Miley says the R-word

You’d think someone actually reads this blog.

Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley wrote an op-ed in the Trib on Monday, imploring the City and County to consider multiple avenues towards getting the Coliseum complex in the best position to retain the Raiders and A’s. One of the avenues Miley pushes is retrofit. Or renovation.

Yes, renovation. Now let’s be clear on the idea’s prospects. For baseball it’s a nonstarter because of the foul territory, sightlines, and numerous other reasons, so you can stop dreaming about a Bash Brothers-era Coliseum as a possibility. Instead, Miley wants to renovate the stadium for the Raiders, which would leave land available for the A’s to build a new ballpark. The rationale, Miley notes, is that the funding gap that looms over the project would be significantly reduced if a less costly renovation project were undertaken instead of a whole new stadium whose price tag approaches $900 million – for only 56,000 seats. Renovation would cost around $500 million, a figure I’ve touted here and there. The Raiders and the NFL apparently have no interest in renovation, but in some cases they have signed off on improvements projects like Soldier Field, Lambeau Field, Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo, and most recently Sun Life Stadium in Miami – all cases in which the market was hostile towards subsidizing a new stadium.

I have advocated for this solution for years, mostly because the Coliseum works best going forward as a football venue. Mt. Davis may be ugly as sin, but its bones are good and it would require only a relative handful of improvements to get it up to 2016 status. For instance:

  1. Remove the upper nine rows of the lower deck, east side. Open the concourse, add in bars with views of the field and drink rails.
  2. In some locations, install “living room-style” loges along the concourse.
  3. Remove a couple rows to provide better views from the wheelchair areas.
  4. Redo the club seating sections to create two small tiers. Club would be glassed in and provide views.
  5. Remove the entire upper deck, transform it into a party deck.
  6. Modernize the first two levels of suites with new technology.
  7. Transform the upper (third) suite level into another club and party suites.
  8. Freshen up all concourses and other public areas.

You’d end up with around 10,000 seats on the east side including 60 suites and 3,000 club seats. That leaves another 45,000 seats, 20-40 suites, and around 2,000 additional club seats (inclusive of total capacity) to account for. Getting to a $500 million project is doable, as long as you aren’t trying to pile on the square footage. Keep most of the structure fairly basic and concentrate on keeping the amenities in a single, focused area.

Early stages of construction at the Coliseum in 1965

Early stages of construction at the Coliseum in 1965

See how there are man made hills in the picture above? There’s no square footage in those hills, no electrical, plumbing, or HVAC. That’s how stadia were kept relatively cheap. New stadia are all about building out as much of the venue as possible, so much that modern football stadia have twice as much square footage as their predecessors. Mark Davis has said on multiple occasions that he doesn’t need a stadium as fancy as Levi’s or AT&T Stadium, so he should be obliged.

Two-deck bowl built adjacent to existing east stand

Two-deck bowl built adjacent to existing east stand

As the east side gets a makeover, the original bowl is torn down. The old berm is reshaped for the new lower seating bowl at the end zones. The west sideline has space underneath the lower bowl for locker rooms, maintenance, and storage. That leads to the new seating.

  • Lower 3/4 deck: 21,500 seats
  • Upper 3/4 deck: 20,500 seats
  • Field or mezzanine club: 1,500 seats
  • 40 suites: 500 seats
  • Standing room: 1,000 spaces

The key to this layout is that there’s only one concourse in the new bowl. That’s a bit of a nod to Levi’s, where the lower concourse is vast. The second deck is not really cantilevered over the first deck. Behind the second deck is a two-level suite and press addition. Total capacity is 55,000 seats and could have 4,000 more seats by adding 6 rows to the upper deck.

Stanford Stadium and the Citrus Bowl used similar approaches, and while those builds weren’t as complicated as this, the same principles apply. Done aggressively, this shouldn’t take more than 18-24 months to complete. Obviously there would be questions about where the Raiders would play temporarily and the A’s displacement, but those are for another post. Want a renovation? Here’s an example, if Mark Davis is actually interested in a solution.

123 thoughts on “Miley says the R-word

  1. The “R” word for this proposal is “Ridiculous”!

    • Respectfully Mr. Kephart, why? It’s basically a new stadium utilizing a relatively new eastern structure. If you know something we don’t re a COMPLETELY NEW stadium, than great. Until we hear what exactly that entails…RM’s da man!

    • @FLOYD KEPHART
      With all due respect Floyd, a renovation of the coliseum seems like a logical thing to do. It appears that Davis has a limited amount of funds for the project; Oakland/Alameda County has very little, to no funds for the project, you have not named any investors for the project.
      Floyd, where is the MONEY going to come from?
      Frankly as much as I appreciate you commenting, it gets frustrating when you make vague and elusive statements. I realize there are a lot of things you can’t say, but we are already grasping at straws as it is, we really don’t need any more straws then we already have.

    • My “R” word for that response is “REALLY!??” (in an all-caps homage, of course). You’re the chair of a financial advisory firm and you’re trolling this site with a one-liner? Not impressive, FLOYD KEPHART.

    • PREACH. Why is this even a possibility when neither team wants this? No one wants this. Oakland, along with the A’s and Raiders and their corresponding fan bases, deserve new stadia. The funding gap in question is purportedly being closed by the private financing established in CC. Chairman Miley wants to keep the options open, by bringing this up in the 11th hour…. Smdh, this is so unbelievably frustrating.

      • It’s been “purportedly” being closed for nearly two years now.

      • Why do the Raiders “deserve” a new stadium.

        They’ve already handcuffed the city and county with a ton of debt on the existing stadium.

        They’ve been given first dibs on Coliseum City for years now and haven’t been able to work anything out.

        Plus Davis has said he doesn’t want to build anything on his own.

        Beggars can’t be choosers. If they want to stay in Oakland and/or they don’t want to share a stadium, this may be their best option.

  2. The Stanford model would be the best route to go here… but it won’t!
    PS, California Report on KQED/NPR had a piece about new stadia in Carson/Inglewood and didn’t interview you!

  3. It’s not ridiculous, especially for a franchise with the funding streams that the Raiders have and the limitations that the city and county have. It’s actually quite reasonable.

  4. The things Oakland is willing to consider just to keep a football team playing within its borders for 10 afternoons a year, even when there is a brand new $1.3 billion stadium down the road that the Raiders can use. Meanwhile, there’s no progress on an A’s ballpark in Oakland.

  5. How would the current plumbing issues be addressed in the proposed reconfiguration, and what would the estimated costs run? In addition, would the field be raised above sea level?

    • The old structure and its systems would be gutted and completely rebuilt to current code. That would no longer be an issue. The field couldn’t be raised above sea level because of the effect it would have on the pre-existing east stand. A new drainage, irrigation, and pumping system would have to be built for the facility, though that could be tied into the design of the new bowl.

      • Is that really true though? They may need to reduce seats on the eastern side by a few rows, but it should be possible to raise the field if they so chose without too much of an impact on the eastern structure since the majority of it is raised and they’d likely want to install more permanent seating in the place of the temps anyway.

      • To properly mitigate the sea level effects you have to raise the field 20-22 feet. Then the lower concourse is only 6 feet above the field. Once you start doing that you have to re-engineer everything.

  6. Davis has already explained that the Raiders are not interested in leasing at Levi’s – that being a co-owner at the Carson site would be preferable to leasing.

    Also it appears that the A’s plan of building in Oakland is losing momentum. Wolff’s asserting that the A’s want total control of developing their property at the CC site (who can blame the A’s for that though) and A’s minority owner Saperstein commenting that the A’s are still focused on San Jose.

    • This is not about San Jose, though I have to point out that Saperstein was asked what city he’d prefer to build in, not what city he was focused on. There’s a difference. Don’t drag San Jose further into this thread.

  7. All along Mark Davis was quoted as saying that he preferred the Raiders new stadium to be on the original footprint of the Coliseum. Maybe even back then he had the idea that a partially rebuilt/renovated Coliseum was an acceptable and doable way to go.

    • Then why did the team reject the idea over the last few weeks? (at least according to Miley)

      • SMG,

        It hasn’t really been addressed, but again the question: renovate the old bowl, OR RM’s idea of tearing down and building new? I’m not really seeing what Miley’s proposing.

