Ray Ratto has been giving the stadium situation a constant read this week. Wednesday’s piece may have been the best of all, though it can mostly be summed up by this:
Can we even give the City of Oakland credit for half-assing? May be generous.
Meanwhile, on the news front, the City received another letter Wednesday from BayIG’s lawyers, which indicated that the development mean could be onboard with a plan to provide the A’s 2 years’ notice if a replacement Raiders stadium came to fruition. That’s a backpedal from their original stance, which was to tear down the Coliseum immediately after the A’s 2015 season in order to make way for the new football venue. BayIG suffered a little blowback in the media and from fans, which may have led to this softening.
In that same article, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan continues to believe that the city can continue to host both teams, while endorsing the lease extension approved by the JPA last week. Quan doesn’t get to vote on the deal unless the 8-person City Council is deadlocked. Said Quan,
“I absolutely want the City Council to sign this agreement so that we can get on to negotiating a new stadium (with the A’s).”
We’ll see if she’s forced to break a tie. Several of the council members are undecided, perhaps hoping for concessions from the A’s that probably are not coming.
Word came yesterday morning from The Game’s Chris Townsend that the A’s could be willing to buy out the County’s portion of the JPA, which would allow the team to work on a new development plan for the Coliseum complex. I’m looking into the legality of such an arrangement. The bond issues are heavily tied into specific revenue streams and the property is jointly owned, not divided, so it’s unclear how a private developer could legally replace a public entity. It’s also important to note that BayIG has an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with the JPA for any Coliseum development. That agreement doesn’t expire until October, so any developer whether the A’s or a third party can’t formally engage in talks with the JPA until the ENA expires, assuming it’s not extended. Correction 5:37 PM – As was pointed out in the comments, the ENA is only between BayIG and the City of Oakland, not the JPA. Because of this, Miley or other JPA members could engage in discussions with the A’s over the future of the Coliseum complex.
Once again, Lew Wolff had to speak publicly about someone else’s suggestion that the A’s could leave the Bay Area. CM Larry Reid suggested the team could go to Montreal or San Antonio, places that coincidentally had hosted exhibition games in March. As I’ve said before, MLB may wield the move threat, but it’s largely toothless without a deal for a new ballpark in a target city. No rumored candidate like Portland, Montreal, San Antonio, or Charlotte is close to having such a deal in place. In fact, Charlotte just opened its AAA ballpark, surviving numerous legal challenges by a local attorney who wanted to aim for MLB, not AAA. Sorry, no Timbuktu.
A couple other blog posts are worth reading and come from completely different angles. The first is a piece by the Motley Fool advocating for a move to San Jose. It’s a skin-deep analysis, but may portend future San Jose articles in the media, especially if Oakland continues to be a circus. The other is from Death of the Press Box writer Andrew Pridgen, who calls Wolff the “last great owner in baseball.” Mind you, he sets the post up by calling Wolff a prick.
This was a full ass job alright
Very enjoyable read from Death of the Press Box. Thumbs up.
re: In that same article, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan continues to believe that the city can continue to host both teams
…When will Oakland recognize it can’t keep all the teams? Never.
I’m not sure if Quan actually believes that, but she’s going to say that because she’s got a reelection to worry about. If she commits to one team, another candidate will start claiming they can keep both teams.
dmoas: You just don’t get it. MLB authorizes that the A’s can move to a temporary or permanent location outside of Oakland (and you somehow believe that means zilch – that MLB has said nothing)You claim that potential corporate sponsorship is the main factor when evaluating possible sites for MLB teams (when media rights deals and gate revenue are way more lucrative for franchises)Then you suggest that the A’s and Oakland officials are playing a negotiating game (When Wolff has declared the A’s will make no more concessions)
Interesting that Bay IG also,folded so quickly and decided the Coli wouldn’t be knocked down in 2015…. Wonder what Mark says about this….and they folded because of pressure from A’s fans? Guess that shows which team is a favorite- supposed Raider Nation is a no show-
ESPN just came out with an article about this and I laughing hard.
The day is about to come where Oakland must choose between the Raiders and A’s and if history is any indicator they will choose the Raiders.
