NFL Town Halls: Three days of talking around a problem

They came, they saw, they empathized.

As part of NFL’s relocation evaluation process, the league is required to hold public meetings in the cities from where incumbent teams are threatening to move. Despite the fact none of the three teams considered part this discussion – Raiders, Chargers, Rams  – have actually filed a request for relocation (they aren’t allowed until January), the NFL decided to hold these meetings well in advance of all three teams’ expected applications to leave.

That left the NFL to announce three weeks ago that they would send a team of executives, fronted by Eric Grubman, to the threatened cities to hear from fans and discuss each city’s situation. Grubman was accompanied at each stop by fellow VPs Chris Hardart and Cynthia Hogan, plus league attorney Jay Bauman. All four sat in directors chairs on a blacked out stage, while fans sat in the lower auditorium levels, waiting to speak at podiums placed in each aisle. Politicians and team owners, even Raiders owner Mark Davis, sat among the riffraff.

St. Louis and San Diego share a common problem, in that their respective teams have not participated at all in recent stadium development efforts at home. Local sentiment reflected that, with fans lustily booing the Rams’ Kevin Demoff and the Chargers’ Marc Fabiani, both of whom have openly pooh-poohed those 11th-hour attempts in favor of stadium projects in the LA area. Feeling powerless, fans in both cities sang a common refrain: bring Stan Kroenke and Dean Spanos back to the table so that we can make stadium deals in STL/SD. And as each story about generational bonding or heartbreak was heard, the more it sounded like groveling. That’s what the owners and the NFL have reduced fans to doing: begging to keep the team in town. It’s a common story, at least in North American pro sports, and this won’t be the last time it happens. Some guy within NFL Films will be tasked with editing the combined nine hours of testimony down to probably 30 minutes that will be consumed by the collective 32 NFL owners at a future league meeting. I don’t envy that person one bit.


George Clooney and Anna Kendrick in 2009 film “Up in the Air”

Grubman, who made most of the responses to fan questions, reminded me a lot of Ryan Bingham, the slick, well-compensated corporate hatchet man from the Walter Kirn novel Up in the Air. The film adaptation in 2009 starred George Clooney as Bingham, a man who lived a thoroughly hollow personal existence while obsessing over a quest to reach one ten million frequent flyer miles. That’s not to say that Grubman’s like Bingham personally. From all appearances Grubman is a family man. He even joked in Oakland that he was missing his wedding anniversary for that night’s hearing. Nevertheless, Grubman’s ability to empathize with every fan and speaker was amazing to watch. Veterans and government employees received laudatory Thank you for your service salutations. Several times he prefaced a remark with, I know what it’s like to be a fan. It was as breathtaking and sickening a performance as I’ve ever seen – including Clooney’s, which netted him an Oscar nomination. Then again, Grubman apparently gets paid at least $4.4 million a year as an executive VP in the NFL. Like Bingham with his delegating boss, Grubman is compensated well to, among other responsibilities, take Roger Goodell’s arrows.

Davis has also been an active participant in the joint stadium effort in Carson, though Raider fans and city officials have given him some credit for participating to a degree with the now shitcanned Coliseum City project. He received a largely warm reception from the roughly 400 Raiders fans at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. He made some opening remarks, stating that the Raiders wouldn’t answer questions at the session. Couple that with Grubman’s admission that the NFL had no solutions for Oakland, and you might think that the whole thing was a charade. You would be mostly right.

When challenged about the Raiders paying only $300 million (plus the NFL’s $200 million in G4 money) towards a $900 million stadium, Davis responded.

That’s basically what Davis has been saying for the last six months. He’s not willing to stake additional stadium revenues to make an Oakland stadium deal happen, as the 49ers did with Levi’s Stadium. Hard selling with ultra-expensive seat licenses and ticket prices works as long as the team is good, but as we’ve seen so far in the 49ers’ tenure in Santa Clara, fans will ditch the team in droves if the team isn’t competitive. Even the Raiders had trouble selling out until the upper deck of Mt. Davis was tapped off. No one wants to be left with the check at the end of the night, whether it’s Davis and his ownership partners, the City of Oakland and Alameda County, or stadium financiers. This is not a trivial amount of money – $400 million – that we’re talking about. Fans need to stop treating this issue like it is.