        Sure, renovating the old bowl is ridiculous and should be rejected. Tearing down/building new? Has that been proposed? We don’t know. RM?

      • @ SMG/ Tony D.
        A tear down of the older potion of the coliseum (build new around MD), is a good idea. I don’t see why the NFL/Raiders would go for such an idea. I believe the MD portion of the coliseum is newer then then the stadium in Miami, and they are upgrading that. If the NFL or the Raiders have a problem, they can figure out ways to close the funding gape, or go to LA.

      • I take what Mark Davis has said over a period of time over what had been said at one instance. Mark Davis has publicly stated that he values the Raiders East Bay blue collar fan base, and would prefer that the Raiders stay in Oakland, for that reason. I take him at his word, and if a partial rebuilt/renovated Coliseum can be built at half the cost of a new shared facility in Los Angeles, I’m almost certain that Mark Davis would be very interested to get a Coliseum deal done..

      • Articles are claiming that the renovation idea was directly talked about with the Raiders and NFL and they rejected it. So either the Raiders and the NFL don’t want a renovation or the articles are intentionally and egregiously lying.

        Mark Davis’ words are beyond meaningless.

      • @ SMG
        If Davis and the NFL already said no (retrofit /renovation), I wonder if it had anything to do with the information, that manimalof7 posted below. I mean if a rebuild around mount Davis is too difficult, I can understand why Davis/NFL already said no. if true it’s too bad, because I think Davis would consider it.

      • All of those issues can be EASILY addressed in a rebuild. This doesn’t have to be difficult. Quite the contrary.

        As for the East Side, it’s comparable in structural design (if not upkeep and finish) to many recently built stadia. Look at Lincoln Financial Field in Philly. Very reminiscent.

      • @ML

        Thanks.

  8. It sounds doable….but the Raiders and NFL will NEVER go for it.

  9. The problem is that Mount Davis was built in a non-optimum manner for football because of the baseball conversion. The first row of the club seats are at least 170 feet away from the field given that there is no overhang over the first deck (2.75 feet per row X 46 rows + 55 feet of sideline area = 171.5). By contrast the club seats on the west side, even with the 90 feet of sideline area at the 50, are actually closer (2.75 X 28 rows + 90 feet of sideline area = 167) and get progressively closer as you move away from the 50, while the east side doesn’t until you get to about the goal lines.

    There’s a reason that any unsold seats at Raider games since the tarps were put in are always the east side club seats and the first level in the corners (135-137, 147-149). While the sunny/visitors side is a factor, they are also not very good seats.

    • Not arguing here, because I truly am not sure on this, but aren’t there 38 rows in the lower level of the Coliseum?

      Also don’t the west side suites actually sit above the back end of the concourse so they’re not really right on top of the last row of the field level unlike the east side?

      In terms of the overhang, I don’t think most newer stadiums have much of an overhang either so I’m not sure the east side is that far off from where club suites are located in a lot of newer stadiums. It’s definitely possible though that the pitch of the first deck in Mt Davis is less than that of a lot of newer stadiums, which might have been done for the baseball configuration.

      • There might be 38 rows in the lower level west side, but the overhang (i.e. club seats) begin around row 28/29, so that’s where he’s measuring from.

      • Gotcha. I didn’t realize that the Plaza Level was considered club seats for the Raiders. I thought it was in reference to the boxes.

  10. The Raiders and the NFL already rejected this from what I heard.

  11. Just checked out pix of Lincoln Financial Field. No reason a “New” Coliseum with completely revamped Mt. Davis can’t look similar. Heck, I’d bet the height of the Lincoln structures are similar to Mt. Davis’ (?).

    Just my opinion RM, but I’d personally leave about 6 rows of the upper deck of Mt. Davis Intact and build the new two-deck structure up to similar height. Would also add a light – incorporated roof above Mt. Davis/new structure like Lincoln’s.

  12. I always felt renovation for the Colosseum would be the best solution then we can focus on getting a ballpark somewhere on the Coliseum property for the A’s

  13. @louis – New stadium or renovated Coli for the Raiders = A’s out clause exercised.

  14. I believe that Mark Davis has publicly stated that he will abide by the NFL’s decisions as to the future relocations of teams to other markets, including LA. He has to be well aware that there is no guarantee that the NFL will approve the Raiders move from the Bay Area, especially with a brand new state-of-the-art facility just some thirty plus miles down the road. With that possibility in mind, the idea of having his very own partially rebuilt/renovated stadium in Oakland is likely looking more and more as an acceptable and doable option for Davis.

    • You’re still ignoring the fact that the team and league both already rejected the renovation idea.

      • Of course they did, because at this point there are better options from the perspective of the Raiders and the NFL that are still out there.

        What llpec is saying is that if these options fall off the table (which is likely), both the Raiders and the league will have to reevaluate.

      • LA isn’t going to just magically disappear as an option. A lot more things would have to fall apart down there for a deal to fail compared with Oakland, where there is no plan and no deal and doesn’t look to be one anytime soon.

      • @SMG
        It’s true; Davis has said on more than one occasion, that he is not interested in a renovation/rebuild. I can’t help but to think however, if there is an owner that may consider it (forced or otherwise), that owner would be Davis.

      • @SMG – LA disappears as an option for the Raiders if the NFL says it wants two teams in LA and goes with the Rams and the Chargers.

        I doubt the NFL wants to go from 0 to 3 teams in LA. Plus it presents TV contract issues with two teams in the same conference.

        Both the Chargers and the Rams have the ability to go it alone. The Raiders don’t. Plus the Raiders have Levi’s in their current market and the NFL wanted the Raiders to go in on Levi’s from the start.

        If the NFL is picking two of the three teams, the Raiders have the least going for them in that decision.

        Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen, but it’s definitely not magic for the Raiders to lose out.

  15. @Slacker,

    Thanks!

  16. I have some optimism for Oakland Raiders fans. When the AT&T/Directv merger goes through, maybe you’ll be able to order Sunday Ticket on U-Verse and not have to install an ugly dish.
    Personally, I’ll be streaming all the Raiders games via the usual pirates sites Raiders via pirate sites 🙂 and Chromecast them to my flatscreen.
    I haven’t bought a ticket since the Gruden days. The NFL looks too nice at home. I have an OTA Clearstream2V on my patio. I get all the games in free glorious HD. (Just HD, baby!)

    As nice as it is having the Raiders in the east bay, it’s not like 1981. First of all the franchise has been a complete failure leading to the move to L.A. Secondly, I was just a teeny bopper in ’81 and watching the bad asses of the NFL leave was a punch in the gut. With the 3 and 13 seasons, I can easily block the jab and enjoy the technologies that were not available thirty years ago.

  17. if there’s confirmed private investment upwards of $2 bil along w/Mark’s now $500 mil (up from the prev reported $400 I guess)….what’s the problem w/building a brand new site? Let cheap arse wolfe do what he wants w/the current site…let the A’s retro the stadium into a smaller more baseball friendly joint….or tear it down all together should wolfe want a different location….hopefully w/in the Col City framework of course. But if the funds are private w/no risk to the City whatsoever, why should anyone want to get in the way of what both Mark & the private investment firm want. & it’s not so much the Raiders who deserve a new stadium…..it’s the loyal die hards who deserve it far more than anyone else…..especially for putting up w/all the shenanigans over the yrs from the ineptness of past local govt to get deals done to what Al did to the loyal fan base back in the early 80’s when he bailed on Nor Cal. I say let his son repay the fan base for all the hardships endured & reward the Nor Cal fan base w/a new stadium…& for the record, I love the smaller/more conservative idea….but a def NO on the retro idea as long as the private money is there.

  18. With each day that passes where Oakland concentrates on the Raiders and awaits a “commitment” from Wolfe without attempting to woo him to the bargaining table with true concessions and benefits, MLB gets the message that Oakland does not really cherish its status as an MLB city but takes it for granted. MLB wants that site and would prefer the Raiders leave. Is Oakland doing anything to make this happen? Nope. Remember the Oakland city council member’s comment that the Raiders and A’s should be begging to stay instead of the other way around? Oakland could find out in the not-too-distant future that MLB doesn’t see things that way.