Here is why:
-They owe 180M on the stadium still cause of the Raiders, so it behooves Oakland to keep the Raiders and factor in that debt into the new stadium somehow. By choosing the A’s that debt has to be paid and the A’s will not help in anyway to pay it down.
-Raiders have all the leverage with Levi’s down the street opening up. They can leave anytime and that debt will linger over the JPA and Oakland for years to come.
-Oakland truly believes the A’s will not share with the Giants under any circumstances and that because of that MLB and Wolff are bluffing big time.
-Even though the A’s play far more games, Oakland still gets more tax revenue from the Raiders because they do more overall revenue, # of games be damned. This piece is missed by a lot of people who think more games is better, not the case.
-Finally, the A’s are not on board with Coliseum City because why would Wolff go with a 3rd party developer when he is one himself and been a very successful one at that? Wolff wants control because he is an expert in this kind of thing while Mark Davis is not so it gives more power to Oakland. Foolish thinking but that is Oakland for you!
In the end, the A’s will be in ATT Park in 2016 and the Raiders will need a “hail mary” to build the stadium and if it fails, which is a good possibility, Oakland will be begging the A’s to come back.
But Wolff will say no because he will see how much $$ he is making at ATT Park as the SF A’s and give them the finger.
He can then sit on the Giants, make them scream “Uncle” and head to San Jose regardless of how the lawsuit ends.
Yeah, I agree that is interesting, that Bay IG. would fold, so quickly?
duffer, I have absolutely no idea what you’re comment on. But I can say that you’ve completely misconstrued pretty much all my arguments.
1) I didn’t say MLB’s authorization meant zilch. I said that they already HAD that authorization BEFORE this. Selig was on record as saying the team could leave Oakland, just not to SJ and that was a couple of years ago. I also noted that because the only public knowledge we had of of this new claim came from Wolff’s email (which was vague to it’s actual meaning) we couldn’t accurately guess or assume what he specifically was going to be allowed to do (if anything) that was new. Now, *after the fact*, Wolff has followed up suggesting that near the EQ’s site is a possibility, but at the time, we had no specifics aside from what we already knew a few years back. BUT, again, we haven’t heard one peep from MLB supporting that. The only part we know is that MLB backed up what was said in the original email from Wolff to the city. But you wanted to read into it well beyond that, giving it more meaning than we can actually take from it. Now it MAY mean the things you claimed, but we can’t know any of that based on what little we were offered. The only take away from the email? That whatever was said in the confirmation the city got from MLB was taken very seriously.
2) I did NOT claim corporate sponsorship was a “main factor.” I said it was ONE of MANY factors that INCLUDED overall region size/TV markets. I suggested that to point at that singular factor and suggest that MLB would ONLY value that over all else would be naive. I did NOT, however, suggest that market size wasn’t important, but like many stats in baseball, that it was one of many important factor, just not the end all be all.
3) I don’t know what planet you’re from if you can’t see that ALL sides of this are playing negotiating games. This whole damn thing has been one power play after another. And that “game” so to speak isn’t just being played between the A’s & the city/county, it’s also being played between the A’s, MLB, the Giants, the other owners, etc. This whole thing is one convoluted chess match. Wolff has said many things in the past that he’s then gone back on. Remember a few months ago when he said he was done negotiating? Then we have these new terms that they… negotiated? He has a history of shutting it down when he gets fed up. And with the help of MLB, he’s likely to succeed in getting what he wants this time.
4) Somehow I think you’re straw manning pretty much every argument I’m making with some sort of tunnel vision. Honestly, it sounds like you don’t get. Especially with this odd stray comment in a thread I’ve made no comments in. But whatever.
@ harry- I think Oakland/Quan no longer believe the gints won’t share. LW mentioned the the land adjacent to the new EQ stadium is under consideration for a temporary ballpark- obviously, someone got to Quan and let her know it’s for real which is why she now wholeheartedly supports the lease as proposed- amazing how none of the EB media has called her on the carpet for her sudden change of heart-
Even Ray Ratto is calling Oakland out for the shit show that it is… What took so damn long?
