing the A’s or the City of Oakland on the topic of PSL’s.
    Clearly, Knauss avoided the topic of specifics. None of us know why. It could be that there aren’t any. I am usually a glass half full kind of guy myself, but in this case I am not so sure. Considering that Knauss, in his interviews, gave the opposite of an endorsement for the current Oakland plan by mentioning that the business leaders want a downtown park.
    I think most people who share my opinion that “anywhere in the Bay Area” is fine don’t doubt that Knauss and crew could find a way to make a team purchase happen. We doubt that Oakland’s political leadership can make it happen.
    The one person I have ever talked with from Oakland that gave me any hope that something could happen there was Doug Boxer. Not because he is a Senator’s son, or even that he was on the Planning Commission at the time, but because he struck me as a real A’s fan that happened to be on the Planning Commission and he was realistic about what it would take to get the thing done.
    I hope he isn’t disengaged at this point (I haven’t really talked with him in a long time). I hope that business leaders from LGO stepping up means a change in strategy. It’s not like Mayor Quan has inspired much confidence on any issue so far, maybe a different public face and really open dialogue is all Oakland needs to make something happen.

  116. @ ML – Point taken about a Raider-esque PSL deal.

    @ David – Waiting….

    @ Columbo – I understand all those scenarios you highlighted about any potential owner researching it, but the question remains: Would you support a PSL plan yourself and all the associated risks with it? FWIW – I have faith in LW that he also has looked at this avenue since he developed financing plans for the defunct Femont ballpark village. In all honesty, what does Don K. and his “ownership group” have really to lose if they’re called out on it? If it’s impractical as most say it is, then he can always say he doesn’t have the actual ST data or whatever. It’s not like the people of Oakland will suddenly boot him out of office….

  117. @ Jeffrey & Anon – I’m with my two boys at jiu-jitsu class. I’ll respond later on.

  118. “Clearly, Wolff avoided the topic of specifics. None of us know why. It could be that there aren’t any. I am usually a glass half full kind of guy myself, but in this case I am not so sure.”

  119. works both ways. I have never seen a funding plan for any of Wolff’s ideas. Just talk and pretty pictures.

  120. @D Jr – All we have to go on is track record. Wolff and Fisher bought the A’s for $180 million without incurring significant debt and breezing through the vetting process. They ponied up $30 million for land in Fremont and millions more on studies in Fremont, Oakland, and probably San Jose. That gives them a track record that, while not unassailable, is also difficult to dismiss. Compare that to what various parties in Oakland have “proposed”.

    Wolff was ready to start building in San Jose at least two years ago, and in Fremont five years ago. I don’t think he gets to either point without an ongoing dialogue and activity regarding the financing part.

  121. David, I think the A’s move to SJ is a great idea. However, I think your honesty is refreshing. You recognize some benefits to SJ but are a loyal City of Oakland fan and would like the A’s to remain part of that. I respect that and understand why you would think that way (even if I don’t agree with the A’s staying in Oakland).
    I wish more ‘Oakland Only’ posters could be this refreshingly honest about their position. Kudos to you….

  122. d jr- Wolff DID outline a plan for both Oakland and Fremont. People just choose to ignore it. In both cases he proposed purchasing land zoned for industrial use and then having the land rezoned residential. He would then have sold a portion of the land to residential developers and used the proceeds to fund a portion of construction. Additionally there would be naming rights (in Fremont’s case, no sponsor was ever publicized for Oakland), pouring rights, presales of suites and seats.
    He’s sort of lucky it got derailed in both cases, because we all saw what happened to the residential real estate market. Of course, everyone who assails him now for wanting to build in San Jose called this a “land grab” instead of looking at it as an alternative to public bonds, but hey whatever.

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