Sacramento switches focus from Kings to A’s

With hope fading to keep the Kings in town in spite of an uncooperative Maloof family, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and civic booster group Think Big Sacramento will officially start the process of luring MLB, and particularly the A’s, to the Capitol. The Bee has a report with quotes from the mayor and sports industry experts from Andy Dolich to former Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy, who is acting as an informal advisor to the effort. KFBK’s Rob McAllister tweeted that an announcement will be made tomorrow at 11 AM.

View from the northeast has rail platforms to the right and original train station on the other side of the arena.

The now-dead arena plan always had a stadium or other commercial component as a backup just in case the arena was derailed. The key component remains the same: $250 million in public funds from the sale of future parking revenues. $200k in EIR and other studies were approved by the City Council in April with this in mind. Johnson wants an anchor for the railyards, the 240-acre brownfield north of the train station and downtown proper. The ballpark will cost $500 million, leaving some question as to where the rest would come from. Even if the Kings leaving Sacramento is entirely ownership’s fault, it simply won’t look good that a city with a lone major sports franchise lost said team. MLB isn’t going to provide the money, leaving the rest of the financing on the shoulders of the team – a dicey proposition for a small market. The River Cats have historically been top attendance performers at Raley Field. The revenue demands for the A’s could be 4-6 times what the River Cats are pulling down at Raley, in keeping with higher attendance and premium seating requirements.

Lew Wolff has expressed zero interest in moving the A’s to Sacramento, having noted that he was friends with late River Cats owner Art Savage. They probably shared notes on the viability of Sacramento in the past, and Wolff, knowing that an invasion by the A’s would force Savage’s team to move in kind, probably considered such an effort out of bounds. McClatchy’s an interesting choice as a sounding board in that he’s sort of the perfect guy to be a consigliere here. Sacramento’s a small market with less corporate support than Pittsburgh, and McClatchy notoriously ran the Pirates on the cheap during his entire tenure, despite a brand new, publicly-financed stadium in PNC Park.

The timing of the announcement, just prior to the All Star Game in Kansas City, is designed to get the attention of MLB owners, all of whom are expected to be assembled for the festivities this week.

View of the Sacramento Railyards from the existing Amtrak platform

There’s a bit of a technical issue with the ballpark concept. The rendering near the top of the post shows the arena snugly fitting between the existing rail terminal and the new passenger platforms, which are under construction. The wedge-shaped lot where the arena/ballpark would sit is only around six acres in size. While that’s fine for an arena, it’s too small and compromised for a ballpark. The only way to make a ballpark work might be to build part of it over the new rail platforms, though that could prove costly. The pro-arena/ballpark group obviously prefers a new ballpark to a refurbishment of Raley Field due to the nature of the public financing aspect: Sacramento isn’t going to foot the bill for something happening in West Sacramento. Besides, as I’ve explained before, Raley Field may have been conceived to be easily expandable, but it wasn’t built that way.

It’ll be interesting to see how far this gets and whether this idea gets any traction. There will be many fans and citizens who are interested. Others may want to stick with the Kings until the end and consider the baseball interest a distraction. Whatever the reception, the effort adds yet another wrinkle to the ongoing saga of the A’s quest for a new ballpark.

75 thoughts on “Sacramento switches focus from Kings to A’s

  1. I wouldn’t be surprised if Larry Baer was orchestrating this

  2. Nah. Baer likes things just the way they are – at stalemate. As to the concept of the A’s in Sacto, on its face it makes a bunch of sense. Regrettably, the rush to build out Raley Field with concrete instead of steel will ultimately cost the region the opportunity, as the costs to build a new stadium de novo will be far and away above what the region can afford right now.

  3. I’ll preface this by pointing out I know nothing about West Sacramento’s finances, but could this launch a bidding war with them? I know that Raley isn’t easily (cheaply) expandable, but it would still seem more logical to spend $250-$300 million to make it Major League ready than build a new $500-$600 million stadium, provided of course they could get the city (West Sacramento) involved. And Raley would be pretty obsolete if Sac builds a big park, so if they have the money, maybe they’ll step up.