“It’s also important to note that BayIG has an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement (ENA) with the JPA for any Coliseum development. That agreement doesn’t expire until October, so any developer whether the A’s or a third party can’t formally engage in talks with the JPA until the ENA expires, assuming it’s not extended.”
This is not accurate. BayIG et al have an ENA with the City of Oakland only. The County and/or the JPA can talk with whomever they want, right now, and almost certainly are.
@Some Guy – You’re right. I forgot that it was only a City resolution.
I wonder if that agreement with the city is anything like the potential agreement the county would have with the A’s to sell. Not that they’re actually the same, per se, since there’s quite a big difference between selling a 50% stake in the publicly held versus giving exclusive right to it’s development, but it would seem odd if it were binding without going through both stake holders.
More evidence that Ratto is a complete blowhard. During a recent talk show, Ratto’s opinion about the San Jose vs MLB case was that MLB would win because they “can afford better lawyers” Ratto forgets that at the recent American Needle vs NFL case – where the SCOTUS ruled 9-0 against the NFL. (the NFL is rolling in cash – more so than MLB, that did not help the NFL’s case)Ratto may also be using too much of the medical marijuana that he believes Oakland officials are using.
One thing I find very curious in reading the many discussions and articles this week about the A’s stadium situation is the almost complete disregard for the relocation threat. Yes, Portland are paper tigers and San Antonio is a stretch as a market (mostly because it is split with Austin, creating a Tampa Bay type of problem). But Montreal is absolutely and very realistically a relocation option. In fact, it’s probably a very smart move.
I think a major reason this is overlooked is because Montreal is in Quebec and most American writers know nothing about it and don’t read French. So let me give you the very quick run-down on Montreal and you can tell me if this is a serious issue or not:
1: Large metro area with 3.8 million population. That puts them smack in the middle at 15, between Seattle and Detroit. Montreal is thus a very legitimate MLB market.
2. History. Montreal supported an MLB team for decades and has a long baseball history going back a century. If you go there today you will still see Expos gear everywhere – 10 years after they left. The Expos drew well from 1969-1997 (http://exposnation.com/en/montreal-expos-attendance-per-year/).
3. Existing ballpark. Yes, Olympic Stadium is actually a pretty great temporary ballpark as far as these things go. It hosted two exhibition games and drew 100k. It was a roaring success (http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2014/mar/30/major-league-baseball-brief-return-montreal-runaway-success). This is because Olympic Stadium was an MLB stadium for 25 years. Playing 2-3 years there while a new park is under construction is about as good a temporary situation as one could hope for.
4. Majorly renewed interest. Montreal has had an organized business/marketing group fronted by Warren Cromartie (http://montrealbaseballproject.com/en/about/) to build hype and drum up interest. It’s been working as the link in point 3 shows.
5. Major media potential. Montreal is the urban center of Quebec, population nearly 8 million. This is an autonomous province of Canada with a distinct culture and a separate language that may well end up its own country one day. An MLB team in Montreal has this to themselves both for a fan market but also a media market.
6. Major ownership potential. Let me introduce you to Quebec’s biggest media group, Quebecor (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quebecor). They own the big cable sports networks and dominate the French-language market. They have spoken openly about using sports, MLB specifically, to bolster these media holdings. They are behind a new NHL-caliber arena in Quebec City. Further, this is the model of ownership for Canada’s other team, the Toronto Blue Jays, who are owned by Rogers.
7. Economics growth. Montreal was in a declining economic period for much of the Expos tenure but was able to draw well until the late 90’s when a confluence of a bad product and a bad economy created the reputation most American fans have in mind when they think of Montreal baseball. Things have changed almost entirely, however. Montreal is now booming economically and is littered with new construction. This really took off around the time the Expos left ten years ago and has been sustained and is a “new reality” rather than a brief surge. Economically the region and population are in far better position to support an MLB team than they were ten-fifteen years ago.
8. The Canadian Dollar. The Canadian dollar was at all-time lows against the US dollar in the late 90’s, leading to essentially a 30% tax on Canadian teams doing business with the US-dollar indiced MLB. The Canadian dollar is now at parity with the US dollar and has been for years – this is a result of policy on both sides of the border and will continue. So with that alone Montreal is about 30% richer than they were when the Expos struggled and were forced to trade off their myriad star players in the 90’s.