    • Herein lies the problem:. San Antonio city officials, for example, fly to Oakland to meet with Davis and plead for the Raiders to move there Also, one would believe that if Wolff entertained the idea of moving the A’s to Portland, for example, Portland officials would likely give the A’s a much friendlier reception than Oakland has dealt with the A’s, what a difference between that and the behavior of Oakland city officials.

      Whereas Oakland officials make quotes such as “these people aren’t our friends” (referring to Wolff and Davis) – making comments that the A’s and Raiders should be begging to stay, and also keep insisting that no public tax dollars should be spent on ballparks, stadiums, etc. Wolff, it appears, has been correct all along about the difficulties of dealing with Oakland officials. Perhaps the new Oakland administration will be different and more cooperative and accommodating with the A’s than Oakland city officials have been in the past.

      • @duffer
        RE: “Wolff, it appears, has been correct all along about the difficulties of dealing with Oakland officials.”
        Oakland, it appears, has been correct all along about the difficulties of dealing with Lew Wolff, when he doesn’t really want to build in your city.
        It appears that both parties have been correct (to some degree) all along about the difficulties of dealing with each other.

    • @pjk
      RE: “With each day that passes where Oakland concentrates on the Raiders and awaits a “commitment” from Wolfe without attempting to woo him to the bargaining table”
      That’s because Mark Davis is (presumably), at the bargaining table with a commitment, and Wolff (presumably), is not.
      BTW: That, maybe just the way Wolff wants it.

      • Does Wolff want it that way or does he just recognize it will be that way?

      • @pjk
        It could be a little of both, but I’m sure he will champion your view in his crusade against the San Francisco Giants.

      • @LSN- read the article that ML posted earlier- according to Kephardt no one is at negotiating table- city and county still can’t work out their issues of control- new admin…same song and dance- it is beyond crazy that after 20 years of this bs they still have no idea what they are doing-

      • @GoA’s
        I realize that. To the degree that someone can be at the table, it appears that Davis is trying to (presumable), do so. And also appears that Wolff may not be. (presumable)

  19. It really all boils down to the point made many times in this blog many years ago: To keep these teams, Oakland has to provide either the public dollars or show the private investment needed to pay for stadiums at 2015’s exorbitant prices. And it’s pretty evident Oakland just can’t do it. Instead, it’s more studying, negotiating, stall, stall, stall, press conferences, press releases, pep rallies, blah blah blah. It’s pretty evident that the money is just not there. Cites that can get it done, get it done. Cities that can’t get it done hand out cardboard signs saying, “Oakland Loves Its Sports Teams.”

    • @pjk
      I don’t disagree with most of what you’re saying; all I’m saying is for a variety of reasons, Oakland, the A’s, and the Raiders have all stalled, stalled, stalled.

      • The two teams, if one of them doesn’t move before then, could be facing the embarrassing situation of still being the only MLB and NFL teams sharing the same building in 2020. Long, long after most other teams and their host cities abandoned that 1960s-70s paradigm. And that, again, is because Oakland just can’t get it done.

      • @pjk
        Your last statement has absolutely nothing to do with my point, because we all know the Raiders, and A’s (especially), have nothing to do with,why the situation is the way it is.

  20. The A’s cannot renovate the Coli for baseball only, when Mt. Davis was built that ship sailed back in 1995.

    The A’s would need to tear down the current Coli 100% and re-build on the same site since it has most of the utilities in place thus minimizing cost.

    Could the Raiders remodel? Yes, it would take pretty much a full tear down of the entire stadium but Mt. Davis and the East side club.

    Plus the seats tarped sitting above Mt. Davis, do you remove those? Keep them tarped? they just look bad sitting there without use unless Monster Jam is in town.

    I like ML’s assessment, 500M, Mt. Davis lives, the rest goes, rebuild it back up and like Chicago, Miami, Green Bay and Buffalo it works.

    This plus it requires little to no fund raising since the NFL chipped in with those other renovations as well.

    The new Coli would like nothing like the current one except for Mt. Davis. Even the portable seats in center field can be replaced with a permanent deck of seats.

    You could add club seats, suites, increase concourse size big time in a fraction of the cost.

    Oakland should get a developer to create a proposal ASAP.

    As for the A’s…..San Francisco here we come! The SF A’s!

    • When MLB suggested that the A’s would move to AT&T Park if Oakland officials wouldn’t extend the A’s lease – Wolff’s answer was that the A’s were looking into building a temporary ballpark somewhere locally – the A’s evidently have no interest in playing at phone booth park – they have never discussed the possibility of moving to the phone booth. Also. Manfred later suggested that the A’s could move anywhere they want to (including SJ) if the A’s lease wasn’t extended. An A’s temporary ballpark at the Anaya stadium site is more likely than the A’s moving to AT&T Park.

  21. I just wish both Oakland and Alameda County officials can finally get their act together to begin a serious coordinated effort to find a way to keep the Raiders in Oakland. Mark Davis should also be taking a more proactive approach to getting an Oakland stadium deal done. This passivity, on all sides, could even result in the Raiders losing out to the Rams and Chargers in the LA sweepstakes, if it comes to that.

  22. @llpec – they won’t lose out in LA because it won’t even come close. They will get it done in Oakland. Then LW can can finally skedaddle to where he has always wanted to be from day one. dltdhyotwo

    • @Djhip,

      You are probably right that Mark Davis will not be offered LA. However, that is more due to the fact that Davis expects to be offered a brand new stadium on a silver platter, whether in Oakland, LA, or any other prospective untapped market. That’s likely not going to happen. If Davis continues his passive approach to getting a new stadium for his Raiders, he will likely wind up having to choose between two unacceptable options; To either remain at the Coliseum indefinitely as is, or to share Levi’s Stadium with the 49ers.

      • @llpec – I sure hope not. Hopefully a Coli refurbishing is something that can be agreed upon by all.

  23. Leave it to all the regular actors in this saga to continue to bumble and fumble the 2 remaining big league teams in Oakland for more years to come.

  24. Just like the 49er fan backlash about Levi’s, where historically hardcore fans began rethinking their loyalties and are even trying to sell back their licenses (the few who could afford it), many Oakland A’s fans are, and have been, disgusted with this ownership for a very long time.

    I love the A’s and will always cherish my many years as an Oakland A’s fan. I will never forget our glory years and the immense pride that I and many others had wearing A’s gear during high school and college and telling G’s fans “sorry you’re a Giants fan.” Like when we were the s**t for a long time. I just don’t like this ownership and never will. I am not alone by any means. They aren’t selling, ever.

    I say let the Raiders build a new stadium in Oakland, or refurbish, and let the A’s go to SJ. That’s where LW has always wanted to be since he bought the team. They won’t sell so it is what is. Let him go to what he believes is a gold mine. Sincerely, best of luck, but let’s friggin move on already. This whole thing is a big distraction, which will end up with Oakland losing all teams.

    I think it’s possible, based upon what I have personally encountered, that many “northern fans” of both the 49ers and A’s will eventually embrace the idea of Raiders & Giants. I personally can’t follow the A’s with this ownership and many 49er fans simply hate Jed York. A commonality.

    I have friends and many acquaintances who have slowly began losing passion for the 49ers when they left for the SV and also began tearing the team apart recently. Many have even said that they were borderline going to follow the Raiders.

    Maybe this was the intent all along. Perhaps the end game is as follows:

    SF Giants and Oakland Raiders in the SF/Oakland metro
    SJ 49ers and SJ A’s in the SJ metro

    Bank on it. Let’s do it. Just leave asap LW. The East Bay doesn’t want you.

  25. I’m sure someone will accuse me of something negative toward the A’s, i.e. bandwagon, San Jose hater, whatever. Not even close.

    I have been an ardent A’s fan since I can remember and my dad took me to my first game when I was 2, back in the 70’s. As difficult as it is to say, I just can’t follow this team anymore with LW involved.

    Since he’s not going anywhere, ever, and he will obviously have a monetarily, parasitic stranglehold on the team, I have to divest my loyalties, but I am confident he wouldn’t care since I am am East Bay resident and the East Bay is income extremely poor. Who could blame him? It is a travesty that the G’s are being so selfish.