  4. Sacramento lines up as the first out-of-the-Bay Area suitor for the A’s. There will be many more, for those of you who think the A’s will never leave the Bay Area.

  5. I doubt it Joe. West Sac didn’t build Raley Field in the first place, the owners of the team did. I don’t see West Sac, which frankly is a small town, it’s smaller than Cupertino, having the financial wherewithal to be able to fund a rebuilt of Raley (which ML and others have pointed out many times would really be a whole new ballpark which means it would still cost 450-500 million dollars). If Sac does this they’d be on their own. But despite being a somewhat compromised market (like Oakland) they’re already offering far more of an inducement. 250 million in public funding goes a long way toward overcoming any private financing shortfalls an area like Sac might have. Too bad Oakland wasn’t nearly as proactive or we’d already have a ballpark in the east bay or at least one under construction.

  6. If Sacramento can offer a downtown site and $250 mill toward construction, that would be one downtown site and $250 mill more than Oakland is offering. Oakland’s strategy is to cross its fingers and hope that MLB forces the A’s to stay.

  7. From my house, Sacramento is a 25 minute drive. San Jose? Just under 1 1/2 hours. I like to go to as many A’s games as I can….and yet, for some reason, I’d rather to team relocate to SJ than to Sac.

  8. Johnson is just protecting himself. There is no way the A’s move to Sacramento, better to be in Oakland where you are still in the huge media market. This is a gimmick to get things looking like he is trying everything. It makes most sense for the city to remain a minor league baseball and NBA city if it had that option. So where is Piccinni on this? he is not far from there. Doesn’t seem to have legs

  9. If Sacramento is offering public funds for a brand new ballpark, that gives that city a leg up on both San Jose and Oakland. MLB does not want the A’s playing in a football stadium forever, which is all Oakland really has to offer.

  10. re: better to be in Oakland where you are still in the huge media market.
    …better to be in a huge media market completely dominated by another team than to have a smaller market all to yourself? Giants own the whole Bay Area now. Just check out the Giants souvenir shop in the A’s so-called territory if you want proof.

  11. Anyone wanna throw out any wild guesses as to how much the A’s could get from the Giants to agree to leave the bay area entirely?

  12. Now Oakland can fend off both San Jose AND Sacramento, without Sacto being burdened with the territorial rights nonsense and with Sacto offering a pile of cash for stadium construction. Oakland will have to do better than telling the A’s to build a new ballpark on their own dime in the Coliseum parking lot.

  13. What’s really great is this came out nearly concurrently with the Maloofs publicly telling Sacramento they’re ready to come back to the table, if Sac would like to get bent over and $&%^’ed a fourth time.

  14. Before anyone gets too excited about $250 from the city, it is from future parking revenue. Any city including Oakland and SJ could offer the same, with the team owner paying it back through future parking revenue.

  15. And yet no other city has…

  16. I do not see the A’s in Sacramento for numerous reasons.

    -Sacramento could not get a far cheaper arena done for a team that already exists in their market. What makes anyone think a more expensive and complicated baseball stadium can get done?

    -The A’s moving to Sacramento would change the TV boundaries big time. Right now both teams share the entire Bay Area, Central Valley, Nor Cal and Northern Nevada areas. The A’s in Sacramento would force the Giants to only have the Bay Area thus limiting a key revenue stream for them.

    In San Jose, the TV would remain shared throughout.

    Sacramento before the recession had a decent market for baseball. Since the recession there is no way an MLB team can survive without huge revenue sharing checks, even with a new ballpark.

    I gotta believe the BRC looked into Sacramento and decided against it as if it was viable I am sure Selig would have pointed this out to Wolff.

  17. Unless Lew and Fisher want to de-value their team, moving to Sacto is a non starter. The Pads were sold for 800mils last week and I am guessing that the A’s is worth at least 400mil+ if not more today even w/o a new park.