9. Lack of competition. Montreal has the Canadiens, the Yankees of the NHL, and a Canadian Football Team, and an MLS team that joined up and built a brand new park a year or two ago. There is no NFL or NBA to compete with during the baseball season. An MLB team in Montreal will face far less competition than it would in many other cities.
10. A new ballpark. The Expos actually almost got a new stadium in the late 90’s despite the perfect storm brewing at that time (http://www.ballparks.com/baseball/national/monbpk.htm). This deal fell apart because the Expos owner was Jeffrey Loria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffrey_Loria) and his loyalty was clearly never to the city of Montreal, good governance, or the fans. History has clearly vindicated those who at the time blamed Loria for the destruction of the Expos fanbase and sabotage of attempts to build a new stadium. Now that any future team in Montreal would surely be owned by dedicated, locally committed owners the likelihood of a stadium deal is vastly increased as it’s a profitable real estate deal in the current climate in Montreal. Further, Quebec has historically and recently shown a willingness to invest public money in sports facilities (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Quebec_City_Amphitheatre).
With all of these points in mind I find it amazing that people do not take the threat of a Montreal relocation seriously.
You seem to be the only person who thinks Montreal is anything but something that was mentioned in passing without being given any real credence.
It’s simply not going to happen.
MLB has already failed there once, a prospective MLB owner would likely not want to repeat that mistake. The east bay is a larger fanbase. Oakland or the east bay is a more lucrative situation for the A’s than Montreal. Besides – San Jose has a decent chance of winning the San Jose vs. MLB case anyways.
Didn’t MLB fail because of the 1994 strike, when the Expos had the best record in baseball and it was all a waste? “Whats the use?” set in, no?
20 years can come and go pretty quickly. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Rays continue to struggle to build their own park in the Tampa area through the extent of their lease. Montreal may become a stalking horse for the Rays at some point down the line. The Expos died in large part due to the Blue Jays media rights. Since the Nationals-Orioles is still on going, I don’t suspect MLB is all that interested in getting into a similar situation just yet.
Now that a special meeting has been called by the city council with regard to the lease situation, I think the final vote will be 7-1 or 6-2 in favor. Brooks will vote no and possibly Schaaf, but that’s it. Feel free to put me on blast when I’m wrong.
Agree with your projection muppet- will be most interested in hearing the passion of raider nation fans if they show
Again, the dismissive tone and failure to actually consider the reality of the Montreal market is going to lead to you being completely blind-sided if/when things get serious. Frankly the A’s ownership could sell the team to Montreal tomorrow and they’d be playing there in 2015. It’s a slam-dunk should they choose to do so. The previous “failure” of the Expos looks remarkably like the situation with the A’s in Oakland in many ways. Here’s a blurb from Loria’s wikipedia about the situation:
“Loria sold the (AAA) team in 1993 and began looking to buy a Major League team. Loria lost out to Peter Angelos in his bid to purchase the Baltimore Orioles in 1994. On December 9, 1999, he bought a 24 percent stake in the Montreal Expos for $18 million CAD (approximately $12 million USD) and became the managing general partner. When a series of cash calls went unanswered, Loria ended up with 94 percent of the team at a valuation of $50M USD. He headed an ownership group that included the city of Montreal and Stephen Bronfman, son of founding owner Charles Bronfman.
One of Loria’s first acts was to reiterate demands for a new park for the Expos to replace Olympic Stadium, of which he bluntly said, “We cannot stay here.” He lost a considerable amount of goodwill with Expos fans when the team was not able to reach an agreement for television and English-speaking radio coverage during the 2000 season, as the Expos tried to increase their revenue from broadcast rights. He also sought more public funding for a planned downtown ballpark, Labatt Park. However, the provincial and municipal governments balked at committing more money to the project. Premier Lucien Bouchard said that he couldn’t support using taxpayer dollars to build ballparks when the province was being forced to shut down hospitals. Additionally, Bouchard didn’t like that Olympic Stadium still hadn’t been paid for 25 years after being built (and wouldn’t be paid for, as it turned out, until 2006).”