Yet there were calls for crowdfunding to help bridge the funding gap. Before anyone creates a Raiders stadium Kickstarter, you all should know that there already exists a sort of primitive form of stadium crowdfunding. It’s called a brick campaign. Fans buy custom engraved bricks that end up in a plaza or on a wall at the stadium. Even successful brick campaigns won’t pull in more than around $25 million, a relative pittance compared to the total project cost. The Green Bay Packers held a stock sale in 2011 to finance renovations at Lambeau Field. That effort raised $64 million, from sales of 280,000 shares costing $250 each. If the NFL allowed Raiders fans to make a similar effort (even though the Raiders are not a publicly-owned corporation), the effort would have to sell around 1.8 million shares at $250 apiece to raise $400 million (after overhead and fees). That’s simply an infeasible goal for any team, not just the Raiders.

NFL exec VP Eric Grubman stands on stage while answering a question at the Oakland Town Hall

NFL exec VP Eric Grubman stands on stage at the Paramount Theatre while answering a question at the Oakland Town Hall on Thursday

Last but not least, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf was in the house. Schaaf thanked the NFL and fans for showing up. Yesterday, Matier and Ross led off their column with a note about yet another consultant being brought in to put together a package that might sway the Raiders and the NFL. That package could provide infrastructure and potential tax breaks for a stadium deal. While that might sound promising, it’s really just formalizing what Oakland’s willing to offer, which is limited help and no public money. That won’t work for the NFL because the league considers infrastructure and free land little more than table stakes. St. Louis and San Diego are providing real public money towards construction, just as every previous NFL stadium project has in the past. If public money isn’t on the table, there’s little reason to expect the NFL to respond positively. Grubman explained that every stadium deal has three financing parts: the team, the league, and the local piece. Historically that local piece has consisted of public loans or bonds. The NFL has already rejected the Coliseum City plan. The NFL has its script and it’s sticking to it. Oakland is no special case here. If Oakland really wants to keep the Raiders, they need to put some skin in the game. Given what happened with the Mt. Davis debacle, that skin may end up being Oakland’s scalp. Schaaf is right to be cautious and not desperate as her counterparts have been. How do those positions get reconciled? Someone will have to give in, and the NFL has not shown a track record of making concessions.

79 thoughts on “NFL Town Halls: Three days of talking around a problem

  1. So where does this leave the A’s. Im assuming Lew isnt happy with this. He wants the whole coliseum land for himself.

  2. No public money will most likely mean bye bye Raiders from Oakland. The NFL can’t have cities dictating that the league pay all the costs; the NFL already feels it’s being generous with public-private partnerships and contributing $200 million. Like in MLB, it’ll hurt the resale value of franchises if franchise owners are expected to – gasp! – pay for their own facilities instead of dumping that on the taxpayers.

  3. I will not sit back and let both the A’s and the Raiders leave Oakland. I will start a Brick Campaign for both teams.

    U guys may see this as the glass half empty, but I see it as half full, and will do my very best to retain both teams with brand new stadiums in OAKLAND.

    Public money is not available for Oakland, so I will do my very best to start a Brick Campaign for the Raiders and A’s.

    • your glass is only about 20% full…

      Based on the 2013 population of Oakland (406,253) if every man, woman and child in the city each bought a brick for $250 you would only raise about $100 million dollars.

      That’s still… wait for it…

      …!!!400 MILLION dollars!!!…

      …short of filling the gap…

      Then there’s the A’s… but their issue really isn’t about money as it is about site control.

    • I see it as fantastically, and admirably, naive.

  4. Good writeup ML.

    Anyone who thinks Oakland has any chance whatsoever to keep the Raiders is pretty delusional.

    Good as gone.

    You people REALLY better start hoping the NFL forces them into an agreement with the 49ers because Levi’s Stadium is the only way the OAKLAND Raiders have a chance to exist.