  18. Sig, none of the reasons you listed appear to be a reason that the A’s wouldn’t move. First the reason Sac “couldn’t get an arena deal done” is a misnomer. They DID get an arena deal done, the Kings owners then promptly pulled out of it because they have no desire to stay in Sac because they have no money. They have pissed away their fathers entire fortune (they’re kinda the opposite type of millionaires to Lew).
    .
    Second the TV boundaries changing wouldn’t necessarily happen. Right now as you say both share the entirety of NorCal and even some areas beyond. Not sure why that would change just because of the move. After all the A’s are already on TV along side the Giants in Sac. No reason that couldn’t continue across NorCal as it does today. And even if it did change, it’s not the Giants decision so any harm to them on TV they’d have brought on themselves by denying San Jose (I’m working on the assumption the A’s wouldn’t pursue Sac until after SJ is blocked).
    .
    Third, Selig has already given the A’s the go ahead to pursue places outside Giants territory, which would include Sac. I don’t think the A’s would need more than cursory approval from MLB to move there since Sac is already A’s territory.
    .
    Fourth, I don’t think the BRC looked at Sac yet. And even if they did, Sac wasn’t offering $250 million until today. That changes the situation significantly.
    .
    No Sac has just set itself up as a viable alternative for Lew should MLB do the wrong thing and block San Jose. And they won’t be the last city doing so. You watch, the day SJ is denied the vultures will start circling and the “Oakland Only” crowd will finally realize their folly.

  19. daniel, You just expressed a very good reason Lew WOULD move. San Diego is a smaller media market than San Diego and is comparable market population wise. The A’s value in a new ballpark in their own media market (No 20 in the nation) vs their current small sliver of the Bay Area market should increase their value quite a bit. Not as much as moving into San Jose would, but it would definitely up their value vs staying in their current hole in Oakland.

  20. I meant to say San Diego is a smaller media market than Sacramento. No’s 27 (SD) and 20 (Sac) respectively.

  21. Dan-

    Your assumption is wrong. The day SJ is blocked, we will see an ATE suit filed by SJ and until that suit is settled, The A’s are not moving. SJ officials stay quiet for now becaus they are hoping BS will sign off on the move. MLB don’t want BS on the stands as a witness and they definitely don’t want to discuss the ATE anytime anyplace. As we have seen with SCOTUS and the healtcare issue, I doubt that MLB wants to test their luck when and if a case reaches SCOTUS.

  22. SD is not a small market. They have a football team, a BB team until Sterling moved them to LALA. Sac had nothing except for some cows up there. NO biz to speak of except for some disgusting pols.

  23. daniel, Sorry to break it to you, but San Diego is a small market compared to others in the country. In fact it’s MLB’s SMALLEST media market. And yet that media market alone was worth 200 million in the recent sale (the Padres themselves were only sold for 600 million, the TV network was the additional 200 million). And having a football team means jack when determining media or actual market size. Also the Clippers only stayed in Sac for 6 seasons. And their support sucked during most of that time. They weren’t exactly an institution.

  24. Excellent post Dan.
    Sid had it completely wrong. A deal did get done. It was only the incompetent Maloofs that pulled out.
    And $250 mil of public money is significant. Hypothetically it would cut Wolff’s dev costs in half.
    Now whether that’s enough to offset a much, much smaller corporate market, I don’t know. My gut says no, but maybe more money kicked in from the gnats could help. They would love to have the BA to themselves and would worth a lot of money.

  25. Daniel, “NO Biz” aren’t you exaggerating just a bit.

    for example Sac has more employees working at Intel than Santa Clara.

  26. SD had 3 pro teams. Sac can’t even compare. SD can attract some tourists. SD is a fully developed city/destination. SD is next to LALA, a really big place. Sac is badly depressed place and when the Kings leave town next year, it will be a dead city Sac is out there in nowhere land. As I said if Lew and Fisher want to de-value the team, move it to Sac.