One of the more interesting theories I’ve heard go around is that the A’s would move to Montreal, a natural fit, and that MLB could then relocate the Rays to San Jose in ten or so years should the situation there unfold as expected.
The Giants dispute with the A’s regarding the territory is different from a case involving another club. For precedent see the Nationals moving into Orioles territory, which MLB and the owners supported. We all know Tampa can’t work without a new stadium and only seems to work at all when the team is playing well. If their current run of futility continues you may have a franchise withering on the vine in 5-10 years when it becomes possible to get out of their lease in Tampa.
Right now the ball is in Davis’s Court, and suspect he is heading to LA ASAP. It is entirely possible that is exactly what he wanted all along, to prove to the NFL that it is impossible to build a New Stadium in the Bay Area (remember he could have built in Santa Clara with the 49ers but chose not to) I know he could still rent from the 49ers, but why as a Raiders Cheerleader/Owner would he be willing to accept another Decade (or more) sharing with the 49ers, anymore than doing it with the A’s? This is particularly true, because of the possibility of the Rams moving back to LA, which would mean either that outlet being blocked off (Stan Kroenke building a Stadium), or require…… you guessed it sharing. I suspect that they will be playing in the LA Coliseum in 2015 (by the way, at perfect way for the USC Trojans to help pay for the badly needed upgrades and repairs @ the Coliseum). Once the 2014 Season ends it will be interesting to see, how fast Davis heads for LA.
Montreal isn’t happening *today* but I wouldn’t discount it at all. Anyone who throws the “it failed before they’ll never go back” line fails to follow MLB’s long history of returning to locations they’ve previously left. Wolff’s has already thrown out Montreal as a possibility for the A’s, but given enough time, you could potentially see a team like the Rays in the future start kicking those tires.
Montreal isn’t happening and it certainly doesn’t open up San Jose to the Rays.
@ML, If the Raiders can get a CC stadium deal done before the end of this year, then when would be the earliest date that the A’s would be forced to vacate the Coliseum under the proposed new lease agreement? I am curious as to the earliest time frame needed for the A’s to get a temporary facility built, if they so choose that option.
BTW, I erroneously posted this comment on previous older topic.
The A’s moving to Montreal creates a division realignment problem that the other owners likely don’t want to deal with.
The A’s in Montreal means that someone from the AL Central, likely KC, has to move to the AL West. The team that has to move likely won’t be happy because it means more travel plus more pacific time zone games which hurts their viewership.
While the Montreal A’s could replace the AL Central team, they would likely want them in the AL East, meaning more than likely the Rays would move to the Central. This would hurt the Rays even more as they would lose games against the big east coast markets.
MLB could also consider moving some teams between leagues to solve the alignment problem but that just means more teams that will be impacted.
The players union also wouldn’t be thrilled about this because of the tax implications on the players.
These are just more reasons why Montreal isn’t happening.
So, at a minimum Oakland wants the A’s to stay at the Coliseum until 2019. The A’s want to leave the Coliseum as early as 2017. Oakland wants 2019. The A’s want 2017.
I wonder if the Raider would weigh in on the A’s behalf since 2017 is better suited for the Raiders demands opposed to 2019.
Good lord. this guy posts a detailed, point by point analysis of why Montreal is a good fit for a team, tons of evidence, etc.
People’s responses: “nah”
“The A’s in Montreal means that someone from the AL Central, likely KC, has to move to the AL West. The team that has to move likely won’t be happy because it means more travel plus more pacific time zone games which hurts their viewership.”
I don’t know that KC would want to move, but there would only be 2 AL West teams left in PST if the A’s moved east, and more teams in CST than PST.
Love Montreal as the next (and only real possibility) market, but it doesn’t get done without a bona fide stadium plan in place. Without that, it’s just like a bunch of other markets that would only work if you had an eccentric multibillionaire not worried about profits and willing to build a MLB-appropriate venue on mostly his/her own dime.
^I don’t think that’s a fair characterization of the replies. I read several responses providing reasoned opinions on the topic.
