News for 10/5/12

It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve done one of these. Time to catch up.

  • The A’s finished the season with a total attendance of 1,678,913, an average 20,727 per game. Not including the first two home games in Japan, the total attendance is 1,591,295 (20,143 average). That’s an increase of more than 200,000 fans over 2011, and the best number since 2007. MLB’s total attendance rose nearly 2% to 74,859,268, propelled largely by the opening of Marlins Park. If you assume that each ticket costs the FCI average of $27 and comes with $11 in additional spending (concessions, parking), MLB gets $2.84 billion in stadium revenue. If we project $7.7 billion for the 2012 season, then regular season stadium revenue accounts for 36.9% of total revenue. Wendy Thurm from Fangraphs/Hanging Sliders has more in-depth analysis. [MLB, Fangraphs]
  • TV ratings are out too. While the A’s showed marginal improvement throughout the year on CSN California (1.27 rating, 32,000 households), Wednesday’s AL West title showdown pulled an incredible 4.72 rating in the Bay Area (172,000 households), the highest rating since 2008. If the A’s could pull in half that number on a regular basis, they’d be in much better shape financially. [Sports Business Journal/John Ourand & David Broughton, Comcast SportsNet California]
  • Like the A’s and Giants, rivals Baltimore and Washington are also in the postseason. Their rivalry extends to off the field, as their ongoing battle over the Nats’ TV rights value on MASN continues. As part of the deal to move the Expos to DC, O’s owner Peter Angeles was allowed to set up MASN and own Nats’ broadcast rights, to which the O’s pay around $30 million per year. Angelos wants to raise the rights fee to $35 million, whereas Nats owner Ted Lerner is holding out for $100 million, which would put the team among the largest markets in terms of TV revenue. That number may not be feasible without a sizable bump in subscriber fees for MASN, which would get the channel into another battle with Comcast over carriage costs. ([Forbes/Mike Ozanian, Press Box/Tim Richardson]
  • The website UFE (Urine Feces Everywhere) did its own annual study of ballpark cleanliness, surveying all 30 MLB ballparks throughout the year. The Coliseum came in 4th worst in baseball (F grade), thanks to those oh-so-charming trough urinals and an embarrassing 56% of men not washing their hands. You people are disgusting pigs. For shame. The best ballpark? Busch Stadium. The worst? Wrigley Field (maybe that’s symbolic). AT&T Park came in 8th best, its only demerit being the composite trough sinks it uses (didn’t realize those were a problem). [UFE]
  • muppet151 sent a well-worded letter to City of Oakland and Alameda County officials asking about cleanup costs associated with the Howard Terminal site. I can’t say I have confidence it’ll be answered, considering how this week the City started limiting access to City Council sessions. We’ve discussed contamination and cleanup at Howard Terminal before. Furthermore, the Howard Terminal Land Use Covenant severely restricts what can be built on the site. Prohibited uses include residences, a hospital, a school or a day care center, or a park or open space (if the ground is uncapped). Here’s some relevant text from the request: [Twitter, TwitLonger, SFGate/Mattai Kuruvila]

A Removal Action Work plan (RAW) was drawn up, and the RAW leads to several questions that have yet to be discussed publically by officials who have spoken in favor of an A’s stadium at the Howard Terminal site, more specifically the role City and County governments would play in regards to the RAW.

The RAW states that should these asphalt concrete caps break, the removal of contamination would cost “in excess of $100 million. It would also require the terminal to shut down for a long period of time.” If the caps were to be broken during the building of a stadium, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say cost over runs could be in the neighborhood of $200 million (contamination removal and stadium building costs), and could delay the opening of a Howard Terminal stadium by at least a year and possibly longer. The worst case scenario being the project being permanently shut down causing the A’s to leave the Bay Area altogether. Such an accident would undoubtedly find its way into a court room as well. 

  • Arizona State University is in the middle of the Phoenix-Mesa spring training game of musical chairs. The school is looking for a much larger home than its on-campus facilities, so it is looking to either share the new Cubs’ ballpark in Mesa or move into Phoenix Municipal Stadium if the A’s vacate Muni and move to HoHoKam in Mesa. [Phoenix Business Journal/Mike Sunnucks]
  • Before the end of September, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a series of bills meant to revive redevelopment in one form or another. Brown didn’t rule out some of the ideas completely, giving credence to the notion that some aspects of redevelopment could be restored once the state’s budget shortfalls are resolved after the old institutions of redevelopment are completely eliminated (good luck with that). Meanwhile, the League of California Cities filed a lawsuit challenging last summer’s redevelopment laws. [LA Times/Patrick McGreevy, AP/Bloomberg Businessweek]
  • Tarps continue to be a sore spot, as the A’s refuse to remove tarps for the ALDS and will only consider removing them from the ALCS. Back in 2006 was when I had first heard of a MLB rule restricting capacity. If it’s entirely the domain of the team, then why not just take some or all the tarps off? Who is it going to hurt? Let’s Go Oakland has started an online petition, though that’s not going to actually get the tarps removed. The numbers on the petition will end up on some letter to the commissioner. Frankly, if people really want to get the tarps removed, they should show up outside the Coliseum Box Office/Ticket Services with news crews in tow. Get 2,000 people there who have been shut out of buying tickets. Protest. If you’re going to get ownership to budge or MLB to push ownership, the only way may be to put real pressure on them via the media. Otherwise this is little more than political fodder. [SFGate/Carolyn Jones, Let’s Go Oakland]
  • An rally for the A’s will be held outside Oakland City Hall on Monday at 5:30 PM. The rally will be held despite the fact that Monday is a city government furlough day.
More as it comes.

