News for 8/30/12

Here we go. We’ll start off with some minor league news.

  • The Santa Cruz Warriors continue to work with the City of Santa Cruz to get their tent arena built in time for the 2012-13 D-League season. Final approval hasn’t happened yet, let alone construction, so the D-League put the Surf W’s on a loooo-o-ng road trip before the team’s first home game around Christmas. That gives the two parties 16 weeks to get the arena approved, built, and buttoned up. No pressure. The Surf W’s could play on the road for additional games until the project is completed, or if there are extensive delays or the project isn’t approved, hopefully there’s a backup plan like the San Jose Civic Auditorium. Cost for the downtown arena have already ballooned from $4 million to $5 million because of foundation issues that were identified. Ticket prices have also been released. [Santa Cruz Warriors; Santa Cruz Sentinel/J.M. Brown]
  • Head north on Highway 1 and you’ll eventually get near the Cow Palace, where the San Francisco Bulls are quietly fixing up the old arena. $2 million of updates will be paid for by the team, including a center-hung scoreboard, a first for the Cow Palace. A schedule and ticket prices have also been announced. I may have to ring up the Bulls to see if I can get a sneak peek of the place. [CSN Bay Area; SF Bulls]
  • The first debate for the at-large seat on the Oakland City Council happened last night, and the two main candidates, incumbent Rebecca Kaplan and challenger (and current D5 council member) Ignacio De La Fuente both had something to say about the tenant teams at the Coliseum complex. [East Bay Citizen; Steven Tavares]

On the issue of the city’s professional sports teams, Kaplan and De La Fuente differed, if not, in terms of their priorities for retaining the A’s, Raiders and Warriors in Oakland, with Kaplan being more optimistic. “Let’s face it, the A’s don’t know the way to San Jose,” said Kaplan, and adding the current Coliseum City proposal will bring shop owners, bars and restaurants to the city along with fans and conventioneers to the area, said Kaplan, while also creating jobs.

De La Fuente was less sanguine saying he would only turn his attention to the Coliseum once crime in Oakland is sufficiently quelled. “I learned from my mistakes,” he said, referring to the botched return of the Raiders in 1995. “They are in the business of making money,” De La Fuente said, believing the public sector should no longer have a role in financing stadiums.

  • The Earthquakes announced their general seat pricing and posted a seating chart. The big ticket item is the establishment of a 1,400-person supporters section in the closed end, which will have its own bar and storage area for the flags and banners they use during the game. Interestingly, the language is “1,400-person”, not “1,400-seat”, which leads me to believe that this area will be a standing terrace. That’s fine since fans in the supporters sections are expected to stand anyway. I’m pretty sure it’s the only to fit 1,400 people in what looks like a pretty small space between the elevated seating bowl and the pitch. [SJ Earthquakes]
  • The Quakes also announced today that they are negotiating with three Fortune 100 companies on naming rights for their 18,000-seat stadium. Fortune 100, eh? Club president said that some of these companies are tech or Silicon Valley firms. Recently, new MLS stadia have netted $2-3 million per year in naming rights, which if matched by the Quakes would go a long way towards paying off the stadium. FWIW, I don’t think any local tech company should be ruled out, including Cisco (and no, that doesn’t mean Cisco is dumping the A’s). [SJ Mercury News/Elliott Almond]
  • On Saturday I’ll be in Berkeley for the first Cal football game at the rebuilt Memorial Stadium. I’ll be sure to get there early to take lots of pictures and document the experience. Somehow I was able to buy one of the last available $19.32 tickets for the opening game. I’ll be in the south end zone, a mere 5 rows up. As an aside, I was somewhat surprised at how many tickets remained for the game. I expected a sell out long ago. One thing to consider is that we’re the only market with three FBS (D-I) college football teams. Combine that with small or not-terribly-fervent fanbases and two NFL teams, and it’s easy to see why our general reaction to college ball is a collective “Meh.” [UC Berkeley]
  • On a related note, the Pac-12 Network launched two weeks ago and is still negotiating carriage deals. Comcast is not an issue since the cable provider is a partner. The issue is working out a deal with DirecTV, which is not only the provider with the most regional sports and college networks, but also the provider of choice in most bars throughout the country thanks to NFL Sunday Ticket. DirecTV purportedly rejected a deal of $0.80 per subscriber/month, leaving many fans up and down the left coast without many opening week games. Dish Network, Verizon FiOS, and AT&T U-Verse customers are also affected. [SF Business Times/Eric Young]
  • The State Controller reversed a slew of land transfers between the cities of Milpitas, Morgan Hill, and their respective (and now defunct) redevelopment agencies. That doesn’t bode well for the Diridon ballpark land transfer, though it has to be pointed out that the Controller has already ruled once in San Jose’s favor, saying that Santa Clara County went to far in holding tax increment funds that were due to the City. [Merc /Tracy Seipel]

Finally, I have to thank a reader out there for giving me four prime tickets behind the A’s dugout for Wednesday’s day game against the Angels. I’m only going to use one, so if anyone’s interested in joining me and talking baseball and ballparks or economics, reply with a comment or send me a tweet.