  27. martin-

    Sure, HP has couple buildings up there in Roseville too.

  28. daniel, you don’t understand what a media market is, do you?

  29. SAN JOSE OR OAKLAND. no sacramento PLEASE. i dont see it happening anyway. not a major league city. too hot and doesnt have the corporate money that the bay area has. A’s will remain in the bay area because its the best market to build a new ballpark. howard terminal, coliseum city or cisco field are all fine with me, lets just see it happen. screw sacramento. you guys are pathetic. just for this i hope the kings move to either san jose or oakland

  30. re: A’s will remain in the bay area because its the best market to build a new ballpark.

    But the A’s can’t finance a stadium in Oakland without going bankrupt an San Jose and the rest of the Bay Area remain off-limits. Unless either of these conditions change, there’s a very good chance the A’s leave the Bay Area.

  31. Where the A’s can build in the Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa counties.
    Where A’s cannot build in the Bay Area: Marin, SF, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey counties….

  32. pjk-

    your guesses are wrong.

  33. Hey, ML – can you dust off those old photos of the baseball stadium skeleton at Arco Park?

  34. The reason tech companies put offices and such out there in the valley is because they can get away with cheaper rent and salaries. That means less disposable income. There is also the issue of where the employees are located that would be the ones more interested in taking clients and partners to a game. That’s probably the people still in the Bay Area.

  35. Chi, the San Diego Clippers didn’t exist in the 1960’s. They only started play in 1978 and really only had two big stars during their 6 years. Bill Walton and World B. Free.

  36. LS, and yet the average resident of Sacramento has nearly 10,000 more dollars a year in overall income than say an average Oaklander, to blow on things like baseball.

  37. @Dan Yet, the A’s in the Oakland or San Jose won’t just draw fans from their host city. The larger Bay Area offers far more than Sacramento ever could.

  38. eb, Sac also offers more than just Sacramento. There are 2.2 million people in the greater Sacramento area particularly to the north east and east, and even more in their media market which is most of the Central Valley. I think people in the Bay Area often forget how big Sac is because Sac itself sits near the far western edge of its overall region which means there’s far less between us and them than there is on the other side of Sac.

  39. @Dan I understand that, but there is more than 2.2 million in the East Bay alone. Plus, the A’s will have to fight against the Giants for fans in Sac as well. Right now, the Giants are the dominant team in that area, just like in the Bay. Plus, if getting corporate dollars in the Bay Area while in Oakland is hard, it’s going to be pretty brutal working with Sacramento’s less than stellar offerings.

  40. Not saying it would be easy. But Sac has proven to be a great market for a single team when the ownership isn’t a trio of overgrown baboons with their heads up their asses. And while the Giants have a presence in Sac, it’s not as entrenched as the Giants presence in the east bay is today. I’d be shocked if a local Sac based A’s couldn’t siphon off most of those “Giants fans” in the Sac area who rarely if ever go to San Francisco for games. It’s not like the Giants are a local option.
    .
    As for corporate dollars, the A’s don’t draw much corporate money from their current location. Sac won’t be any worse than Oakland is proving to be. San Jose would obviously be better, but if not San Jose do they stay in a city with no public money, low corporate support, and history of overall crappy fan support in their tiny niche of the large Bay Area market. Or do they take a risk, go become the ONLY sports option in No. 20 media market in the US?

  41. this is just like the news of AEG taking over the coliseum. means absolutely nothing. im shocked people believe this crap. raiders will stay in oakland and A’s will stay in the bay area. its that simple. no reason for anyone to freak out or even give time time into analyzing this stuff

  42. KJ, you dirty rat. Where is your loyalty to the East Bay?? You went to Cal, for God’s sake! You should be helping us KEEP our team in Oakland, not poaching them like the greedy, opportunist bastards in SF.

    Ed Lee should take some notes from you, KJ. At least you had the balls to publicly announce your’re trying to poach one of Oakland’s teams, instead of sucking off the teams’ owners behind closed doors while smiling in Oakland’s face.

