Lew Wolff and Mark Davis meet with Coliseum JPA

The second item in the most recent Matier and Ross column is short albeit promising one.

It was a rare sight indeed — A’s co-ownerLew Wolff, Raiders owner Mark Davis and their advisers in the same room with members of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, talking about building separate stadiums on the Coliseum site.

Not much was said beyond that, especially from anyone on the JPA. Still, it’s an encouraging sign that the JPA and the two teams are on the road to a viable Coliseum City alternative. Even with this rather small step, it’s better partnership than Coliseum City, which has at been given a lukewarm response from Davis and a decided nay from Wolff.

I don’t expect any plans soon, but the winter would be a good time for an unveiling. Oakland would be past the election craziness and its holiday recess. Barring a lengthy last-minute ENA extension, it’s also likely that we’ll know the fate of Coliseum City.

If you want to dream about an Oakland ballpark in earnest, now’s a good time to start.

41 thoughts on “Lew Wolff and Mark Davis meet with Coliseum JPA

  1. Still just seems like Wolff’s obligation to show he’s negotiating in good faith. I personally put next to no stock in this occurrence. As for Davis, well he just never knows what he’s doing.

  2. I’ll look at this in a glass half full kind of way. Although SMG may be 100% right about this just being the good faith obligation filler. We’ll see. But any talks that included the county are going to include debt talk. That’s not only important, it’s essential to actually building anything. It’s a subject that has been painfully absent from the city’s talking heads promoting Coliseum City.

    If you missed it the city is starting to play hard ball with the Coliseum City developers too. Not just with one liners but putting their concerns in writing, a sign the ENA won’t be renewed. That’s a good sign towards getting serious with Wolff and land deal:

    It’s good Davis was there. Maybe he’ll realize BayIG talks big but aren’t as willing to pay what it takes to get a stadium done for him. Plus if there’s any truth to yesterday’s story the NFL is looking (working?) at a $2 billion sale price for the Raiders. That’s a nice parting gift.

    But for the A’s, JPA/county talk is a thing. Debt is that important. It’s a conversation that began months ago with regards to a land deal and after the M&R article it’s a conversation that has only continued. So this is a positive sign.

    I hope.

  3. I always believed that if the Coliseum site was to ever include new sports facilities for both the A’s and Raiders, Lew Wolff would have to be the primary developer. Until the current CC plan is finally put off the table, nothing will transpire. I can see two new facilities being constructed at different times, with the Raiders moving temporarily to Santa Clara while a new football stadium gets built on the same Coliseum footprint. It could be done.

  4. @ SMG

    You could be correct my guess is no better then yours, but I think (hope), we are beyond the window dressing stage, that’s certainly not meant to imply, that a scaled down version of coliseum city is a done deal or anything (still not sure if it’s even possible),but the fact that the two men are sitting down and actually taking with the JPA, suggest that both are willing to find out, and that by itself would constitutes more then window dressing. (IMHO).
    More then likely Davis and Wolff have done enough talking up to this point, that if the “Good faith effort”, was all they needed to get San Jose/LA (left to do), then they would have fulfilled that requirement some time ago.

  5. Anyome who read Lew Wolff’s interview with MLB.com knows that Wolff is still holding out for San Jose, has no interest in Coliseum City, is hoping the Raiders “push him out,” has made sure that Howard Terminal is out of the way, and once again acknowledges that there are “zero” options in Oakland other than the Coliseum which he hopes the Raiders will push him out by building a stadium.

    This is just more of the same nonsense coming from Wolff and Co. They announce an architect and then start talking out of both sides of their mouths. I hope Oakland officials look at that interview in MLB.com carefully. Anyone who reads that article can clearly see that Lew Wolff still hates Oakland and is still engaging in doublespeak.

    • That may be true. But Oakland has no choice but to deal with Wolff, and Wolff has no choice but to partner with Oakland. Either make it work or make a call it a divorce.

      • I would have called for the divorce as soon as Wolff threatened to relocate immediately unless he got his convenient lease and Oakland’s 5 million dollars.

        Oakland doesn’t need to continue to humiliate itself by agreeing to a convenient lease for Mr. Wolff.

        It’s time for Wolff to stop playing games. You want San Jose, then go for it. What I resent are Wolff’s lies as he uses Oakland for his convenience.

    • Not wanting to build in Oakland = Hating Oakland. Got it. Genius analysis there. Nonsense really, but hey, whatever. Instead of taking this window of opportunity to make a genuine, realistic pitch to the A’s and MLB as a whole, attack the person.