    I sincerely hope he gets approval to move soon. LW, MLB….. the East Bay will be fine. Go to SJ already. Please.

    • You do realize that the A’s can’t move to San Jose because of the Gnats, right?

      • You do realize that the Raiders permanently at the Coli makes A’s to SJ not only likely but perhaps guaranteed, right?

        BTW, much respect to you Djhip! GO RAIDERS!

      • @ Matt
        Djhip said “I sincerely hope he gets approval to move soon. LW, MLB….. The East Bay will be fine. Go to SJ already. Please.”
        So, I think he realizes it.

    • Just don’t get the Lew Wolff hate, whatsoever.

      From a baseball standpoint he runs the team almost exactly like his predecessor, and the team has had a large amount of success on the field.

      From a business standpoint, I think a lot of fanbases out there would kill for an owner dedicated to building a new ballpark with his own money in the home market without ever threatening to leave that market for leverage. Ask Seattle Sonics, Indianapolis Colts, Montreal Expos or Cleveland Browns fans what they think of Lew Wolff as an owner.

      Apparently all it takes to be hated is to acknowledge certain economic realities.

      • bartleby: There is an expectation by many A’s fans that the team should be run as a charity – owners, like Haas did, should be willing to lose lots of money running the team because they are rich anyway. If A’s revenues only justify a $90 million payroll and it costs $200 million to compete with the Yankees, then Wolff and Fisher should happily withdraw the $110 million difference from their personal bank accounts on an annual basis because they are rich, anyway. And if it costs $600 million to build a new ballpark and there is no public funding, the rich owners should be prepared to donate a ballpark on their own dime because they are rich, anyway.

      • @ bartleby
        RE: “Apparently all it takes to be hated is to acknowledge certain economic realities”,
        And to purchase the franchise for the sole purpose of moving it, while you act as if you are making an honest effort to build in the city the team has called home for almost 50 years.
        I’m not saying I agree with this, but there is a realistic augment to be made that this was Lew’s plan all along, of course Oakland’s politicians, with their buffoonery make a perfect scapegoat, but to say you “Just don’t get the Lew Wolff hate, whatsoever”, borders on the Oakland-Only folks saying they just don’t get why Lew Wolff wanted San Jose in the first place.

      • I’m with you bartleby- LW is leading the effort to keep the A’s in the Bay Area and gets a ton of shit from the local media- same media that seems to have no problem with mark davis running between LA and SA to get leverage- same media who had no problem with Lacob buying the W’s and saying he is immediately moving them to SF. The double standard by the likes of TK, RR, GD and others is amazing to me as are many of the posters here who praise Mark D while tring to make LW out to be a villian-

      • @pjk
        I wasn’t necessary making an argument for that point of view; I was only saying it’s there. To think it isn’t, or that it doesn’t have some merit, borders on the flipside of the Oakland-Only folks (IMHO) As I have said to you before, this situation remains a three city (Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco), two team (A’s, and Giants), and one league high wire soap-opera. One in which all hands are dirty, even the hands of whom you defend, Lew Wolff.

      • @GoA’s
        I agree with everything you just said. Admittedly, I don’t care for the way Wolff has gone about it at times, but in general, I agree with you. I was only pointing out that there is another side to it, a side that’s not just Oakland-Only lunatics.
        BTW Who here is praising Mark Davis?

  26. re: for the sole purpose of moving it. … Didn’t Wolff buy the franchise because his friend Selig believed if anyone could get a ballpark built in Oakland, it was Wolff? So he proposed the north of the Coliseum project (which went nowhere) and then Fremont (which went nowhere) and then San Jose (stopped by artificial restrictions imposed by MLB) and is now looking at Oakland again and hasn’t made any progress that we know of, while Oakland negotiates with the Raiders instead. We know the A’s have been in Oakland for nearly 50 years, where they’ve been one of the more successful franchises on the field and one of the more unsuccessful franchises at the Box Office.

    • @pjk
      Sorry, meant for this to be a response.
      I wasn’t necessary making an argument for that point of view; I was only saying it’s there. To think it isn’t, or that it doesn’t have some merit, borders on the flipside of the Oakland-Only folks (IMHO) As I have said to you before, this situation remains a three city (Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco), two team (A’s, and Giants), and one league high wire soap-opera. One in which all hands are dirty, even the hands of whom you defend, Lew Wolff.

    • @pjk – “We know the A’s have been in Oakland for nearly 50 years, where they’ve been one of the more successful franchises on the field and one of the more unsuccessful franchises at the Box Office.”

      We also know that the G’s have been in SF for nearly 60 years, where they’ve been one of the more unsuccessful franchises on the field and one of the more unsuccessful franchises at the Box Office, up until 2000 that is.

      The Bay Area was not always this large. Especially in the 70’s, there was a mediocre-sized population with 2 teams. Hence, both teams showed somewhat ugly attendance for years compared to single markets especially. When one team was on a run, you could see a shift in attendance either way. China Basin changed all that in 2000 and the attendance has been lopsided ever since. I don’t think it had much to do with Oakland or the East Bay’s fandom.

  27. @LSN – Yes. You’re right. I caught that about two seconds after I hit “Post Comment”. I apologize to Djhip for making that grievous oversight.

    @TonyD – Wrong. A permanent stadium for the Raiders guarantees nothing for the A’s other than the fact that the team won’t be able to play in Oakland. Yes, the odds of the team moving to San Jose would go up, but there is also the possibility, despite what Mr. Wolff has said in the past, that the ownership group will sell the team to someone who wishes to move the team out of the state. It may be a small possibility but a possibility nonetheless.

    I truly hope the A’s remain in Oakland. If they move to San Jose, I will not be able to attend very many games as it will be prohibitively too expensive for me to go. No, it is NOT because I will hold a grudge against the team or the city of San Jose and I am NOT an “Oakland Only” person. I live about 15 miles outside of Sacramento and I need to take Amtrak in order to get to the Bay Area. It would cost me about $70 just to get to and from San Jose not including the cost of game tickets, food, souvenirs, etc. For me, I am hoping beyond hope that the A’s will wind up in the Capitol City. Yes, I realize that the chances of the A’s moving here are pretty much zero, but until this whole ballpark mess is settled and done with, I’ll keep hoping for the impossible.

    • @Matt
      Yes, unfortunately you’re correct there is a real possibility that the A’s will be lost to us. I’m a Pro-Oakland fan (defiantly not Oakland-Only), that has no problem with the A’s playing in San Jose especially, if it means the Raiders could work something out in Oakland. But I would be heartbroken, if the A’s were to leave the Bay Area altogether.

  28. If the Coliseum is gutted and rebuilt wouldn’t that in theory be a new stadium? if the NFL is not going along with this are they trying to get the Raiders to LA? I’ve read a Mark Davis interview where he said if a deal in Oakland isn’t reached or he doesn’t to go to LA he has other cities in mind. What cities other than San Antonio have they talked to, I’ve heard rumors about Portland. Is San Jose a option for the Raiders?

    • @Captain44 : Irwindale ! /s

    • It’s almost a new stadium. That may not be good enough for the NFL, though honestly it’s the NFL that’s been pushing back on Oakland’s dream 80,000-seat retractable dome idea. They should be somewhat amenable to this. Davis has only talked to LA interests and San Antonio so far. A few people in Portland are making noise, but they don’t have a site or a plan.

  29. @Neil “And to purchase the franchise for the sole purpose of moving it, while you act as if you are making an honest effort to build in the city the team has called home for almost 50 years.”

    I think these are faulty premises, which is part of why I have little respect for the “Oakland only” point of view. Anyone with any business sense could see that San Jose was a more economically advantageous location for the A’s than Oakland before Wolff even bought the team. Nevertheless Wolff has done his due diligence, including possibilities in Oakland.

    He made a run at a plan in Oakland first, then a run at Fremont, then apparently a run at San Jose, now Oakland is back in the mix. He’s really given Oakland more than a fair shake, and I think been very forthright about his intentions.

    There’s a difference between making an “honest effort” to build in Oakland vs. being wedded to the idea whether or not it is feasible or makes any economic sense. The Oakland-only’ers hate Wolff because he’s not wedded to the idea, which is unreasonable.