OaklandfanEC, you make a strong case for MLB returning to Montreal someday, but I don’t think it would be the A’s unless Wolff/Fischer decide to sell the team or relocate out of the area — neither of which have they shown any interest in doing. All indications are that Wolff intends to keep and pass his share onto his son, and he has repeatedly said he isn’t interested in moving the team out of the Bay Area. The wildcard could be Fischer as his opinions are never shared directly, but I have to believe he’s on the same page as Wolff who is the voice of ownership.
So IMO, the best chance of a team moving to Montreal would be Tampa doing so at the end of their lease, or Wolff/Fischer doing a 180 and deciding to sell the team at some future date. Inferring from the terms they have negotiated, my guess is that would be several years from now at best as they seem willing to lock into the Coliseum for at least 2 years and possibly up to 10. Basically, they seem fine with playing there for now until something better can be locked in locally.
Note: that first comment was directed at Jeopardy, not Mark.
I think the Rays argument misses the fact that they have a deeply-binding lease situation and no way out of it. Further, the Tampa market is actually pretty good – probably better than Miami. The issue there is stadium location more than anything. The plan in Tampa Bay appears to be ride out the lease and build a new park in a more central locale.
Oakland, meanwhile, has an ownership group that has publicly advocated relocating from the city for 15 years. San Jose is “the same market” in many people’s mind but it’s really not. San Jose is 40 miles away from Oakland and it is more akin to Washington-Baltimore’s relationship than say Manhattan and Brooklyn or even Oakland and SF.
Lastly, the options aren’t looking too good in Oakland – San Jose is clearly not happening – and MLB has given authorization to the A’s ownership to leave the area. Where is the mystery here? With the recent sales prices in MLB and and the high quality product that is offered the A’s ownership stands to make a mint off of a sale.
As soon as the A’s leave the Bay Area San Jose can become the new “MLB stalking horse” to keep other municipalities in line – aka Tampa. The ship for a new stadium appears to be sailing for the A’s in the bay area in large part because the current ownership is not committed to the current city and can’t make a deal elsewhere after 15 years. Surely these guys are ready to throw in the towel and cash-in. Only MLB opposition or dedicated Oakland owners can prevent an A’s relocation and we have neither. Meanwhile a tremendous, probably better market exists.
Trivial concerns such as “realignment” are not significant. I’d expect the A’s to end up in the East, the Rays to the Central, and the Royals to the West.
Here’s a taste of the Tampa lease situation:
Key takeaways: Lease is through 2027 and the local government isn’t about to give any discounts if they want to leave. The team will be there for at least another decade.
The A’s TV revenue isn’t all that bad despite being just above 30,000 viewers per game. The Blue Jays have a strangle hold on Canadian TV. Watch this video starting at the 9 minute mark for 2 minutes:
The Blue Jays would fight like hell not to loose 1 penny from their revenue stream. You can’t just move to Montreal and expect money to be there like it is in Oakland….despite the stadium situation.
“With the recent sales prices in MLB and and the high quality product that is offered the A’s ownership stands to make a mint off of a sale.”
Most sports teams are now sold at 5 times their yearly revenue (minimum). That puts the A’s at over $900 million. No reason for Wolff and company to sell for less; and nobody is going to pay that and then move to Montreal. Nor is anyone going to pay that price and build at Howard Terminal for that matter.
None of this matters as the team isn’t for sale. The A’s are a profitable appreciating asset. The stadium situation sucks, but the current group isn’t going to quit because of it. This is a legacy for them. More importantly the lease is going to be approved as soon as next Wednesday. Apparently Pat Kernighan has softened her stance as well. The only way the A’s get forced out anytime soon is if the Davis leverages against the team. Don’t hold your breath on that.
ML tweeted this earlier. It’s worth reading:
In fact, the A’s have a better shot at winning the Super Bowl than the Raiders do for receiving public financing. There is absolutely no way the taxpayers of Alameda County will tolerate building cathedrals of sport for billionaire owners. It will never happen. The A’s seem to understand the political temperature of the East Bay, the Raiders do not.