    Some of what has been happening to Oakland is the most disgusting display of tactless human greed. While Oakland is having a tough time, lecherous neighbor cities are doing their best to push Oakland over the cliff forever. It’s like picking the pockets of a dude who is struggling to get to get by on his crappy, low-paying job. Poor Oakland is doing everything they can to come up and instead of helping, mayor Ed Lee steals the Warriors like a thief in the night. Lew set this whole thing off.

    Karma’s a bitch. Oakland and the good people therein do not deserve this.

  43. “Oakland is doing everything they can to come up”
    .
    They are? How? Last I looked the only thing they’ve done is come up with is a stadium plan that is next to impossible to impliment. Also you’re working on the mistaken assumption the leadership of neighboring cities should care about Oakland. Guess what, their responsibility is to their citizens and their cities. Not Oakland. It’s Mayor Quan and the Oakland city council’s job to make sure Oakland remains a viable option for pro teams. Not Sacramento’s, not San Francisco’s and not San Jose’s job.

  44. Hey Dan, Aren’t Kansas City, Cincinnati and Milwaukee smaller media markets than San Diego?

  45. True. I was just using the market that had most recently had a sale (specifically relating to the value of their TV deal). But it’s true that St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, San Diego, KC, Cincy, and Milwaukee are all smaller media markets than Sacramento.

  46. @Dan – well, I guess you drive home a very specific and important point: that it’s not human nature to civically help another municipality. It is only human nature to TAKE what we can, as if those people right over there, only separated by a bridge, don’t deserve anything another city can steal from them.

    So, by that logic, I can take whatever I want from my welfare neighbor because the hi-def TV he’s been saving up to buy would be better in my house than in his. Right? I mean, I already have the nice leather couch, the BMW in the driveway, why shouldn’t I take that poor bastard’s TV? What’s he gonna do with such a nice TV? He’s a loser. Why does he deserve anything? Oakland sucks. Why shouldn’t another city poach one of their teams?

    Agreed: SF has ZERO allegiance or responsibility to Oakland. Why would they? Neither does San Jose or Sacramento. Seriously, I have grown up in the last few years of watching this thing happen to Oakland. I really used to assume there was some measure of fraternity between cities here in the Bay Area. In fact, there is absolutely not. Well, it seems almost all cities in the Bay Area are united in their common disdain for Oakland.

    Despite the horrible news (a shooting in JLS this weekend???) Oakland is doing everything it can. Granted, nothing so far has been a home run but if you think the citizens and the city aren’t franctically searching for a way out of this mess, then there is nothing further I can convince you of. And at the bottom of the mess, the thing that always got love from Oakland were those sports teams that pretty much nobody else loved. It’s just a crying damned shame that those teams would abandon Oakland right now for cities right across the water and maybe up highway 80. What that says is that the Bay Area CAN host multiple sports franchises… the owners just don’t want to be in Oakland.

    And there certainly isn’t any more to say about that. I’m hoping upon all hope that at least the Raiders want to stay. If they do, I hope they’re ready for the tidal wave of new fans they’d get. Oakland/East Bay is simply waiting for some good news.

  47. @LakeshoreOAK – If you don’t take care of your toys, your parents might give them to your neighbors.

  48. LakeshoreOAK: the citizens in Sac (or SJ for that matter) don’t elect their politicians to help Oakland keep their teams. KJ doesn’t owe anyone anything except the people who voted for him. We live in a country with really next to no regional government so yeah, it is every city for themselves. You want your elected officials to look after your interests first don’t you?

    If it wasn’t for the Giants, Oakland probably would’ve lost to SJ by now. Since the Giants are holding things up its not unexpected that others are going to come calling given the A’s have clearly stated that Oakland is not where they want to be.

    Sac may be an unlikely longshot but the mayor would rather tell the voters that he tried and failed then that he didn’t try at all.