    “To say you “Just don’t get the Lew Wolff hate, whatsoever”, borders on the Oakland-Only folks saying they just don’t get why Lew Wolff wanted San Jose in the first place.”

    The two things are not comparable. Anyone who says they don’t get why Lew Wolff wants San Jose is just not able to reason and process factual information. Saying I don’t get the Lew Wolff hate is another way of saying, although I understand the desire some have for the A’s to stay in Oakland, translating that desire into animosity for a guy who has been by any objective measure a very good owner is irrational, and I have no respect for that point of view.

    • @ bartleby
      Ok, fair enough if we are speaking of hate (literal definition), and not a simple filling of mistrust. I get your point. After all it was your statement, so I should respect, what you say was the meaning of it. I still believe however, that it’s debatable that he has giving Oakland an honest effort. But I respect the fact that you fill differently.

      • As far as giving Oakland an honest effort, I think the passage of time has vindicated Wolff in this.

        Initially he expressed an interest in building at the Coli site because he felt it was, though not sexy, the most realistic of the possibilities. His effort in this regard was shortlived, but let’s be honest: As much of a clusterfuck as Coliseum City is with two landlords, two tenants, and a developer arranging financing at a finite site, how realistic would it have been to get something done at the Coli site with no third party financing and the W’s still in the mix?

        No one can say he didn’t give Fremont (the next most realistic possibility) a sincere effort. Not in the Oakland city limits, but still in Alameda County.

        Next there was a flirtation with San Jose. He would have been crazy not to at least try.

        Other sites in Oakland Wolff rejected as infeasible (Victory Court, Howard Terminal) were later established to be, you guessed it, infeasible.

        Now we’re back to the Coli site, still the most realistic site in Oakland. It’s definitely in play for the A’s, but the City’s desire to keep the Raiders and commitment to Coliseum City has somewhat forced to Wolff to take a wait and see posture.

        There is no reason to “mistrust” Wolff in anything. Like any businessman, you can trust him to follow his own economic best interest. Those who “mistrust” him are faulting him for not keeping a promise that he never made. This is not rational.

    • @bartleby

      “…. I have little respect for the “Oakland only” point of view.”

      “Anyone with any business sense could see that San Jose was a more economically advantageous location for the A’s than Oakland before Wolff even bought the team.”

      “Nevertheless Wolff has done his due diligence, including possibilities in Oakland.”

      “He’s really given Oakland more than a fair shake, and I think been very forthright about his intentions.”

      “There’s a difference between making an “honest effort” to build in Oakland vs. being wedded to the idea whether or not it is feasible or makes any economic sense.”

      I realize you and all the pro-SJ people on here have Mensa-like IQ’s and have stratospheric incomes, but I have to call you out here. Bear with me though because I am from the East Bay. In order from above:

      a) of course you have no respect. You live in the SV and have always had ownership’s unequivocal support for a move down there.

      b) I am guessing you believe the East Bay is like a 3rd world country with seriously negative prospects for economic growth. A lemon, if you will. Remember that San Jose was nothing but orchards before the, let’s face it, relatively recent tech boom. Back when the A’s moved to Oakland, SJ was a dot on a map. Look at it now. Are you saying Oakland is a perpetual dud with no chance of economic growth and overall improvement. Note that I am referring to all of the 3rd world EB territory, including Ala/CC counties.

      c) has Wolff earnestly negotiated a new stadium with Oakland since the lease agreement? He explicitly said he would. If I missed something I will gladly eat crow.

      d) see C and: please define “fair shake,” according to the SV standpoint. I am from the East Bay and I may be lacking understanding here.

      e) then so why be vague? Why doesn’t Wolff come out publicly and say “I cannot make it work in Oakland under any circumstances”??? Show his evidence and let it be scrutinized by independent people. This is a team with a history in Oakland so why not open up about his findings? Do you honestly believe that if Wolff was really honest and forthright that the so-called Oakland-only people wouldn’t understand? You may have a high IQ like the rest but this is not only about the economics and having the answers to everything. There are generations of fans who believe he is NOT being forthright. Do you not see that?

      Look, I am over it and have been for awhile. I believe this has little to do with the SJ narrative and has more to do with SJ real estate.

      You can give me all the equations about club seats, suites, and all the other “economic” sensibilities of being in the SV. Throw in the absolutely horrible attendance of the East Bay.

      I find it either highly disingenuous with a motive or ridiculously dumb to think that:

      1) Wolff has been honest.
      2) He can’t be profitable in Oakland because sponsors are so darn far away.
      3) He has no real estate biases in SJ to further his personal gains.
      4) He put 100% effort into Oakland. Why not open the books for scrutiny?

      Among many other things.

      Since I don’t think you’re dumb, I conclude that you are an SJ homer with an agenda.

      Really? All of this drama with the T-rights has had to continue all of these years because the East Bay is that bad of a market? Um, ok. Or could it be that there is a real estate component in SJ$

      If Oakland is so horrible, why not produce the evidence that the East Bay sucks so bad, with actual figures? I am thinking this would be much easier, but what do I kmow? The onus is on him to show factually that the East Bay won’t work.

      • And, no, @pjk, by evidence I am not referring to the “historically and God-awful attendance” of the past, or the “huge losses” of the Haas charity for Oakland. Why not show numbers, real numbers that would show a money pit and why it won’t work currently? It’s actually that simple.

        As an East Bay, and thus a lower IQ resident, I would totally understand if this ownership said “here are the numbers, and this is why it’s not feasible in the East Bay.” My feeble East Bay mind and atrocious income would handle that with ease. I’d even help pack the trucks.

        Anything short of that is a scam to many 3rd-worlders here in the depressing East Bay. In short, this is why people despise this ownership and trust nothing from their, um, occasional PR.

        earnest

        adjective
        1. serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous: an earnest worker.
        2. showing depth and sincerity of feeling:
        earnest words; an earnest entreaty.
        3.seriously important; demanding or receiving serious attention.
        noun
        4.full seriousness, as of intention or purpose:to speak in earnest.

        Just leave already because I, for one, will never trust ownership and it’s nothing but an anxiety-filled distraction.

      • @djhip

        Let me preface by saying: When I make comments about “Oakland-only’ers” I’m not talking about the “prefer Oakland’ers,” and I’m not necessarily talking about you. I’m talking about the lunatic fringers who feel entitled to the team, believe Lew Wolff owes them a personal obligation to stay in Oakland, are incapable of understanding or willfully refuse to understand facts which conflict with their world views, and promise to renounce their fanhood and/or religion if the A’s move anywhere outside the city limits (even if it’s in the same market).

        From your comments to date I would not have put you in that category. However, I do not know you and therefore do not presume to know what you do or do not believe. In any event, none of this is personal.

        Otherwise, you’ve given me a lot to respond to but I’ll give it go.

        “a) of course you have no respect. You live in the SV and have always had ownership’s unequivocal support for a move down there.”

        That I live in the South Bay is completely irrelevant. I don’t have anything personally invested in the love of gazillionaire sports owners, and the fact Wolff prefers San Jose really doesn’t factor into my views.

        As noted previously, if my views on this subject were dictated by whether or not a particular owner wanted to locate his team closer to me, I’d be ranting about what a terrible owner Mark Davis is. The Raiders could have been playing in a state of the art stadium in my backyard as recently as last year, but instead are now considering a move out of market altogether.

        Davis chose not to move to Santa Clara in part because he didn’t feel his core fans would like or feel comfortable attending games in Silicon Valley. I’m not sure this was the right decision considering how speculative it is that he will get a new stadium in either Oakland or Los Angeles. Nevertheless, I don’t take it personally, understand his reasoning, and still think he’s been a decent owner overall.

        The reason I don’t have respect for the “Oakland-only” point of view is that it is irrational.

        “b) I am guessing you believe the East Bay is like a 3rd world country with seriously negative prospects for economic growth. A lemon, if you will. Remember that San Jose was nothing but orchards before the, let’s face it, relatively recent tech boom. Back when the A’s moved to Oakland, SJ was a dot on a map. Look at it now. Are you saying Oakland is a perpetual dud with no chance of economic growth and overall improvement. Note that I am referring to all of the 3rd world EB territory, including Ala/CC counties.”