      • In Elmano’s world, Wolff should just submit to the Coliseum City plan and pay $500 million for a new ballpark, with no regard to making his investment back. Also in Elmano’s world – Mark Davis + looking to move to San Antonio or LA + using tarps = good guy, while Lew Wolff + looking to move to San Jose + using tarps = bad guy. Go figure

  6. MD knows Oakland is the only place on this planet that will build a new stadium for the raiders for free . LA and SA are just dreams unless MD sells the team. MD knows it but he is strutting around like some big sh#t . LA people ain’t gonna build a new stadium unless they own the raiders or become majority owner(s)

    The solution is obvious if Oakland can pull its head out of you know what.

    • Oakland has no money for stadiums. If Oakland could build Davis a stadium for free, it would already be well under construction.

      • @pjk: don’t underestimate the pols in Oakland. The raiders left once, came back, got the mount davis for free

        MD is hanging around now because he wants to see if Oakland will come through again for the raiders.

    • Even Davis doesn’t think Oakland will be able to build him a stadium for free.

    • Daniel: Oakland has had to cut its police force and has $2 billion worth of unfunded pension liabilities. Please explain how Oakland ponies up $1 billion for a rarely-to-be-used football stadium, or even $10 for one, under these circumstances.

  7. PJK,

    Is that newballpark for the people of Oakland or for Lew Wolff? Wolff wants a new ballpark for his Oakland A’s. Wolff bought the Oakland A’s, not the San Jose A’s, not the Dublin A’s, not the Timbaktu A’s. If Wolff wants a ballpark for HIS Oakland A’s, then he should build one in Oakland. The value of his franchises increases with a new ballpark for the Oakland A’s.

    How about for once the money changers do the right thing and invest in an area that needs it instead of taking more capital where it’s not needed. The dis investment in Oakland by the money changers is obscene and needs to be called out.

    Wolff kept 5 million of badly needed revenue from Oakland by threatening and bullying the city. The least this very wealthy man could do is build his ballpark and contribute to the revitalization of Oakland. We have developers investing millions in a huge new entertainment center in Jack London Square called “Plank.” Where is Lew Wolff when it comes to investing in anything in Oakland?

    This is why I say Lew Wolff hates Oakland. I think it’s that he refuses to believe in Oakland as a city based on his distaste for the demographics. Other open minded developers don’t seem to have a problem investing in Oakland.

    • Yes, Wolff “hates” Oakland. Why am I even arguing this nonsense? Anyone who says “Wolff hates Oakland” shows his credibility to be sub-zero.

      • Wolff’s actions speak for themselves. Everyone knows this. It’s no secret. He’s doing what he’s done for the last ten years. He plays games with Oakland as he has pancakes with the Mayor of San Jose while telling him he believes San Jose is going to happen.

        Wolff then plays nice with Oakland and throws the city a bone implying that he’s interested in the Coliseum area for a new ballpark, while at the same time, working on a nice convenient lease and pocketing 5 million dollars of Oakland taxpayer money.

        Right after the convenient lease in Oakland is secured he announces the he’s hired an architect. This is purely public relations BS. Wolff then has an interview with MLB.com and let’s everyone know what he’s really up to.

    • I’m now operating on the theory that Wolff reads this blog but doesn’t hate Oakland, he just hates you.

    • Everything about Elmano’s rant says Wolff should contribute a half-billion-dollar ballpark to Oakland because the city is entitled to it, regardless of whether it makes the A’s owners financial sense to do so. Good luck with that. And didn’t the A’s negotiate that $5 million? How about the A’s give back the $5 million and MLB stops subsidizing the A’s to the tune of $30 million+ per year? What happens to MLB baseball in Oakland then? It goes bye bye quickly. Oakland is a cost center, not a profit center, for MLB.

  8. Elmano: Bud Selig, the commissioner for the past 20 years, called the A’s 1968 move to Oakland “a horrible mistake.” When he looks back on nearly 50 years of mostly sub-par attendance, favoritism toward the Raiders and the city’s being unable to get a new ballpark built (since it feels it is entitled to a free ballpark), I’m sure Selig today feels very vindicated in having made that statement. But here we have Selig and MLB still insisting the Wolff/Fisher try again to make a go of it in Oakland.