  49. Lakeshore, you’re again working on the assumption that cities are people and that the cities own their teams and most importantly that these cities care that a few fans “love” them. They don’t. These teams are businesses, and like all businesses they’re in the business of making money. They can do that more effectively in the cities they’re moving to because Oakland hasn’t shown them love where it really matters, showing up to games, buying tickets and providing them with corporate sponsors/suite buyers, and they haven’t been doing that for the A’s. Is it fair to Oakland, no. But then life isn’t fair, particularly to Oakland. There’s a reason it’s one of only two shrinking cities in the Bay Area. It’s not like the A’s and Warriors are the first businesses to leave. Hell they’re two of the last. Even Mayor Quan’s white knight Knauss’ company Clorox has been leaving town.
    .
    Chi, stop with the personal attacks or ML is liable to ban your ass.

  50. California is broke.

  51. Oakland is broke. Oakland Voters rejected a parcel tax that would’ve added cops … Quan isn’t going to play a game of political suicide by asking for more taxes for a ball team.

  52. We are waaayyy past the point where the aesthetics are the main focus of building a park. The problem right now is that Oakland does not have a site other than a place where MLB doesn’t want a park (Current home), a place that is too expensive to even begin (Victory Court and CC), and a corporate base that is minimal at best, based on what the Giants have snatched up in the same radius.
    This Sacramento thing, even though it had to be reported, isn’t a news story. Kinda like, hey if you’re marriage doesn’t work out and I happen to still be single, give me a call. Not much there there.
    Alameda County voters got screwed by Mt. Davis, and it was a joke when the financing was first reported in ’95. There is no public money available, and probably never will be. If Oakland wants to play, they gotta pay.

  53. @Chi – On one hand you like Coliseum City yet on the other hand you don’t think Save Oakland Sports and the Mayor are capable of getting it done. I have trouble making sense of your comments. There’s zero depth there.

    To answer your question, a three-venue Coliseum City is pure pipe. One or two venues is far more realistic. Pick your battle and move forward.

  54. He who defends everything defends nothing

  55. @Lakeshore – KJ may be a “Cal” guy, but he was a Sacramento guy for 18 years before he set foot on campus anywhere near the East Bay.

  56. @Dan – Oakland hasn’t shown up to games???? Well, maybe since the A’s owner has publicly declared at every opportunity that he wants nothing to do with Oakland (now in full-blown contempt), the fans should continue to show up and finance his departure? Absurd. If you know anything about Oakland it is brimming with civic pride. You could sell anything with “Oakland” on it and you couldn’t make enough of them to sell. The only thing you can’t do is tell them to go to hell and that you’d rather be on the other side of one of the Bay Area’s bridges. Oakland people have slogged through everything that city has thrown at them to this day and they won’t give up. It doesn’t have to be pretty or popular for them – Oakland people have incredible fortitude. In the years prior to the Lew Era, attendance was fairly sturdy. In some years, better than the Giants, who are surrounded by a city with 3x the population of Oakland.

    I don’t care what you say: that whole “We don’t care what you think, we’re going to represent” attitude that the Warriors have enjoyed for 30 pitiful years came directly from the heart of Oakland. Who else in the Bay Area has to have such blatantly foolish pride, even in the face of their own hating, inter-Bay neighbors, let alone the rest of the world at large? That attitude only comes from full-heartedly believing enough in something that you don’t care if anyone hates you for it. It’s not my fault that short-sighted owners don’t recognize this about Oakland. I shamelessly represent Oakland at every opportunity.

    Oakland never cared that much about winning; it’s all about the TOWN. You can’t quantify the heart of a target-demographic with a market study commissioned by some analyst from places elsewhere. The only thing Lew thinks is that there’s more money in San Jose. That does not inherently translate to butts in seats.

    Despite the fact that not one of those THREE teams has won much in the last 10 years (maybe the most pitiful era in any single city’s sports history), attendance has been suprisingly good for a rag-tag, second-rate city with an apparently inadequate sports facility. Those fans never cared that they couldn’t get a quiche at the concession stand – the owners do. Can you blame the fans for not showing up at A’s games now? Apparently you can.