        I think nothing of the sort and have said nothing of the sort. What I have said is that, given Oakland’s lack of corporate base and presence of a dominant competitor only a few miles away, it’s not a good location for a privately financed MLB ballpark. Oakland would be a perfectly adequate location if the Giants weren’t in the Bay Area or even if they were in San Jose. But that’s not the case.

        As far as Oakland’s prospects for future growth, I think they are good and wish it nothing but success. But it has a very long way to go before it has a corporate base remotely comparable to either Silicon Valley or San Francisco, and one doesn’t make a $600 million investment based on something that speculative.

        “c) has Wolff earnestly negotiated a new stadium with Oakland since the lease agreement? He explicitly said he would. If I missed something I will gladly eat crow.”

        We simply don’t know what kind of discussions he’s had with the City or County to date. But even if there have been few or none, it’s only been a few months since he signed that lease.

        The City and County are committed to giving New City and the Raiders first shot, so it’s perfectly reasonable for Wolff to sit back and see how that plays out before starting to make firm commitments. If Coliseum City fails and the Raiders leave, I think there’s a high probability we’ll see a new A’s ballpark at the Coli site. It’s too early to judge this.

        “d) see C and: please define “fair shake,” according to the SV standpoint. I am from the East Bay and I may be lacking understanding here.”

        Fair shake means: If building a ballpark in Oakland is the A’s best option from a business perspective, and if a deal can get done, Wolff will build there. All his statements and behavior up to this point has been wholly consistent with this.

        Fair shake does not mean: The A’s making a commitment to build in Oakland no matter what, turning down an opportunity in a superior location in the same market should it become available, signing on to an overly complex project with too many stakeholders which likely will not get done, or committing in advance to building on whatever small scrap of land is left at the Coli site after the Raider and New City get theirs with no ancillary development potential to pay for it.

        “e) then so why be vague? Why doesn’t Wolff come out publicly and say “I cannot make it work in Oakland under any circumstances”???”

        First, he did previously say he’d exhausted all possibilities in Oakland and was turning his attention elsewhere. Predictably, that did nothing to mollify the tin foil hat crowd.

        Second, “under any circumstances” is too strong a statement; it’s just a dumb thing to say. Circumstances are always changing and a decision is always going to depend in part on what are the other options. The departure of the Warriors and possible departure of the Raiders are both changes in circumstances that may make an Oakland ballpark feasible that wasn’t feasible before.

        “Show his evidence and let it be scrutinized by independent people. This is a team with a history in Oakland so why not open up about his findings?”

        First, no private company shares its internal financials with the public, that’s part of the point of being a private company. In particular no MLB team is ever going to voluntarily disclose it’s internal financials. If the players union can’t get access to them, certainly the community of lunatic fringe internet bloggers isn’t going to get them.

        Second, the A’s have shared quite a bit of information regarding which sites have been considered and why they don’t work out. The rest of us can connect the dots with some basic, publicly known information regarding MLB economics and local demographics.

        It is notable that Wolff has thus far been vindicated in the sites that he has rejected. He said Victory Court and Howard Terminal were not viable, and when third parties got involved and looked at them closely, basically reached the same conclusion. The Blue Ribbon Commission studied this issue extensively; while they were apparently not persuaded the A’s should be allowed to move to San Jose, they also did not determine that he’d overlooked any sites in Alameda/CoCo or that any of the sites he had rejected deserve a second look.

        “Do you honestly believe that if Wolff was really honest and forthright that the so-called Oakland-only people wouldn’t understand?”

        I know for an absolute certainty they would not. Wolff has been honest and forthright. His message has been basically this: “Oakland is a challenging location due to its lack of corporate base, proximity to the Giants and lack of an easily buildable site. San Jose would be my first choice. Nevertheless, I would seriously consider building in Oakland if (a) it becomes my only option, and/or (b) a more easily buildable site surfaces (for example, due to the departure of the Warriors and Raiders from the Coli site.” All of Wolff’s actions have been consistent with this message. The Oakland-only’ers just don’t like the message, and there’s no amount of financial peek-a-boo that would change their minds.

        “You may have a high IQ like the rest but this is not only about the economics and having the answers to everything. There are generations of fans who believe he is NOT being forthright. Do you not see that?”

        I see that there are some that believe Wolff is not being forthright, there’s just no objective basis for their beliefs. If Wolff were claiming he was committed to building in Oakland and acting otherwise there would be, but he is not making that claim. Their feelings may be hurt because he’s not making that claim and that’s legitimate. Calling him dishonest or underhanded is not.

  30. @Neil I also disagree with the notion that Wolff’s hands are in any way “dirty.” Clay Bennett’s hands are “dirty.” Wolff hasn’t even threatened to take the team out of market, let alone engaged in the shenanigans that went on in Seattle.

    • @ bartleby
      Wolff doesn’t have to fallow any of the examples, that you sited for his hands to be dirty. Personally I think vary few (if any), involved in this three city (Oakland, San Jose, and San Francisco), two team (A’s, and Giants), and one league (MLB) high wire soap-opera have clean hands. Wolff’s hands may be cleaner than others by comparison, but his are dirty as well. IMHO
      But we can disagree. I respect your opinion and generally enjoy it.

      • What exactly do you mean by “dirty”? Wolff’s goal is to get the best venue for his team possible. I think he’s been very forthright about that, and he’s explored a lot of options. Some were more desirable or realistic than others, and may have gotten more effort than others.

        I wouldn’t use the term “dirty” to describe someone’s actions unless they were illegal, dishonest or underhanded in some way; Wolff has not been. If anything, I think the people who don’t like him do so because he’s been honest and realistic.

      • @bartleby
        I mean dishonest, and underhand. (Potentially) And no, I don’t need proof for it for it to be my opinion. As I said before we can disagree. It’s cool.

      • @Neil You don’t need “proof” to have an opinion, but you should have some rational basis. What has Wolff done that’s been dishonest or underhanded?

        If he were pretending “Oakland is the only place for the A’s” while secretly plotting to move to San Jose then I’d agree you have a point, but that’s not the case. He’s pretty consistently said he wants to keep the team in the Bay Area but that Oakland is challenged by its lack of corporate base and lack of easily buildable sites. He’s said he’s willing to build a ballpark in Oakland under the right circumstances (which currently seems to mean control of most or all of the Coli site), but made pretty clear San Jose would be a better option for him if it were made available.

        So again, what statements has he made or actions has he taken, exactly, that were “dishonest” or “underhanded”? All of his statements and actions have been consistent with his economic interests, which is why I believe them.

        On the contrary, my honest impression is that most of the people who don’t like Wolff don’t like him mainly because he has been so honest and forthright. They want him to say “I’ll stay in Oakland no matter what” or “my strong preference is to stay in Oakland,” and he hasn’t done that.

        In contrast, Mark Davis has stated a preference to stay in Oakland while simultaneously acknowledging that it’s not in his economic interest to do so. Those are the kinds of statements I’m more skeptical of.

        I certainly hope Davis is sincere, as the Raiders are and probably always will be my first team (at least unless they leave the state) and I’m a lot more worried about them leaving than the A’s. Unlike Jed York, Davis hasn’t done anything to this point that would make me doubt his credibility. But you usually can’t go far wrong betting that people will follow their economic interest, so I won’t truly be convinced until there’s a shovel in the ground in Oakland.

    • @bartleby

      Wolff is on record, saying he wouldn’t waste his time on any other city then San Jose, concerning building a new ballpark before he even purchased the team.(paraphrasing from SF Chronicle)
      I could drag this out, and give you several other examples of his behavior and actions, that would make reasonable people come to the conclusion that he never intended to build in Oakland in the first place. (IMHO) Honestly the one example is enough to have skepticism towards Wolff and his efforts in Oakland.
      And, pjk please don’t bring up the efforts Wolff has made, as far as I’m concerned they have been half hearted attempts to satisfy MLB in hope’s of gaining San Jose. If Wolff ever builds in Oakland, it certainly won’t be because it’s want he wanted to do.

      • @Neil I wouldn’t put too much weight on one stray comment 10 years ago. Any rational person reevaluates their views based on new information and changing conditions; a lot has changed since then.