1. The “lease” doesn’t lock the A’s into anything. Getting out of the entire thing would cost what, $10 million? You can’t seriously believe that amount of money would prevent a move or sale…
2. The Coliseum City development hasn’t announced financing publicly but I haven’t heard any specific mention of public funding for the Raiders stadium. Based on the other deals we’ve seen in Quan’s term I expect to find overseas cash financing the entire thing. Quan takes a lot of shit but big development deals have been approved under watch that have brought tons of money to Oakland. Whomever gets to develop the Coliseum site will make money – that’s why it seems to be Wolff’s last play. Without control over the development rights at that site, which I can guarantee Oakland won’t give him, what move will Wolff have other than a sale? Remember he’s just the front man, not the big money.
Regarding media in Canada – Canada’s population is around 35 million people. There is plenty of room for another baseball team. Further, the Blue Jays don’t have any special rights – the Expos were there first, remember. Finally, as you may have read above, there is a huge French-language market and commensurate cable TV/media deals involved. Rogers et al have no influence there and the likely big Montreal investor is Quebecor, who is a huge cable tv, newspaper, and mobile phone provider in Quebec. Yes, they absolutely can buy a team for $900 million and split the difference on a ballpark with the city/province.
@OaklandfanEC – I wrote about the Montreal possibility last December. While the feasibility study that was produced was fairly thorough, the case for Montreal still has many questions.
1. Quebecor is a solid media company in Quebec. However its market cap is barely over $3 billion CAN. It lost $166 million last year. It doesn’t have the kind of cash to buy a team. If anyone’s going to buy a team it’d have to be some other entity, probably a billionaire with cash to burn, not Quebecor.
2. Interests looking to pull either the Rays or the A’s from their respective cities don’t understand how the move game works. A temporary stadium to host a team for a few years while a new park deal is worked out is not going to cut it. MLB already saw that happen in DC, and the move was highly jeopardized in the process. Unless there is an actual stadium that’s ready to move into, that will generate greater revenue for MLB as a whole, they’re not interested. Of the last 4 expansion teams, the 2 Western teams (Dbacks & Rockies) had new stadium deals sorted out in short order. The 2 Florida teams had crappy or shared stadium situations. MLB has no interest in dealing with those ordeals in “new” markets. Why trade one market’s stadium problem for another’s?
3. The original feasibility study underestimated costs and franchise values. The franchise valuation game has only gotten worse as muppet151 said. If Wolff & Fisher ever want to sell, they’ll be in the catbird seat because it’s a seller’s market. There will be no shortage of Bay Area interests wanting to get involved, a war between hedge fund types and tech billionaires, all looking to keep Beane in the fold (he has an option to leave if the team is sold). Even when the A’s weren’t doing well on the field Wolff seemed to enjoy being an owner, and he has designs on passing the team down.
I’m not saying Montreal and Warren Cromartie shouldn’t give up on trying to get baseball back. I am saying that the A’s, even in their limited state, are out of Montreal’s league thanks to the potential within. Ownership knows that.
The Montreal option doesn’t fit the A’s on several important points. So even if Montreal is potentially viable, it just isn’t a fit for the A’s.
To start why would LW risk it when he has still has the possibility of a new Coliseum? Given the recent laughable negotiating skill demonstrated by Oakland, showing they lack a backbone to back up their rhetoric, MLB/LW must feel pretty good about the potential to bully Oakland. And while a direct cash subsidy is almost certainly out of the question, the nature of Politicians (especially like pols in Oakland), they may attempt to worm their way into a sufficient backdoor subsidy.
Then do not forget that the Bay Area has a lot of money floating around. Any owner would not be unhappy to have the Bay Area’s potential for income and valuation…..not to mention LW’s string ties to the Bay Area.
Further, despite some who state to the contrary, SJ is far from dead. MLB owners just haven’t, in my estimation, been given the right impetus to OK San Jose. Yet there are several things that could happen that would make MLB owners turn their back on the Giants. MLB operate with paranoia (IMHO thanks to how ATE has molded their thought process – they are different from NFL, NBA, NHL) and that paranoia will turn on the Giants quickly with the right impetus.