More tomorrow.

33 thoughts on “News for 8/30/12

  1. I wonder who the naming rights sponsor will be. I always thought something absurd like “Apple Presents IPad Pitch” would be awesome.

  2. not sure if my list is still current but there are 10 Fortune 100 companies in the Bay Area–and assuming they are bay area companies

    Chevron, Hewlett-Packard, McKesson, Wells Fargo, Apple, Intel, Safeway, Cisco Systems, Google, and Oracle

    Article implies that 2 of the 3 are tech companies–would love to see Apple get into sports marketing but hasn’t been their gig so far–my guess is Oracle, Intel and maybe Google—and the non-tech–Wells Fargo—hoping for one of the local companies to come thru–

  3. If Kaplan and JQ are pimping CC, and IDLF opposing it altogether, then who’s supporting the HT proposal? /confused

  4. I know the Oakland-only crowd is hoping for the Diridon parcels to get seized by the state. But IF this were to occur (based on the info presented, a big IF), San Jose would still control the land re zoning and what gets built, and Lew Wolff could still buy the parcels from the RDA successor agency (I believe this is SCCo?). A seizure would be a slight setback, but not the end of the world re Cisco Field at Diridon. Worst case scenario? There are other options, but we won’t go there unless need be…

  5. De La Fuente probably won’t get upended by the ranked-choice voting, as Perata did, as there aren’t as many viable candidates contributing to multiple votes in this race. (Perata pretty easily out-polled Jean Quan in the basic vote two years ago, but the second and third place rankings did him in.
    Interesting to hear DLF take advantage of the current sports-franchise issues as an opportunity to neutralize the negative publicity he’ll receive for selling out to the Raiders. He’s a very savvy guy. Kaplan is unseasoned by comparison. The business money in town is solidly behind DLF. One conservative I know calls Quan and Kaplan fools who haven’t moved beyond their college activist days. That person is a strong DLF supporter, for purposes of this election anyway.
    DLF sure has changed since he first hit the political scene as a union activist. I remember seeing him him in 1984, speaking at the alternative convention held outside Moscone Center during the Democratic Convention. He spoke to us rabble on the same afternoon, and really just before, Jesse Jackson addressed us. Jesse had SService agents on the stage with him, holding their automatic weapons at the ready inside stylish shoulder bags. DLF just stood there alone, railing, with impressively fiery rhetoric, against the machine.
    Now DLF is a lion of East Bay politics. One of his tactics for this election, they say, is to tap a successor to his Fruitvale seat–a successor who, if elected, will be his ally on the Council. Don’t be surprised to see DLF develop interest in keeping the A’s, after (or if) he’s elected. By contrast, don’t be surprised to see Kaplan if (or after) she’s elected, muck around over the sports franchise issues as ineptly as Mayor Quan has mucked.
    Very nice evening under the redwoods here, in Oakland, btw.

  6. Why isn’t the Oakland folks up in arms that the W’s are heading to SF, only team in Oakland that can prove support through attendance. I realize it’s the only NBA show in town, but the Bay Area is big and hungry enough for two teams, just ask the South Bay fans!

  7. Warriors got $120 million in facility improvements only about 15 years ago while the A’s got $0.00. So which owners are hated for wanting to leave? The A’s owners, of course…

  8. The naming news would pique my interest if it suggested linkage to a future baseball park…

  9. DLF is being politically savvy. The undercurrent of Oakland 2012 politics is one that dictates being very careful when giving subsidies to sports teams (among other for profit companies).
    Kaplan makes me shake my head. How does he — and those of his way of thinking — believe antagonizing the A’s will be helpful? To me it has to be all about politics…….because if his real motivation was to retain the A’s, wouldn’t positive steps toward the owner of the team be an obvious tactic of success?

  10. @TW, if your continued reference to Rebecca Kaplan as a “he” is some sort of gay joke then I think that you should please retract that and apologize, because I don’t think its funny at all and I’m sure others here may take offense as well, not cool at all!

  11. Bryan, relax. You are reading way, WAY too much into a mistake. Fyi, I have no idea if Kaplan is gay or not. I am not up on Oakland city politics on any significant level outside of the question of the A’s. What I know of Kaplan is within stories of the A’s situation (which is to say I know nothing about Kaplan except for her public comments regarding the A’s).

  12. You wrote…”One thing to consider is that we’re the only market with three FBS (D-I) college football teams”

    What about the North Carolina Triangle? Duke, NC State, and UNC are all FBS D1s

  13. From facebook:

    “SAVE THE DATE, Thursday September 13th, Save Oakland Sports will be holding a first of its kind, grassroots, fundraiser “Stadium Aid”! More details will be announced very soon, but we plan on having celebrities (Sports, TV and Movie Stars), Music, local politicians, a raffle and a silent auction with amazing prizes from local, regional and national businesses. The event will be held at Ricky’s Sports bar in San Leandro beginning at 6 PM. This will be the first in a series of fundraising efforts by our group to raise funds for stadium construction for our Oakland Sports Teams. I will post a Facebook event page once we have all details confirmed, please plan on attending if you are able to!

