Mayor Johnson press conference (updated with reactions)

Notes coming shortly.


The mayor’s message here is if Oakland or San Jose don’t work out, Sacramento would make a great Plan C.

Additional notes:

  • This is the start of a 10-12 week exploratory process. No public dollars will be spent on any studies. It is assumed that Think Big Sacramento would pick up the tab. The process could end sooner than the 10-12 weeks if MLB says it’s not interested. This exploratory study would not include an EIR.
  • There may be discussions about bringing in other sports (NHL, MLS) but baseball’s considered the clearest path at this point due to the A’s situation.
  • West Sacramento and Raley Field are being considered, though the financial and political calculation there is unknown. The $255 million “pledged” for the Kings arena was brought up but not addressed directly. Per Think Big’s mission, this is very much a regional effort.
  • The last year negotiating with the NBA and the Kings has left the public and the media very jaded and skeptical. There were one or two questions about whether the public can go through this process again.
  • Kevin McClatchy, who is on board as an informal advisor, is not interested in owning the A’s. He’s there as a resident with unique insight as a former owner.
  • No formal requests or meetings have been requested with MLB or A’s ownership. There has been a long history of trying to bring a team to town, mostly dating back to Gregg Lukenbill’s efforts in the late 80’s.
  • Mayor Johnson was very respectful of what Oakland and San Jose are doing currently and clearly didn’t want to denounce or belittle their efforts.
  • There was a question about whether or not this move was gamesmanship targeted at he Kings and the NBA. Johnson denied that.

More as it comes.

Now word has come in from Lew Wolff via the Chronicle’s Susan Slusser: The A’s aren’t leaving the two-team Bay Area market.

Added 8:46 PM – West Sacramento Mayor Mike McGowan isn’t pleased with how Johnson and Think Big have handled this new exercise. McGowan was only notified Sunday night of the press conference. He also believes that Sacramento can’t support a MLB franchise.

41 thoughts on “Mayor Johnson press conference (updated with reactions)

  1. Can’t wait to hear Mayor Quan’s response: Maybe she can ask her heroes the SF Giants to help her out here and come up with a plan to get a new ballpark for the A’s in Oakland.

  2. re: The mayor’s message here is if Oakland or San Jose don’t work out, Sacramento would make a great Plan C.
    ..and Johnson knows: a: San Jose is banned from having Major League Baseball and, b. Nobody is beating down the door to spend $1 billion to buy the A’s and build them a new ballpark in Oakland. He’s being polite here but he knows the score

  3. As much as I would love the A’s to be in Sacramento, (which is closer to me than Oak or SJ) I don’t think it’s best for the franchise or MLB. San Jose is by far the best option.

  4. I’m confused. Sac couldn’t get a venue for the Kings but it thinks it can for the A’s? Are all the polis in Sacto this dillusional these days?!

  5. I think this could be Sacramento using the A’s as leverage against the Kings, whereas it could also be used by the A’s as leverage against Oakland’s strategy of waiting until SJ fails.

  6. Anon, the polls in Sac GOT an arena for the Kings. They offered to pay $250 million of the arena’s price tag. The Maloofs were only being asked to pay around $75 million dollars privately to complete the funding and they initially agreed only to pull out. They Maloofs balked despite the fact it was one of the best public financing deals an NBA team has been offered in the last 30 years. The Maloofs turned it down because they’re out of money, they blew their father’s entire fortune in 20 years which is why they now only own 2% of the Palms, lost their beer distributorship, only field a team that is a few dollars above the NBA league minimum and their sister got kicked off her reality show. They’re a family of morons. The failure of the Sac arena had nothing to do with the city and everything to do with the worst sports owners in the NBA or any other league.
    By the way that’s the same $250 million their now offering the A’s. Which would still be more than 50% of the cost of a ballpark. Again a nearly unheard of amount in the modern day, particularly in California.

  7. I have to give credit to Lew Wolf. Per Slusser’s twitter post, he’s very direct on his intentions. The man wants to see this through.