  57. Lakeshore, A’s attendance is well documented, and it’s been bad more than just the last few years. It’s been bad the bulk of their time here other than 3-4 years in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

  58. Lakeshore, you are saying that the team that refuses to put “Oakland” in it’s name has seen a big benefit because of the civic pride said team has engendered in Oaklanders?
    .
    That’s interesting.

  59. Jeffrey, I am not sure what it is but the Warriors have perhaps the most loyal fans in the NBA and I wonder if that would be the case if they were in another city in the Bay Area.

  60. I’d say to the two most consistent fanbases are those of the Warriors and the Sharks and neither has much to do with the city in which they play. It’s about being the only option in that particular sport in a large and wealthy region.

  61. @ Dan – yeah, the last 10 years of so after they traded their top pitching staff and most of the good players (circa Lew era) have seen sagging attendance. Prior to that dismantling of the team, the A’s were fine in Oakland. Now, I don’t know where you get your data (lew.com?), but I have hundreds of actual pictures from about 15 years of A’s baseball in Oakland. I was there frequently and that place was always full of fans. Otherwise, the A’s would not have lasted in Oakland as long as they have. Besides, what’s to guarantee that attendance will be better in San Jose? A new park? I’m pretty sure a new park would have the same effect in Oakland.

    @ Jeffrey – you make a good point. Still, despite that and despite being an apparently inadequate facility, the fans never seemed to mind one bit that the team played in Oakland. SF largely couldn’t be bothered with the Warriors until “We Believe” because of the historical association with losers and simply being in Oakland. Only when they got a whiff of winning did SF respond. Prior to that, I’d bet that the Warriors crowd was predominantly East Bay. And of course the Sharks benefit from San Jose!!!! I don’t know that many people (3?) from the central Bay Area who venture down to SJ with any reliable regularity just to watch Sharks games – the Sharks LIVE off of the South Bay.

    @nobody in particular – I am sincerely trying to figure out why Oakland gets so little love. Funny how everyone only attributes negative qualities to Oakland, like there is nothing redeeming at all. If the city weren’t occupied with middle-class minorities and high proportion of criminal incidents, Oakland would be the ideal place to develop in the Bay Area. The worst part? Oakland really isn’t as bad as it seems, I swear. People who are not from Oakland have their stories so muddled up that they are too scared to give Oakland an objective look – people readily admit they are too scared to even go. So how much stock should we put in opinions that are based almost primarily in image? From nearly every real estate indicator, Oakland has more to offer than San Jose, San Francisco and Sacramento. If it weren’t for the fear people have, Oakland would be the jewel in the Bay Area’s crown. You are smirking right now.

  62. Lakeshore, you can find attendance data on many sites. ESPN.com, for instance. Baseball-reference.com. What you will find is that the A’s have been in the lower half of MLB attendance all but 7 seasons since moving to Oakland. Consider, that in that same timeframe they have been in the playoffs 15 times, and in contention for a playoff appearance deep into the season many other seasons, and that is objectively a bad record of drawing fans across 4 ownership groups and 4 decades.

  63. From 1971 through 1975 the A’s were 7th, 5th, 8th, 11th and 6th (out of 12) in AL attendance. They finished first each year. They won the World Series three years in a row. They’ve never been this dominant, they were better than the Bash Brothers, they were better than Moneyball, yet the attendance was fair to weak. Sure, Charlie O was a bad owner, but does a bad owner keep you away from going to see the best team in baseball? This doesn’t make sense to me. Now, they continued to rank in the bottom of attendance into the late 70s but that, at least, made sense as the A’s well and truly sucked. The teams of the 1980s were more logical (good team good attendance, bad team bad attendance) in their attendance patterns. My source is baseball-reference.com

  64. As for the Moneyball era, the best they could do was rank 6th out of 14 AL teams In 2003 Even though they’d been putting together damned good seasons for 4 years in a row. Please note, this isn’t to hate on Oakland, just looking at the numbers. It’s simply baffling that out of two of the three stretches where the A’s were consistently putting good to great teams on the field and they were struggling to achieve even an average attendance rank in the AL (and were often failing to reach average).