  5. I can understand how it looks bleak for keeping the Raiders in the Bay Area long term at the moment but can the Raiders really afford a move to LA? With the costs of the relocation fee, the land and a new stadium in LA, the high costs may keep them out of LA. For the Rams this is no problem financially. I heard the amount of money and time to clean up and get Carson shovel ready could be quite high where as Inglewood could be shovel ready as early as this December.

    I doubt there will be 3 teams in Southern California. I don’t think the Chargers are necessarily loyal to the Raiders as far as a stadium deal is concerned. If the Chargers can work out deal with the Rams in sharing the proposed Inglewood Stadium, they would probably move on from the Raiders. Plus a team switching Conferences and breaking up historic rivalries is absurd. If the Rams get early approval in 2016 to relocate to LA then it is off the table for the Raiders to use as possible backup plan or even just for leverage. I don’t think the possibility of the Raiders going to Levi for the short or long term is out of the realm of possibility.

    • There will NOT be 3 teams in SoCal. 2 teams in SoCal and 2 teams in NorCal….

      • I don’t think there will be 3 teams in SoCal either. I seriously doubt the Chargers would want 2 extra teams in the region whether they stay in SD or move to LA. I also think there will be 2 teams each in SoCal and NorCal.

        I think the Rams have too much momentum and money to be stopped from moving to LA at this point. Since the St Louis violated the lease with the Rams, they are considered a free agent and can leave without any legal issues. The proposed new St Louis football stadium does have some fiance/bond issues and opposition from state politicians. After losing the Cardinals to AZ and soon losing the Rams to LA, I don’t think the NFL is in a hurry to put another team in the St Louis market. They might get another shot with the Jaguars but I doubt it.

        With the high cost of relocation I think the Raiders are stuck in the Bay Area. If a new stadium deal can’t be worked out then a remodeled football only stadium of the coliseum could be considered or a permanent move to Levi. With the Warriors leaving, this may put more pressure on the city and county to try to keep 2 of the 3 teams.

  6. Unlike MLB which blatantly shows favoritism to certain of its member teams over others, the NFL wants to come up with a solution that will satisfy the interests of all three of its teams with unacceptable stadium issues in their current markets, and as a result are all seeking to move to LA. At the same time, the NFL wants a solution that will be least disruptive to the respective fan bases in those markets that may be losing their respective individual teams. While I’m obviously not privy to the NFL’s final decision, I do believe that the NFL will make their decision with those previously stated objectives in mind. I do believe though that the NFL will likely approve the Rams move back to LA. Not only do the Rams have the best financial means to get their proposed stadium built, this franchise is the perfect fit in so many ways for their return to LA. As far as the Raiders and Chargers are concerned; since they are both California based, a geographically based solution will be easier to accomplish. I do believe that the NFL will recognize the fact the fans from geographically isolated St. Louis will be greatly impacted by the loss of their Rams. With that fact in mind, and with an acceptable new St. Louis football stadium deal worked out, the city will be promised some other NFL team sometime in the not too distant future. When all is said and done, the NFL will get it right.

    • I happen to agree about the Rams and St Louis eventually getting a team. I think the easy way would be the Chargers joining the Rams @ the Hollywood Park site, and the Raiders heading to St Louis. Most people would agree that St Louis has done a better job then Oakland or San Diego about building a New Facility, and the Edward Jones Dome is better then Qualcomm or the Coliseum, both of which are a plus for St Louis (the Dome can be used for an acceptable home for the Raiders until a New Stadium is built). I also think it is interesting that USC is going to spend $270m to upgrade the Coliseum after the Trojans Season in 2017. One way to help pay for this expansion i rental money from the Chargers and Rams. You also do not need to switch Divisions (just Cities) for the teams. Last but certainly not least, I am a Steeler fan, who watched the last two Charger Games @ San Diego, and they looked like Home Games for the Steelers and Raiders, this is something you did not see earlier this year, when the Steelers played @ St Louis. You could tell that the Charger fans have basically given up, and anything you see from the City and Mayor about keeping them is pure semantics. I do not think the NFL wants to see “Dead Man Walking” in San Diego next year, and they will be off to LA with the Rams. The question remaining concerns the Raiders (and indirectly the A’s), can Davis get the Stadium that he wants (and to be honest needs), not to mention seeing if he can afford to keep the Raiders because of the Capital Gains Tax that must be paid when his mom passes on? Moving to St Louis (and selling part of the team) might offer the solution to both of those problems. It will be interesting.