  8. this is a joke. sacramento wont get a MLB team.i hope they keep the kings especially if it means they wont get an MLB team but overall i think the kings move out and no one moves in. i would love to see the OAKLAND KINGS unless SAN JOSE gets the grizzlies in 10 years

  9. Oakland isn’t getting an NBA team if the Warriors leave. The Warriors will do everything in their power to block it. That and Seattle is way ahead of them in line with an owner lined up and a pending arena plan.
    As for the Sac baseball plan. Wolff has come out with his requisite denials as you’d expect he would. He’s be suicidal to say they were interested in Sac while in the middle of negotiations with the Giants, San Jose and MLB. But what was interesting from the article that posted his denial in the SJ Murky News was that MLB’s denial included the line that the BRC is STILL working on the issue. WTF are they still working on? It’s been 1212 days! I could have traveled to Mars and back twice in that time using conventional rocket technology.

  10. I think someone should replace “mayor KJ” plaque with “Im running for gov KJ” plaque

  11. Someone should replace Quan’s plaque with “I’m trying to hold onto the teams just long enough to keep the Oakland residents thinking I’m trying just long enough to get another term as Mayor” plaque.

  12. @susanslusser Lew Wolff on reports Sacramento targeting ‪#Athletics‬: “We have no interest in leaving our two-team market. Our only focus is on San Jose.” 11:55 today, 7/9

  13. Before I even got to the update from Sutter, my first thought as I read the article was ‘LW is going to SJ. People, give it up’, LW has been 100%. He has been unwavering. His plan A is SJ. His plan B is SJ. He has no plan C. There is no mystery here, LW knows the A’s will become a MLB player if they can call SJ home. Even for those anti LW folks, you have to give him credit for his determination in the face of significant obstacles.
    With that said I think this is a heady move by SAC. They have money, they have the foundation of a plan, they have public support, they appear to have some big SAC players publicly on board. While SAC knows SJ is the plan, they are positioning themselves as a ready made, tangible alternative if MLB gives a thumbs down to the A’s. Hello JQ/Oakland!! SAC is showing you how its done (and showing you up!).

  14. @ Dan – I understand the the situation with the Maloofs (thanks for the quick review), however I don’t see that correlating with a large endeavor as a baseball stadium One, its cost is almost 4X as much. Two, what would happen with the Rivercats and their renovated stadium? And three, it just doesn’t make economic sense for the A’s both from a market and revenue standpoint.

    p.s. i love how LW clearly stated it was a 2 team market!

  15. Anon, Actually the stadium would only be approximately 150 million more than the arena. And with Sac providing 50% or more of the cost it would only require Wolff providing $200-250 mil vs $450-500 as in Oakland should SJ fail. So it wouldn’t be 4x as much, rather it would be far less than 2x. As for the Rivercats, they’d have to move and be compensated, which like the SJ Giants is small potatoes. Third staying in Oakland makes even less sense given its history.

  16. Great to see Wolff delivering a consistent message, after the Fremont to San Jose switch left everyone confused….I’ve found over the years that constancy of purpose is the most important factor in success.

  17. @ Dan – thanks for the clarification. How did you get the $150 million figure? I would surmise that given the spare usage of a baseball stadium vs. an arena, the delta between the costs (and what the public would pay over the course of duration of its history) would be much greater.

  18. Anon, considering an arena in Sacramento doesn’t get substantially more usage than the 81 games a baseball stadium holds I wouldn’t make that assumption. Arco is actually dark most nights beyond the 41 games the Kings play there. Just looking at their schedule they only have about 3 non-Kings events a month there (6 if you count multiple shows of say circuses) which comes out to about 72 events that aren’t the Kings plus the Kings 41 games. Now a new arena would do better, but I doubt it would be much better given that it would just be taking the place of Arco. A ballpark of course has 81 games and in a climate like Sac’s would undoubtedly hold a fair number of non-baseball events as well. So for the public contribution they’d be in the ballpark so to speak with either venue.

  19. The A’s stand a better chance of staying in Oakland than moving to Sac, San Antonio, Honolulu, etc. – these small market cities cannot support an MLB team enough to make it competitive with the large market teams. Also, pjk is guilty of wishful thinking. The A’s don’t even need an MLB vote for the San Jose move. The Tampa Bay owners group successfully beat the ATE in court and were promptly awarded the Rays franchise by Selig. Lew Wolff, who is hesistant to sue MLB, could pull an Al Davis move – sue MLB and move the team to San Jose.