  65. Atlanta, Baltimore, Cleveland, San Francisco, etc. all had poor or less than stellar attendance before their new yards, for various reasons. Build a new park in Oakland or San Jose or Pacheco and people will fill the yard up. Discounting Oakland as a center of sports pride because the region hasn’t historically been baseball crazy isn’t completely fair. Oakland HAS hosted a packed arena for the Warriors, supported the Raiders with total sellouts before they left (and have supported the team better than L.A. did since they returned, even with the PSL debacle). experienced the Haas boon and is a city with immense pride and passion that, yes, I haven’t seen in many other cities. Funding and corporate support is totally in question right now, but I’m fully convinced of Oakland’s strong sense of civic pride.

  66. I’m wel aware that Oakland has civic pride and for many good reasons, it has many wonderful places and some great history. It’s simply that they’ve had rather lackluster baseball attendance even when they’ve had a good team. The Haas era was actually fairly logical, attendance was great … When the team was great. When the team was poor (think 1983-1986 and 1993-1997) then attendance was poor.

    As for the Warriors, their support has been impressive, especially considering the general mediocrity of he product most seasons. One wonders though how things would work out if they had another local NBA team as competition. I mean, if you’re an NBA fan the Warriors are your only option to see that level of play.

  67. @eb: Atlanta was consistently in the top 5 in NL attendance at Fulton County … Once they started winning. Look at their stats from 1991-1996 then compare with the 6 years before. Baltimore got Camden Yard in 1992 and a winning record, beginning a mid 90s run of decent, competitive baseball. Their attendance before was reflective of their record. Same with the Tribe. Sure, they had terrible attendance before the Jake, but they were also consistently awful. The Giants also generally had pretty bad teams in the 1970s to the mid 80s while at the ‘Stick. In all your examples, winning brought the crowds, losing didn’t.

    One lesson for the A’s might be, where ever they ultimately build a new park, they need a winning team on he field.

  68. Bayareanative, why only include AL attendance figures? It excludes half the league? And honestly, I don’t think it matters all that much except from one angle: presages of premium seats for private financing of a stadium. The only reason I responded is because lakeshore made a statement that was patently false. The A’s, as measured against MLB attendance, have done very poorly. One night I am going to go through all the seasons from 1968-2012 and see how many times a playoff team has been in the bottom half of MLB attendance. I can’t imagine it has happened more often than the 8 times it happened on Oakland. I wonder if it ever happened in Baltimore? Anyway… Attendance of average Joel’s is only really important if you are countIng on them to buy expensive ticket packages to help fund stadium construction.

  69. Ps bayareanative, stop looking at baseballalmanac.com and instead use baseball-reference.com. Their attendance breakdowns are not partitioned by league.

  70. Jeffrey: I was using baseball-reference.com and that’s how they partitioned it (at least as I was able to figure it out)? Still I think we’re in agreement on the bigger points, A’s attendance seems oddly untethered from on-field performance which doesn’t seem to be he case for other clubs.

  71. @Jeffrey The Orioles were either on the cusp, at half or lower 5 of the 8 times they were in the playoffs since before Camden Yards. I’m just saying that the A’s would have drawn poorly in the Bay Area no matter what city they played in during their time in the Bay Area under the same circumstances. It is a false claim that Oakland or even the Bay Area has ever really been a baseball hotbed, I won’t argue that. It’s always been the NFL, until At&t and the 2010 WS helped change that. A new stadium will do well in whatever city it gets built, the where is just a matter of preference at this point.

  72. @eb – A matter of preference, or a matter of where it can be built with private funds?

  73. Yep. That’s the odd thing… They don’t get the boost from winning that other teams do, with a few exceptions

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