      • St Louis: ranks last with NFL attendance – averaging 51,738 per game. That market also previously lost the Cardinals franchise in 1988. The St Louis fan base has a bad track record of supporting the NFL (The Raiders would likely move to San Diego, San Antonio, or even London or Mexico before considering a move to St. Louis, they have ruled out St Louis as a future site)

        The Chargers are averaging 66,250 per game (hardly “dead man walking” attendance)

      • And Oakland has ranked dead last in attendance for three out of the past five years. Oakland has also already lost a team once. They’ve also done this while having an average ticket price lower than St Louis.

      • @Slacker: The Raiders moved back – so Oakland technically didn’t lose them (not the same as the Cards moving to Phoenix) Also the Raiders were basically a 2-14 – 4-12 team for those previous 5 years.

      • Raiders will not be going to St Louis. Jags maybe the team to go to St Louis and something maybe be worked out here in Oakland for Raiders. However, there are more Raider fans in the SoCal/NorCal and in California in general than SD Charger fans.

  7. Many moving pieces, for all we know the NFL could use LA as leverage to get rid of Mark Davis. “You want LA, you have to sell a chunk of the team to a real businessman. You can still own part of the team, but you can’t get this done on your own. Anywhere.”

    I read a recent piece, I think on Bay Area Sports Guy, calling Mark Davis a good businessman, but that is a ridiculous stretch. Sure he trusts Reggie McKenzie to make football decisions, but he missed his only real opportunity to get a stadium in Bay Area by turning his nose at Santa Clara. That was his shot and he blew it. Good businessmen understand strategic thinking, Mark Davis clearly doesn’t.

    • What Mark Davis does not (and should not) want, is to be partners in a Stadium with a team the Raiders obviously despise more then anyone (except MAYBE the Kansas City Chiefs (Steelers, and Broncos included)). One other point, for those who think he is stupid/ a bad businessman, Davis is smarter then MLB (who think the A’s and Giants work well in one market), and the politicians in Oakland, who think all of the teams (Warriors included), can remain in Oakland. Why? because he knows there is no room for the Raiders and 49ers in one Stadium, just like there is no more for the Raiders and A’s @ the Coliseum.

    • Actually his father was the main one who turned his nose on Lousy Levis….Levis was already in full motion by the time Mark took over.

  8. If the NFL process is anything other than Kabuki Theatre, the Rams and Chargers will not be allowed to move and MD won’t be able to move unless he takes on a partner in the LA market.

  9. If I was a betting man, which I am not, I’d bet on the best outcome for all involved (once the NFL denies the Raiduhz move request, if they do). That is a remodeled Coliseum with Mt. Davis staying fairly intact and the rest being redone to a football only venue and the A’s moving to the Home Base lot in a completely new baseball only stadium. I’d expect some development in between the two stadiums, similar to what exists in STL between Busch Stadium and Downtown, or in Philadelphia in the middle of the sports complex.

    This will still be a challenge to get it all done, and will have many moving parts. Figuring out how parking revenue is split, who owns/manages the complex and where/how any ancillary development is included. The root of the challenges would still be the “sharing” of finite resources between the two teams and that may be enough to derail anything. But without MLB letting the A’s move to SJ, or the NFL letting the Raiders move to LA… There’s not much else that is really remotely feasible.

    • Jeffrey, honest q: Has Lew Wolff ever specifically discussed the Home Base lot?

      My hunch would be that Wolff would be more willing to build at the Coliseum lot in a scenario where the Raiders are gone, and he some control over what happens with those 120 acres.

      • The A’s are not going to be interested in privately funding a ballpark in Oakland that has to compete for sponsorships, suite sales, PSLs, ticket sales, etc with a gigantic new football stadium 100 yards away. And we can’t blame them.