    • Elmano: If Wolff is a “cost center,” maybe he should stop letting fans in for $2? Stop charging $40something to sit behind the dugout when the Giants charge – what is it? – 3 times that for seats like that? Maybe Wolff should stop letting people park for free on Tuesday nights and get rid of the “value deck” tickets that come with a nice serving of food? There’s lots of ways Wolff can try to squeeze more money out of the fans so he is not a “cost center.” But this so-called eternal bad guy offers the best bargains in all of major pro sports.

      • Yeah, that’s quite a “bargain” for Oakland. Wolff certainly does make it up in the back end with 5 million from the city which could have gone for paving streets or for hiring more gardeners at Lake Merritt.

        The only way Wolff could repay Oakland is by investing in a ballpark in an area in downtown or at Jack London Square where it would have a multiplying effect on Oakland’s economy. Until that time, Wolff is just a taker not contributing anything to the betterment of Oakland as a city and just lining his pockets.

    • Oakland is part of the Bay Area. If moving to Oakland in 1968 was a horrible mistake and attendance is sub-par, then moving to the Bay Area was a mistake, and attendance anywhere in the Bay Area would have been sub-par. Building a new ballpark (in SJ or Oak) may somewhat mitigate the attendance concerns, but after the glitter of a new ballpark is over, attendance will probably still be a concern.

  9. Yes, we know how Selig and Wolff feel about Oakland.

    I doubt that a team which is about to draw 2 million fans in an older stadium, for an owner who has been telling his customers for ten years that their city and their patronage is not good enough for him, should be considered a “horrible mistake” by any fair minded person.

    Oakland is about to draw 2,000,000 fans despite Lew’s antics and despite tarps which have suppressed attendance by turning people away from those so called “sold out” games.

    • Elmano: 2 million fans leaves the A’s in the bottom rung of attendance. Big deal. Stop making the 2 million figure out to be some kind of remarkable milestone when it’s not. And would you support Mean Old Lew Wolff raising ticket prices, getting rid of free parking, etc, so the A’s are less of a “cost center?”….The tarps again. All the tarps have done is suppress the number of actual empty seats. And of course, Mark Davis uses tarps now, free of any criticism. Go figure.

      • And let’s do the math: Weak attendance + cheap tickets + expensive players = A’s needing to be subsidized by MLB every year. In most franchise-based businesses (Carl’s Jr, Starbucks, Boston Market, etc) money-losing franchises are quickly shut down. (The Carl’s Jr. down the street from house shut down a year or so ago.) But MLB has continued to prop up the A’s despite the always-flowing red ink, which is masked by $30 million+ of revenue-sharing checks ever year.

  10. PJK,

    Once again you don’t seem to understand how a “league” works.

    Why don’t we start shutting down the real “horrible mistakes” in MLB before we start harping on one of the most successful franchises in recent MLB history.

    Let’s “shut down” those two “horrible mistakes” in Florida. Or, how about Kansas City, the Chicago White Sox, the Cleveland Indians or the Houston Astros since they all have drawn less than the “Hawwwrible Mistake” Oakland A’s?

    Wolff and MLB don’t desere Oakland and the best fans in MLB.

  11. So you’re saying a “league” is acceptable of having weak, money-losing franchises? Uh, no it’s not. If that were the case we’d have teams in Helene Montana, Anchorage, Alaska. All sports leagues want all their franchises generating profits, not dragging down the rest of the league by losing money…How much revenue are the White Sox, Astros, etc generating?I’ll bet it’s more than the A’s – successful on the field in Oakland but an utter disaster financially….re: best fans. Unfortunately, quantity of fans willing to spend a lot of money is more important than having a small base of few fans who follow a team with cult-like fervor. A fan base like that results in a team that needs revenue-sharing because it doesn’t make enough money.

  12. As long as the A’s continue play at the dumpy Coliseum – their attendance cant’ be knocked. However, San Jose might still be very much in play. Manfred (not Selig) if you recall, said that the A’s could move any place (implying San Jose would be ok too) If Oakland officials didn’t OK the 10 year lease. Since Manfred is the new commish starting 2015, that could be significant.

    MLB’s argument towards the Giants is that they don’t understand how the giants believe they could lose fans to the A’s if the A’s move 40 miles further from SF. Judging by Manfred (appearing to be decisive and a no b.s. type of commissioner – very un-Selig like) the A’s debacle might soon be decided.

  13. from that Raiders-to-LA article: the Raiders remain in a difficult conundrum with the landscape for a new deal in northern California bleak …so much for that “deal” we heard about in Oakland a couple weeks ago.

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