Lastly, even with how clear the unsatisfactory nature of the current stadium is, when welfare is factored in the A’s are far from a company leaking money. Why change the status quo for what is a gamble on Montreal? As I see it LW and MLB is making the best move for today — which is to get the extension done with Oakland. They A’s now have a minimum of 2 years (or is it 3?) of certainty while they can let the process play out. And every month it plays out is a benefit to LW because, unfortunately for Oakland Pols and the Oakland only crowd, the Oakland Pols are their own worst enemy. Smart money says Oakland will screw up and help push the hand of LW’s bosses at the MLB Headquarters.
Just my two cents…
Good post TW.
TW – I agree, but for some reason Wolff clearly wants the A’s out of Oakland. He’s said as much openly for 15 years.
Regarding ownership, again, there are a good dozen or so billionaires in Montreal and plenty of other rich people. I would expect a handful of financial interests to pool-in together. Quebecor does $10 billion in revenue per year – they’re no slouch and are a public, growth-oriented company. MLB on their tv networks, stadium rights, and partial ownership of a team can be a way to elevate their business – this is why they’ve shown that interest in NHL and MLB. More important they’re a credible partner to the provincial government with the means to get a stadium deal approved.
I also think your $900 million figure is crazy – Forbes lists the A’s at $495
http://www.forbes.com/mlb-valuations/list/ which sounds much more likely.
Montreal would need to meet two major requirements before they would even be considered for a possible MLB franchise, and does not have either one. First, Montreal must have willing and able local based investors to own and operate the franchise at s fully competitive MLB level. Second, Montreal has to have a fully funded MLB caliber ballpark deal already in-place. These two problematic issues remained with the Expos for many years, and which eventually led to the transfer of the franchise to another market.
@OaklandfanEC – Other giving giving a starting point as a type of framework to MLB valuations – the Forbes MLB valuations are virtually meaningless. For example, in Feb 2011 (a few months before the Guggenheim group bought the Dodgers) Forbes valuated that franchise at $900 mil. – in May of 2011, they sold for $2.2 bil. On Dec. 2012, Forbes valuated the Sac Kings at $170 mil. In May 2013 – they were sold for $535 mil.
The A’s are more likely worth close to $1 bil. or possibly even more – not $495 mil. Furthermore Wolff bought the A’s for in 2005 for $170 mil. – they’ve likely quintupled in value in 9 years, and are profitable during that time. Wolff likely is in no hurry to give up that type of investment. You may be better off trying to pry the Cleveland, Pittsburgh or Tampa Bay franchises away from their locations (if Pittsburgh slips back to being a doormat franchise – they will likely become a good candidate) Also, as ML suggests – you will need to find the equivalent of a Canadian Steve Balmer owner willing to purchase a franchise and make the move.
The A’s are not going to Montreal. Every League has a City that they can use to threaten Host Cities with. The NFL has LA, the NBA & NHL have Seattle, and MLB has Montreal. We saw this with the Kings, and Seattle. Of course, someday that weapon will be used (Maybe Mark Davis moving the Raiders to LA will be happening, and the NFL will find another City to take its place). What will happen is some kind of deal to keep the A’s at the Coliseum and giving Wolff Developmental Rights.
People, PLEASE stop the “Raiders could move to L.A.” garbage. Simply put, it CANM NOT happen. 1st off, the other 31 owners will NEVER approve of a petition (if ever offered) from the Raiders to move to L.A. in their current business set-up (Davis as controlling general partner). Davis will not sell. 2. Davis does NOT have the $$$ to fight a battle in court vs. the mighty NFL. 3. The NFL has a model for any petitioning owner who would like to relocate to SoCal. That model is that the petitioning owner has the ability to purchase his own land (e.g. the Rams’ Stan Kroenke-60 acres in Inglewood), and can also construct/own/operate his own venue without 3rd party financial assistance. That is NOT Mark Davis. He has shown no interest in selling the team, so the Raiders to L.A. talk is just that, all talk, no substance.
Oakraider- and no one in Seattle thought the sonics would leave- Mark Davis has a franchise that is worth multi-billions of dollars- when his mother passes on expect him to make a decision to take the money and run- enjoy our windfall that mom and dad left you- raiders are heading to Santa Clara near-term and then we will see how things transition for Mrs. Davis-
@ GoA’s – I agree in relation to Santa Clara. I can see them leasing Levi’s Stadium as a possibility.