      • but but i’m sure there will be dozens and dozens of sj and south bay corporations who’ll buy luxury suites and sponsor the a’s even if a new a’s park isn’t built in sj and instead is built in oakland.

        right, right????

        these business that talked a big game here in the east bay for years now better step up if/when the a’s are looking for some financial help in help building a new baseball park in the city of oakland.

      • Yes. It was his first pick way back in 2004-2005.

    • Yup. That is the most likely outcome in NFL doesn’t choose Raiders to LA. A complete renovation of the existing Coli Site with adjustments to the Mt Davis side.

    • The hypothetical ‘savior’ would be someone who wanted controlling stake in the team. There’s probably at least one Bay Area billionaire who would buy the Raiders and build locally, if they had control of a parcel. But the Raiders aren’t for sale.

      • They partially are for sale.

      • Plus the Raiders are on the upswing and are turning it around. A smart move by investor top buy a piece of Raiders while they continue to get better.

      • The Davis family actually owns *less* than 51% of the Raiders (about 43%), but due to the way the ownership is structured, they have controlling interest.

        Anyone buying in for $400M is going to get at least 20% of the team (even at an overvalued price), which would reduce that structured interest below 51%, which would cause the Davis family to lose controlling interest, and *that* Mark Davis doesn’t want.

  10. Once again….the shield wants the Rams and Bolts to work it out unless Davis sells to a big time investor so he can secure LA. There might be a big investor and developer here in the Bay as well for a stadium here.

  11. If Lew Wolfe is so concerned about an additional 10 games a year being played next door at a new football stadium, which is being supported by his same community and fan base, then he should hang himself. If anything, it would benefit him. His competitors are the 3/6 time World Series Champion Giants!
    He should’ve concerned himself with marketing his team in his community for the last 7 years instead of letting that other baseball team, that plays 81 games a year and played literally 6 miles from Oakland, take over the entire Northern California baseball fan support and sponsors… Most noteworthy, the East Bay. Fact is he was and STILL is looking to get out of Oakland. The fact A’s/ raider hater fans believe that garbage, just shows how little intelligence Lew feels his fans have.
    Lew doesn’t have the balls to ever show up and face the heat like Mark Davis does. And if Wolfe did, well this is Oakland, and he’d get slapped like the bitch that he is. Let’s not let these haters sabotage OUR Oakland Raiders!

    • It has nothing to do with the amount of games the Raiders play. Its about trying to finance a stadium, privately, in an already corporate-weak city while the Raiders are trying to do the exact same thing a hundred yards away. There’s a limited amount of corporate $$, sponsorships, etc. And Lew Wolff, unlike Mark “We need help from the community!” Davis, has never begged for taxpayer money in Oakland that isn’t there. Wolff has ALWAYS been about privately financing a stadium. Davis wants someone to pay for a stadium for him.

      • So he’s afraid of what exactly, it is only ten games, in a city where the majority of sponsorship will come from the greater Bay Area and certainly not Oakland anyways. The A’s won’t get baseball cooperate sponsorship because all the baseball sponsorship is already pro Giants. 81 home games is enough, but to sponsor another 81 for a snake like Lew will not happen. The Raiders do not affect him one bit. He’s just using them as an excuse to get leverage on the city because he has ZERO leverage to anywhere else. Keep the Raiders in Oakland, and let’s see where Lew will go…. Absolutely nowhere! Most people from Oakland feel this way… Sorry San JosA’s fans

    • Exactly! Great post! Lets see the billionaires Fisher and Wolff fund their own ballpark…let’s see it! They aren’t funding anything by themselves….that talk is utter BS!

      • That’s a ridiculous statement. He JUST did privately finance a $100M stadium in the Bay Area for his other professional sports franchise. Mark Davis hasn’t built a damn thing anywhere, ever. One thing is absolutely certain, 1 of the 2 owners has built a stadium using his development experience to do it privately. It’s not Mark Davis and he isn’t ever gong to do it in Oakland and has said as much.

        He, rather, is asking the City to pony up a minimum of 66% of what Lew Wolff is willing to provide in his own. ($400M v $600M).

        Hate all you want, but facts are facts.