  20. Frankly I’d be pissed if I were West Sacto too. They have a good thing going with the RiverCats at Raley Field. And on top of that from what you said about the presser Johnson was talking about the potential for doing things on the other side of the river too which isn’t exactly cool when you’ve not discussed it with the actual administrators of that area. If the A’s come in to Sacramento, West Sacramento would be the big losers in the whole proposition and to be taken by surprise like that would irk anyone.

  21. @Chi – Sacramento had its shot 20 years ago. I wrote about it in March. There’s no money for that these days – that’s also the problem with Coliseum City.

  22. Maybe KJ should turn his attention to the Raiders.

  23. hecanfoos, you are probably jesting, but you’d not be entirely wrong. NFL teams in particular occupy several smaller markets (by both real and media population) like Indy, Jacksonville, Buffalo, Green Bay, New Orleans, Charlotte and Memphis that a league like MLB has ignored (to say nothing of the NFL metro areas with one or both measures smaller than Sac that MLB does have teams in like St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and San Diego (all of which have the added handicap of being multi-sport towns)). Sac’s metro area being larger by both measures than all of those metro areas I listed. Sac would actually fit quite well into the NFL’s “smaller towns” mentality given that TV money is the real driver to them once the stadium is built.

  24. Dan, the one thing you leave out of your assessment is proximity to a top 5 media market. If SAC was more geographically isolated, it really should get more interest from pro league franchises. But with SAC only 70+ miles from being in the thick of the Bay Area, my guess is it hurts their pro franchise opportunities. Jacksonville, Buffalo, Charlotte, Pittsburgh among others are significantly further from any top 5 media market. You can draw a bigger circle on the map around these cities and they still remain the center of the media world. Unfortunately for SAC, their circle too quickly envelops a top 5 media market.

  25. re: Wolff is telling us that with a new ballpark free agents are going to consider the A’s all of a sudden?


  26. Well, at least KJ didn’t put on a cheesy green-and-gold hat and state, “Sacramento is ready to play ball”, like Joe Serna did back in the day. Other than that, this presser was a complete waste of everybody’s time, except that it royally pissed off the pols in West Sacramento, who seem to know a thing or two about getting things built.
    @chi – the only way the “Coliseum City” thing gets built out up here is if Sacramento commits to the existing Arco Park site and framework, which would mean the railyards are out, and most of the political impetus of the deal will go with it. Not to mention involving the Maloof family, who are about as radioactive a group of people as you can possibly find in Sacramento right now.

  27. @ Dan – Things must of changed drastically since I last went to Arco arena about 15-20 years ago. Back then, it was the place to be for NorCal car shows and events. I’m a bit confused by your statements though. On one hand, you noted that if the A’s moved to Sacto, the RiverCats would just “move and be compensated”, then you noted how pissed you’d be for W. Sacto with how good Raley Field has been doing? As popular as the little Gnats are in SJ, I don’t think it’s anything compared to the RiverCats (they are the #1 drawing team in all of MiLB). Anyhow, it’s a moot point since the A’s are staying in the BA anyhow. 😉

  28. @ Chi – Unfortunately, they can only improve on their present standing as the most undesired team to play for according to a recent MLB poll:

    1. Oakland A’s (19%)

    2. Toronto Blue Jays (10%)

    3. Kansas City Royals (9%)

    Who could blame them for not wanting to play in a “depressed area”? Only way the A’s can compete for FAs is to overpay for their services.

  29. The response on this blog to Sacramento’s play is yet again a crystal clear illustration that this site is not a “New A’s ballpark” website but rather an A’s-to-San Jose booster blog.

    Sacramento is a legitimate contender. Without the Kings in town it has the means to support an MLB team, as long as that team is the A’s. Sacramento is basically the far end of the A’s territory. And if they move, they should be able to retain TV rights to Alameda and Contra Costa County. This would be negotiated with the Giants and MLB to settle the northern california rights once and for all. The A’s would not be able to build a stadium there but would keep tv access.

    The existing fanbase is strong in Pleasanton, Concord, etc. People there can get to Sacramento in a hurry – but they may not really know that yet.