    If you are interested in volunteering or helping out, please consider coming to the next Save Oakland Sports meeting on Tuesday September 4th at the Red Lion Hotel on Hegenberger, beginning at 6 PM.”

  14. Ignacio De La Fuente is full of it. Anything he says should be immediately disregarded on all topics. Just FYI.

  15. “… to raise funds for stadium construction…” As an avid Oakland supporter I don’t know whether to cheer or stick my head in the sand. Having been involved in the past with political “money bombs” and seeing the money raised there, I can’t even fathom how much money would be raised by something like this. Considering the average net worth in the US dropped by nearly 50% in the last 5 years, I can’t seem to picture the average fan contributing more than the amount of a couple of game tickets. If each and every LGO FB fan contributed $20 you could raise $1 million. If there are celebrity fans of the A’s who attend we may get another million. On the other hand I am extremely proud that there is an effort being made by the grassroots to keep the team and I will personally support that. I like the intensity, ingenuity, and committment of putting together such a fundraiser. However, I still like the idea of getting people to pledge money for season tix for a new ballpark in Oakland. Get 15k-20k seats pre-sold for a new stadium. Get companies to pledge money for suites and club seats. Do all of the above and show the owners and MLB that support exists, which I believe that it does.

  16. @ RM: I’m going to Wednesday’s game too. My gal and I will be in Row 1 next to the visitor dugout. If you’re over 21, I’ll buy ya beer.

  17. i’d love to sit w/ you on wed, if a ticket is still available.

    • @ely – Sure, got one for you. Email me at ml @ newballpark dot org (remove the spaces, etc.) and I’ll tell you where to meet us.

      Anyone else? There’s one ticket left.

  18. I wonder if SOS had planned these activities before my post? I am not taking credit, just wondering if it spurred some thought. I, like Columbo, applaud the effort an will support it however I can. Maybe I can be in a dunk tank, since the Oakland Inly folks hate me 🙂 Maybe ML would garner more money than me…

  19. @Jeffrey – I am Oakland guy and I don’t hate you, or any other A’s fan!

  20. I just went to the SOS website and their FB page and they both say “…to raise funds for stadium construction and/or community projects for Oakland sports teams.” I read Nathan’s post only and it didn’t show the “and/or” that was included with the actual release. A million or two raised for community projects in the name of the local teams makes a lot more sense than what I was thinking after I first read that post.

  21. The wording I posted was a copy and paste from the “Hey Bud PleA’se Stop the TeA’se” Facebook page.

  22. Can’t make it out to the game on Wednesday, but ML, you do a lot of great work on here and you are welcome to join me for a Warriors game sometime. Send me an email and let me know when you might be available to change up baseball a bit. I will give you some options based on which games I am going to (split the season with my bro).

  23. @ Nathan – That website you copied it from now shows the full release. However, the time of the posting shows approximately 1am today. That’s well after our discussion here. Perhaps someone modified it.

  24. Mercury News today said San Jose got a call from MLB a week ago for documents about the ballpark site dimensions. At least it tells us San Jose is still in the game. Something tells me MLB would love to just pick Howard Terminal and be done with it, but looks at the finances ($500-$600 million project + no public financing) and knows what a predicament A’s owners would be trying to pay for it. What’s the point of anointing Howard Terminal as the site if there’s no way to pay for it?

  25. @pjk – I think this is Oakland last chance. If they can’t make HT work, Bud’s going to have to push SJ. I think that at any point now, the Raiders will force Oakland’s hand and when/if push comes to shove, I think the A’s get the short stick.

  26. It’s a really interesting juxtaposition, this report in the Mercury versus the report in the Chronicle on basically the same subject. One makes it out to be a secret meeting with a whole bunch of machinations that will lead to a Howard Terminal ballpark (which isn’t a new site, it was included in the original “We have 4 sites to consider” Press Conference way back in December of 2009). The other makes those meetings out to be a “no big deal, MLB committee checking on again.”
    It makes me wonder what the heck they really were.

  27. We can be certain the so-called Blue Ribbon committee has already looked at Howard Terminal and didn’t conclude it was feasible. What changed other than Knauss coming in and re-pitching it? Wolff already has said Howard Terminal cannot be implemented for a ballpark. So if MLB selects that site, the next step is to find new owners willing to buy the team and pay for the ballpark, on their own dime.

  28. @pjk,
    Comparing Diridon South to HT is ludicrous to say the least: one is two parcels being acquired away from shovel ready, financing at the ready (naming rights, corporate support)…the other, don’t even get me started.
    Matier and Ross: what more needs to be said…ALOHA!

  29. The Matier & Ross report was from a month ago while the Mercury News report today was about an MLB inquiry from a few days ago. if Matier & Ross are pushing the “if Wolff won’t build in Oakland, sell to someone who will” stance, can they kindly tell us who is supposedly interested in undertaking such a mission in Oakland? Can’t these investigative reporters pry from some secret source who the interested buyer-builders are, since the so-called buyers themselves don’t want to come forward?

  30. Pjk, I understand that they were published at different times, but the mercury piece makes mention of the recent meeting and the call as a follow up to that general update meeting.

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