  12. Lew Wolff – wants to privately fund a stadium, has never asked for public money; has looked to move the team 30 miles away. Wolff = snake.
    Mark Davis – pleading for “help from the community” (ie Big Taxpayer $$ even though Oakland can’t afford it,” has looked to move the team 400 miles away or 1500 miles away. Davis = good guy.
    …I think I understand now.

    • @ pjk
      Yes, it does seem ridiculous that Wolff would be looked at as a bad guy and Davis a good guy, but you seem to always forget one very important part of this mess when you bring it up this particular point. People have emotions, and rooting for a team is largely based on an emotional connection the fans have to that team.
      Davis is viewed (right or wrong), as the guy that really wants to make it work in Oakland. It’s also perceived that if Davis can’t make it, work it won’t be because he did not want to make it work, again right or wrong.
      You’re saintly Mr. Wolff (sarcasm), on the other hand has made it painfully obvious that he doesn’t want to build in Oakland (right or wrong), it’s also true that Wolff has made comments about Oakland, and the fan base, that were perceived by many to be a slight. Weather Wolff meant those staments one way or another is not the point, the fact is he made them and people perceived them a certain way (right or wrong)
      Davis may be a snake in the grass lower then Wolff ever truly could be, but he knows to shot his mouth and not say stupid stuff, or say it in a way that could be perceived as such (wrong or right), and when Davis opens his mouth he says mostly positive things about Oakland, and the fan base.
      The next time you’re trying to figure out why fans are responding to this situation in a way that doesn’t make sense to you, you might want to factor in the fans emotions because as someone once said (smarter than me), the word fan is a derivative of the word fanatic, and you have to be emotional tied to a team to be fanatical about it.
      But in case you don’t factor it in, I will be here to remind you.

      • “It’s also perceived that if Davis can’t make it, work it won’t be because he did not want to make it work, ”

        I think this is another major part of this, that gets forgotten. Wolff (and Fisher) are rich and competent. Davis is not.

        This creates this idea that Oakland doesn’t have to do anything for the A’s because they can do it on their own. Because the A’s don’t have a stadium yet, it’s therefore Wolff’s fault.

        Davis gets a pass though because he doesn’t have the money or the skills to do anything on his own.

      • What’s even funnier is people who look at the Warriors owners as the potential saviors of the Oakland A’s when the ink hadn’t dried on the contract to buy the Warriors when they announced they were leaving town. And when one Frisco site fell through, they quickly found another in that town. Yes, what champions of Oakland Mark Davis and Joe Lacob are. Only one owner – Lew Wolff- has even looked at the possibility of privately funding a new facility in Oakland. But he’s the bad guy.

      • @ Slacker
        Yes, definitely agree with your point, which is unfair to Wolff and Fisher the basic idea that,
        ”Well there rich, so they should just do it.”

      • @ pjk
        Now on that point of Joe Lacob, I totally agree with you.

    • If Fisher and Wolff want to pay for entire stadium themselves than surely something would have happened by now right?? Where is the proof that Wolff will pay for a new ballpark all by himself? I call BS on that!

      • Regardless of location, when have Fisher and Wolff said anything other than wanting to pay and control a new stadium.

        The reason why a new stadium isn’t built yet is because it takes two to tango. Building a stadium is not like opening a Subway. Even if you’re willing to pay for it, you still need a massive site that requires support from the city. This is why previous A’s initiatives like Uptown, Coliseum North and Fremont have failed.

        Wolff and Fisher have been going through the viable sites from the HOK study done over a decade ago. Up until now the Coliseum wasn’t an option because of Coliseum City. Now that that’s dead, it becomes an option.

        To turn the question around, if Mark Davis truly wants to stay in Oakland why hasn’t a stadium been built?

      • Another ridiculous statement, because you only judge facts based on how they support your predetermined conclusion rather than coming to a conclusion based on facts.

        In 2005, Lew Wolff proposed build a stadium on the Home Base lot privately. It was blocked by… The Raiders and Warriors.

        There is a decade of ridiculousness that you completely ignore because it doesn’t fit your meme.

        Chew on this for a second, there has been exactly 1 professional sports ownership group in Oakland tha has presented a plan, with a private financing method, for a new venue in Oakland in the last 25 years. That one has a managing general partner named Lew Wolff.