    This is why it’s a huge move for Sacramento: The area has largely grown and prospered by getting people from the Bay Area to move there. The future strength of business and corporations in Sacramento also depends on this. The best way to do that is to get Bay Area people to actually GO to Sacramento and do something there. Drawing a couple million East Bay A’s fans to see their team in a new ballpark is a great way to expose that audience to Sacramento itself. Believe me, more than a few people will start thinking about moving up to the valley after their visits.

    What Wolff says is *completely irrelevant* because he’s going to sell the team. Wolff will not move the A’s, but the owners he sells to will. MLB has clearly stated that a new stadium for the A’s is their priority – where it is doesn’t matter much. But there are no good options except for, well, Sacramento, which retains the fanbase in a way that a San Jose move does not (despite what you people keep telling yourselves) without the fight with the Giants that potentially exposes all kinds of territorial rights issues throughout MLB.

    Moving to the South Bay is a corporate money grab. Why should we as fans support or care about that? We shouldn’t. The A’s in Sacramento would be a midsize market. They would have a 2 million metro area all to themselves PLUS a share of the same TV market in Northern California they have now. Plus a shiny new ballpark in downtown, the centerpiece of a development that is the future for Sacramento.

    This has all the makings of a HUGE SUCCESS for all involved and I highly recommend you guys wake up and smell the coffee. West Sacramento, really? Like anybody gives a shit. If West Sac wants to be something they should merge with Sacramento proper.

  30. Anon, they’d move and be compensated because MiLB teams have little say on where MLB teams are located. And yes they’d be pissed about that fact, and who wouldn’t, but they’d also be kicked out regardless of how pissed they are since they’re helpless to stop it beyond making sure they’re paid fair price for the trouble. Really not that confusing at all. Same goes for the SJ Giants. If the A’s tell them to GTFO of SJ, they have to leave. Now in SJ, Wolff has been very accommodating and said the SJ Giants could stay so as not to ruffle any feathers. But in reality if the A’s get approval to move to SJ Wolff could just as easily shut their operation down, pay them off and send them on their merry way.
    As for Arco Arena, the last 15 years haven’t been good to it. Chainlink fences on concourses, crumbling infrastructure, etc… The Maloofs haven’t done much to maintain the place since they started hemorrhaging money and started wanting to leave. Basically the Maloofs have done to Arco what they’ve done to the team as well, run it on the cheap and in doing so they’ve run it into the ground. They’re essentially what many A’s fans wrongly accuse Lew Wolff of being both with the Kings and Arco (excuse me, Power Balance Pavilion, even though Power Balance defaulted and never paid the team for the naming rights)

  31. I don’t know if any of you guys follow sfgate/chronicle writers. This just in from Kansas City:
    “JohnSheaHey I asked Selig what the main hangup is with A’s stadium issue and he said “The main hangup is we don’t have the answers yet.” about 1 minute ago [twitter]
    “JohnSheaHey Wolff and Baer have said it’s in commissioner’s hands, and Selig just agreed.”

  32. Xoot, Selig is making it sound like the BRC is STILL deciding.

  33. @Chi – Why are you entertaining any idea about public funding? If you’re being realistic you should assume that public funding won’t be available.

  34. @Dan – It doesn’t sound that way to me. We know the BRC made a presentation, and Selig just said it was up to him now.

  35. @Chi – Okay. Let’s do a quick exercise. The Raiders stadium will cost $1 billion. How should that be divided among the various parties, public and private?

  36. Clorox as an investor

    wtf?! Clorox is a publicly traded company. That isn’t happening anytime soon. And if you think Don Knauss is your savior, you might want to call him and ask him how his last meeting with LW went….

    Good thing we are here to correct feed the haters

    corrected for you…

  37. Anon, Cisco is a publicly traded company as well.

  38. @ Ted – Do you see Cisco trying to buy a sports team? Investor = owner. Cisco field = Advertiser…. unless you think AT&T owns the Gnats?! 😡

  39. Anon, I missed the part about investing as an owner rather than as a corporate sponsor. My bad.

  40. @ anonanonanon – “The existing fanbase is strong in Pleasanton, Concord, etc. People there can get to Sacramento in a hurry – but they may not really know that yet.” Hmmm…let’s see…7:30 game time, that would possibly mean 5000 or so additional cars traveling 5:30 to 6:00 through the Walnut Creek Y and Cordelia Junction. Yep, that’ll get the fans there in a hurry…

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