        But regardless, this doesn’t seem like an example of Wolff being “dishonest” or “underhanded.” He said ten years ago San Jose would be his first choice. If people are now saying he never wanted to build in Oakland, never tried hard enough to build in Oakland – where’s the dishonesty?

        Again, it seems like the people who don’t like Wolff feel that way not because he’s been dishonested or underhanded, but really just because he’s not marching to their own selfish agendas.

  31. @pjk Even Haas wasn’t really Haas. He lost money for a few years, saw that it wasn’t sustainable, then dumped payroll, like any other owner would. There are pro sports owners who care about winning more than making maximum profits (e.g. Mark Cuban, Dan Snyder), There are absolutely NONE who are willing to actually LOSE money indefinitely. Not even the billionaire Nets owner.

    • @ bartleby
      The Haas loses (which are often brought up), had more to do the bad economic model of MLB, then Oakland/East Bay being a bad market. The A’s being in Oakland as a second team, in a two team Bay Area market, is still better then 8-10 (perhaps more) MLB markets if done correctly.
      I would guess, (if done correctly) in Oakland top 12-15 market, of course in San Jose I would say 10-12.
      I think it’s could look like this. Yankees, Dodgers, Boston, Angles, Mets, Philadelphia, Cubs, Toronto, San Francisco, Texas, SAN JOSE. I could be totally off.

      • I think the Haas losses show that an MLB team couldn’t spend its way to break even even in 1990. The tin foil hat brigade often posts here that if only Wolff would spend whatever it took to keep every beloved home grown player and sign whatever big name free agent it takes to win, the fans would show up in such great numbers that the A’s would make money.

        This didn’t pencil out in 1990 and it’s even less viable now. In 1990, club seats and other premium experiences barely existed. Now every other competing team has them and they are the difference between being profitable or not. Even if Oakland had enough corporate base to support a premium product (which is questionable), the Coli simply isn’t a good enough venue to command the premium prices such product requires.

        In other words, the criticism of how Wolff has managed the baseball side of things is wildly unfair, and it’s hard to see how or why any other owner would do things differently in the current venue.

        As far as Oakland as a market for a second MLB team: I used to think it just wasn’t viable for a privately financed ballpark in the modern era due to its lack of corporate base. The advent of giant local TV contracts has changed my thinking on that somewhat. So I think it could be viable; however, I’d rank it somewhat lower than you did. It wouldn’t be the worst MLB market, I would agree.

      • @bartleby
        I agree with much of what you say here. I will say however that one reason the economics of MLB are not to dissimilar today, then they were in 1990, is because MLB continues to need a heard salary cap like all other North America major sports.

      • @Neil I agree that MLB would benefit from a salary cap and it would certainly make a team in Oakland more viable. But that’s not the world we live in. MLB is doing extremely well under the current system, and I don’t see any sign we’ll see a salary cap any time soon, if ever.

        In the meantime, premium seat and corporate revenue have become absolutely essential in 2015. Bringing be back to my point that if spending like the Yankees was a money loser for the A’s in 1990, it would even worse now when the A’s were trying to do it in competition with teams that have those kinds of revenue streams which the A’s lack.

        I honestly don’t see any better way to run the A’s as a business than the way Wolff has run it up to now. Now on the baseball side, I believed at the outset andcontinue to believe the Cespedes trade was a mistake. But that one’s on Billy.

      • @bartleby
        Yes, I would agree with you Wolff has done a good job from a business standpoint. I would quibble a bit with you over the A’s marking and promotion of their brand, particularly in Oakland/East Bay, but I guess that may lead back to the original point an honest effort in Oakland. (which we see differently) It will be interesting to see what sort of effort the A’s put into marking if Wolff ever gets San Jose. I believe it will be quite different, I’m sure the reasons given at that time will be things like “Wolff had to reach the casual fan in the South Bay”, or ” it’s simple economics, Wolff picked up his marketing efforts because there is more disposable income in the South Bay”, and while these reasons will be true, it will also be true that the San Francisco Giants will have done a better job of markings their product in Oakland/East Bay, before and after the A’s will have left for San Jose.
        Those crazy Oakland-Only folks, they maybe crazy, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a point from time to time.

      • @bartleby

        BTW. I also agree with you’re point about the present economics of MLB, and that if the A’s couldn’t have outspent the Yankees then, they can’t even more so today.
        But to be fair, it’s not about out spending the Yankees, if MLB never adopts a harder salary cap none of teams can out spend the Yankees over the long run.
        I was only trying to point out that if done correctly Oakland/East Bay is a fine market, not to be confused with San Jose/South Bay, but a fine market. That’s something that isn’t always considered, when people point out losses Hass incured, the fact is many teams were losing money, and if MLB had not changed it’s economic model, they would have been forced to reduce the number of teams they had.
        Bottom line is it had more to do with bad economics, then a bad Oakland/East Bay market. That’s of course unless MLB wants 4-6 teams in each league.

      • @Neil I respect the fact we disagree on a few points, but I’m still trying to understand why. You seem to be a rational person, otherwise I wouldn’t even bother asking.

        When you say Wolff has been “dishonest” or “underhanded,” what specifically has he done to deserve that label? When others (not you) make these accusations here, it always seems to come back to “he really only wants to go to San Jose.”

        What Wolff has consistently said, and his actions are consistent with, is that he wants to get a new ballpark in the Bay Area, that San Jose is a preferable location, but that he’d build in Oakland if a realistic site were available and the project made financial sense. Certainly he’d rather go to San Jose (he’d be an idiot if he wouldn’t). But I don’t see anything dishonest or underhanded in his approach, and I’m still waiting to hear a coherent counterexample.

        Same thing with criticisms of the A’s marketing. In what way are their efforts deficient? Their TV commercials are plentiful and funny. Their ticket prices and packages are some of the most competitive and flexible in all of MLB. They’ve solidified the radio situation with 95.7 The Game, adding what I believe to be the best sports radio station in the Bay Area. They’ve put more emphasis in the last few years on bringing back stars from the glory years and building those relationships. They’ve listened and responded to their customers in ways like opening up the Value Deck (even though the tarp criticisms were fundamentally idiotic). Their game day promotions are creative, plentiful and fun.

        In both cases, when people make these criticisms it always seems to really come down to “Wolff hurt our feelings by even considering moving southward,” which is juvenile and ridiculous. I’ve yet to hear a concrete example which stands up to objective scrutiny.

        If Mark Davis winds up moving the Raiders to LA, I’ll be crushed. But I won’t have any ill will toward him, and I won’t be wallowing around feeling sorry for myself because a sports team owner didn’t love me enough.

      • @bartleby

        I think our conversation may have gotten a little of track. (I apologize) Originally I was trying to making the point, that it’s really not so unreasonable to see where the Oakland-Only folks are coming from on a couple of points (not that I totally agree), I was responding to you’re saying you didn’t understand the hate for Wolff, which to a degree I certainly understand. I think where I went wrong is you’re reference to hate was much stronger than what I was thinking. While I don’t have a direct example of Wolff being dishonest or underhand, I believe unfortunately for him it’s a function of what he must do, because of the greedy San Francisco Giants, that doesn’t make it any easier for fans that fill.their is being taken from them. It would’ve been better if Wolff would have just said I want to keep the team in the Bay Area, I just don’t think I can do that in Oakland. This tactic was made impossible by the San Francisco Giants, and I don’t believe even if possible wouldn’t reduced the hurt filling of all fans that felt that way, but if it couldn’t been done it may have helped mitigate some of those fillings, rather then saying you’re trying to build in Oakland when you may not be.

      • @bartleby

        Sorry, so many misspellings and auto corrects, but I think you get my point.
        It’s not that I don’t have a certain amount of sympathy for Wolff, he is a difficult situation, although it’s a situation he purchased into.

      • @Neil “It would’ve been better if Wolff would have just said I want to keep the team in the Bay Area, I just don’t think I can do that in Oakland.”

        I think that’s pretty much what Wolff did say, people just didn’t want to hear it.

        He is apparently reconsidering Oakland now because of changes in circumstances, not because of any sinister agenda. San Jose is closed to him right now, the City is actively trying to get something done at the site, and the Warriors are leaving – all good reasons to take another look.