19 thoughts on “News for 10/5/12

  1. I can buy that Wrigley is the least clean. Of course, I have witnessed people eating hot dogs over the urinal troughs in Oakland, which is just immensely gross.

  2. If we are talking best stadium restrooms than I can vouch for Cowboy Stadium those are pretty clean. Wrigley is the worst I have seen too, and people eating hot dogs over a urinal trough is pretty sick. We should go off the deep end and list our top 5 and worst 5 locations.

  3. this was the most recent article i could find about local tv ratings. a’s were 3rd to last ahead of only sd and hou. was was near the bottom of these lists in recent seasons, probably one of the few teams the a’s were ahead of but obviously that probably has changed a lot with their recent success and also having “big names” that will draw viewers with strasburg and harper.

  4. As a health care worker, I always advocate washing hands. That being said, when I’m washing my hand in the coliseum bathrooms I can’t help but wonder how many times a football fan or concertgoer has peed in that sink. The bathrooms with troughs are nasty. I’m always shocked when I see a patron put a beer or food (!) on the floor while they are relieving themselves. Last weekend, I also had the pleasure of helping my son go to the bathroom in a stall while some dude was puking in the stall next to us. Lovely.

  5. How the heck were the Angels lower than the A’s in local TV ratings?

    • @gojohn10 – The Angels have historically been one of the worst ratings performers, but their audience is so large that it’s twice that of the A’s. The Dodgers aren’t that great either, yet they’re going to get $200 million a year in their next TV deal. The Angels are getting $150 mil/year.

  6. That and beating the Padres this year in ratings wasn’t much of an accomplishment since they were only on the air in 58% of San Diego County thanks to Time Warner.

  7. Those ratings stats are questionable, The Dodgers ratings jump 61.7% to only a 1.94 rating? Also the Angels are typically among the MLB leaders at attendance (roughly 40,000 per game consistantly) how they could enjoy such excelllent attendance and draw such poor television ratings?

    • @duffer – Not questionable at all. Baseball simply isn’t that big in terms of TV ratings in LA, or even California outside of the Giants recently. Even in 2009 when the Dodgers were playoff-bound, their rating was 2.2. Two years later in the midst of the McCourt bankruptcy mess, it was half that.

  8. There are too many things to do in California than watch baseball. Plus baseball has to be the one of the least TV friendly sports out there.

  9. I have mixed feelings about taking down the tarps for the ALDS. Yeah, it would be great to have larger crowds but where were all these fans during the regular season? How many people placed a deposit on season tickets for next season? This seems to appear to feeding into the concept of “scarcity.”

  10. Bill, agreed. I’m not quite sure that I am feeling it either. The only issue I am having is that it wasn’t exactly hard to get tickets to these games, but if you chose to wait till the last minute, can we really say you were “shut out?” But all it proves, once again, that Lew Wolff is the antichrist no matter what he does or says. Selig is putting his friend through the ringer!
    Totally off-topic, for which I do apologize, but wow, the tears formed big time when Neshek came off the field tonight. What an inspiration.

  11. @daveybaby-couldn’t agree more on Neshek- touching his glove to his son’s patch was a neat tribute- quite an inspiration

  12. UFE is really complaining about the lack of washroom attendants? Maybe I haven’t been to enough stadiums, but I’ve never seen or heard of a washroom attendant at a baseball game. Will they turn on the sink for you (maybe that’d increase the hand washing rate)? Are you expected to tip them? That’d just get too complicated.
    And I like anything that enables more people to go at once, which leads to shorter lines. The troughs have my seal of approval! As far as their disease phobia, have their ever been any confirmed cases of sickness caused by troughs, or are these just squeamish complainers?

  13. “Last weekend, I also had the pleasure of helping my son go to the bathroom in a stall while some dude was puking in the stall next to us. Lovely.”
    At the Raider-Charger Monday Night game the woman three seats down from me yakked in front of her seat 5 minutes into the game (and then sat there looking at it while her male companion ignored her). It was promptly cleaned up by the 2-minute warning of the first half.

  14. Anyone in the late ’80’s remember the Clean Team? A bunch of bathroom attendants that would work in the trenches during A’s games. That was a great team.

  15. re: If the caps were to be broken during the building of a stadium, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say cost over runs could be in the neighborhood of $200 million (contamination removal and stadium building costs), and could delay the opening of a Howard Terminal stadium by at least a year and possibly longer. The worst case scenario being the project being permanently shut down

    …looks like a deal breaker.


  16. From “NASCAR and Fox announced an eight-year, $2.4 billion extension Monday that runs through 2022 and keeps the prestigious Daytona 500 and first third of the Sprint Cup Series on the network. The deal begins in 2015. The $300 million average annual fee is a 33% increase to what Fox had been currently paying. It includes TV Everywhere rights that allow Fox to live stream its races beginning with the 2013 season-opening Daytona 500. Fox gets the first 13 Sprint Cup Series races under the deal, and the entire Camping World Truck Series. ESPN and Turner hold the rights on the remainder of the schedule through 2014. Exclusive negotiations with NASCAR do not begin until next summer”
    (Full article:
    NASCAR has been fairly flat recently after dropping from their early-2000s peak. The fact that FOX is paying 33% more shows how important content is for them. The article also mentions that they are going to rebrand SPEED as FOX Sports 1, and reminds us that they also signed MLB for eight more years.

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