        Wolff is not lying about possibly building in Oakland. He will absolutely build in Oakland – provided it makes business sense and is his best option. That’s what anyone should have expected from the very beginning.

      • @bartleby
        I agree, that’s pretty much what Wolff did say, its just that the order in which it transpired made him look worse then he deserved. (SF Giants) I’m not sure if Wolff is reconsidering Oakland because of a change in circumstances, as much as it is pressure from MLB to do so. (If he is truly reconsidering it) You said “San Jose is closed to him”, that’s the whole point, if San Jose were open to him he would take it, he has made no bones about that, and that is hurtful to many in the fan base. By contrast they view Davis as someone who would prefer to stay in Oakland if he could make it work. (weather true or not)
        I made this point before, but if Wolff could move to an open market? (presumably like Davis in LA), that would cost less to build in? (like Davis presumably in Carson), and could increase his franchise value? (like Davis in LA), would Wolff even be negotiating with Oakland? (if he presently is) I think not.
        Right, wrong, or indifferent, fans view Davis as someone who would prefer Oakland, and Wolff as someone who would not prefer Oakland. That’s not something that’s difficult to understand (believe), if someone prefers you and someone doesn’t, your hurt.
        To you’re prior point, that you would not be hurt if Davis left for LA. “Davis did not love you enough”, well that’s nice you clearly look at this situation from a more logical point of view, which is fine. Part of being a fan however, is to naturally view this from an emotional point of view for some, I really don’t understand why anyone would not have an appreciation for that.

      • @Neil

        “I’m not sure if Wolff is reconsidering Oakland because of a change in circumstances, as much as it is pressure from MLB to do so. (If he is truly reconsidering it)”

        I think the departure of the Warriors, possible departure of the Raiders, and sudden focus of the City on actually getting something done on the Coliseum site are major changes in circumstances that are driving Wolff’s willingness to reconsider the site, especially if he can get it all to himself. MLB would like the A’s to get a new ballpark, sure, but it’s not obvious to me that MLB is pressuring him to get something done in Oakland specifically. If he wanted to take another run at Fremont, for example, or another East Bay city, I don’t think they’d care or stand in his way.

        “You said “San Jose is closed to him”, that’s the whole point, if San Jose were open to him he would take it, he has made no bones about that, and that is hurtful to many in the fan base.”

        Well, it’s not really the whole point. Saying your feelings are hurt is different than calling someone a liar or a crook. The former is justified, the latter is not.

        “…if Wolff could move to an open market? (presumably like Davis in LA), that would cost less to build in? (like Davis presumably in Carson), and could increase his franchise value? (like Davis in LA), would Wolff even be negotiating with Oakland? (if he presently is) I think not.”

        Again, so what? Yes, Oakland is not Wolff’s first choice. Yes, that may hurt some people’s feelings. They need to just accept this as a fact, acknowledge that there are good reasons for it, and move on. Despite not being Wolff’s first choice, Oakland is the leading contender to actually get a new A’s ballpark right now. If Mark Davis’ first choice for a ballpark were LA but the strong probabilities were that he’d end up either in a new ballpark in Oakland or sharing with the 49ers, I’d be delighted and wouldn’t waste a second nursing hurt feelings over not being his first choice.

        “Part of being a fan however, is to naturally view this from an emotional point of view for some, I really don’t understand why anyone would not have an appreciation for that.”

        I understand and respect that fan emotion. I don’t understand or respect turning that fan emotion into hatred for Wolff, slanderous comments about Wolff, or self pitying whining about stupid things like the tarps on the upper deck.

      • @ bartleby

        First of all, I want to thank you for a respectful exchange; I hope we both gained a little from it.
        Re: “I think the departure of the Warriors, possible departure of the Raiders, and sudden focus of the City on actually getting something done on the Coliseum site are major changes in circumstances that are driving Wolff’s willingness to reconsider the site”
        Those are major changes in circumstances, but that doesn’t mean those are the reason why Wolff is reconsidering the site. (If true) We have no idea if he even has a willingness, It’s pretty obvious (IMHO); if the Wolff ever builds on the site it will have more to do with MLB restricting him, then any changing circumstances in Oakland.
        Re: “Well, it’s not really the whole point. Saying your feelings are hurt is different than calling someone a liar or a crook. The former is justified, the latter is not.”
        I agree with you, accusing Wolff of some of the more extreme things doesn’t justify the latter. For the record (IMHO) I believe everyone involved has probably lied to some degree or another, it’s the nature of the beast. I respectfully disagree with you, on whether Wolff having access to San Jose, being the whole point. It may not be the whole point to you, it may not be the whole point to me, but it is the whole point to many of them. That is the point. Again, wrong, right, or indifferent.
        Re: “Again, so what? Yes, Oakland is not Wolff’s first choice.” Oakland may not be Wolff’s second, third, or fourth choice; I think that’s the point.
        Re: “that may hurt some people’s feelings. They need to just accept this as a fact, acknowledge that there are good reasons for it, and move on.” No, they really don’t have to accept it, and some have moved on, in the form of not supporting the team.
        Re: “I understand and respect that fan emotion. I don’t understand or respect turning that fan emotion into hatred for Wolff, slanderous comments about Wolff”
        True hatred in this situation is ridicules, I believe I stated earlier that I misunderstood (undervalued), your use of the word hate toward Wolff, and have since apologize and agreed with you, concerning that potion of what we are conversing about. If you understand and respect fan emotion, I’m sure you understand and respect the varying points of view; this fairly complex situation is comprised of.
        This will be my last response, for this thread. Djhip is correct time to move on, plus we are two thread’s behind.

  32. Media rights revenue is the bottom line in MLB, not corporate sponsorship. Teams with huge cable tv rights deals (both LA teams, NY Yanks, Boston, Texas, etc) call the shots. Teams such the Dodgers or Yankees could likely charge free admission and still be profitable because of their $300 mil.+ annual tv rights deals.

    The giants are not in those teams class and are not the economic powerhouse that some local media types portray them to be. Recall, back in ’08, ’09 – the giants attendance slipped from 43K per game average to 35K . It took only a few losing seasons for that team’s attendance to drop significantly, One could imagine it would get worse with a few more losing seasons. Their WS titles temporarily increased their attendance and profitability. Lakeshore/Neil is correct, Oakland, with a new baseball only stadium at the CC site, would be a respectable MLB market.

    • @ Duffer I hate to give the Giants credit for anything, but 35K attendance for a losing team is still very good. The rest of what you wrote seems internally inconsistent.

      On the one hand you’re saying it’s all about TV money rather than premium seat revenue. You go on to say the Giant’s don’t get big TV money despite their recent success and dominant position in this marketplace. Then you conclude by saying the A’s at the Coli would be a “respectable” market despite presumably having none of these things. How does this follow?

      • @bartleby: the Giants get nowhere near the media rights financial deals that the LA teams, Yankees, Texas, Bosox do. TV rights deals are the big factor – not premium seating. Also 35K is a big dropoff, my point was that if the Giants continued losing, instead of winning a few WS titles – their attendance would likely drop even further.

  33. @duffer The Giants may not have gotten that huge media rights deal yet, but let’s wait and see how they do in their next deal when it comes up for renewal before drawing any conclusions. As far as the 35K – there’s no way to know that that would have kept declining; it could just as easily become the Giants new attendance floor, its all speculation. And saying “TV rights deals are the big factor – not premium seating” is an oversimplification and overstatement. There are some teams for which TV rights are much bigger than premium seating, yes, but even for those teams premium seating is a big slice of the revenue pie. But for most of the teams that don’t currently have those mega TV deals, premium seating is equally or more important.

    In any event, if the Giants haven’t managed to land a TV megadeal yet, I see zero chance the A’s will unless they get a new ballpark. And they’re unlikely to get a new privately financed ballpark if they can’t lock down enough premium seating commitments. The TV money doesn’t come until and unless the interest is there; the corporate money is essentially to changing the trajectory of the team and trying to get that off the ground.

  34. Thread closed? See above.

  35. @bartleby – Thank you for the reply. BTW, I am Oakland-preferable.

  36. @LSN – I understand completely.

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