  13. The truth to the Oakland staying argument is that unlike the A’s, the Raiders can survive relatively nicely in a new or rebuilt Coliseum. There are a number of reasons for this fact. For one thing NFL teams play no more than one game per week, so the Raiders can relatively easily fill the Coliseum to near or at capacity for each home game. The Raiders, as are all the other NFL teams, share equally the television broadcasting revenues as well as other NFL shared revenue streams. It should be noted, special to the Raiders/Oakland relationship, both the city of Oakland and the Oakland Raiders mutually share each others blue collar identity. All these factors guarantee the viability of the Raiders to continue to survive financially and to remain competitive on the field in Oakland.

    As far as MLB is concerned, their system puts most of the emphasis for each of its franchises to generate their own individual revenue streams. Each team has to bring in sufficient corporate sponsorship, and have a ballpark that generates sufficient revenues necessary to bring in high caliber players for a winning team. In MLB, a well performing team team is a necessity in order to maximize fan interest and hopefully fan attendance needed for an eighty-one game home schedule. Unfortunately, under the MLB system, the A’s will not be able to generate sufficient corporate sponsorship and corporate based fan attendance in Oakland, new ballpark or not. Also, compounding the difficulties for the A’s to remain in Oakland, is the fact that Oakland refuses to provide any public funding towards a new ballpark. Finally, MLB is putting the nails in the A’s coffin by refusing to allow the A’s to move forty miles to corporate abundant San Jose, where the A’s would certainly thrive in a new ballpark, there.

    To conclude, as far as the Raiders and A’s are concerned, their reasons for wanting to stay or not stay in Oakland are polar opposite. The differences between Mark D. and Lou W. on this issue are understandable.

    • Good comments, however, MLB might not be at fault. Manfred wants the A’s to stay in Oakland (which the Giants 100% oppose) There evidently is a block of MLB owners who side with the Giants because they don’t want to tamper with the MLB ATE’s territorial rights issue. The MLB commissioner (also most MLB owners) may be for the move. Recall even Selig, at one time, was stumping for support for the A’s move, and having success.

      The A’s, with a new baseball-only ballpark , are likely at least a mid market MLB team, and could pass the Giants in attendance (who are due for a Philadelphia Phillies type of collapse soon) The Giants don’t want the A’s in Oakland or SJ.

    • @ llpec
      Re: “The differences between Mark D. and Lou W. on this issue are understandable.”
      I agree with you, I’m just saying Lew hasn’t always handled the PR. side of things well, and that’s part of the reason the fan base views him as a bad guy. (right or wrong)

      • Wow. Lew Wolff hasn’t always handled the PR side well? Hmm….ya think? SMH

      • @ cisco007
        I’m trying to be nice about it, but IMHO he has been a compete ass. That however doesn’t make him the devil incarnate.

      • @Lakeshore/Neil, You claim that Lew Wolff gets a lot of negative PR, rightly or wrongly. Not being from the Bay Area, I would like for you to explain why the Giants’ ownership gets little or no negative PR from their ongoing full effort to block the A’s from moving to San Jose? In so doing, thus keeping the A’s in a constant precarious and vulnerable situation. In effect, possibly forcing LW and Fisher to eventually sell the A’s to out of town interests. Do Bay Area sports fans in general have a problem with the Giants’ selfishness, or do they have more of a problem that Lew Wolff wants to leave Oakland for San Jose? Last I knew, San Jose was part of the Bay Area market.

      • @llpec – Calls out another interesting angle on this. You could argue that Wolff’s “PR” problems have more to do with how he is positioned by the media.

        The media goes where the money is. The money isn’t with the A’s.

        Do you think a media outlet wants to risk trashing the Giants for actively blocking the largest city in the Bay Area from being able to host an MLB team? Do you think a media outlet wants to risk trashing the NFL for not pushing the Raiders to fund their own stadium?

        Wolff and the city of Oakland are the easy/safe targets in all of this. This isn’t to say that either one is a victim, but it does impact the way they’re perceived.

      • @ IIpec

        I have no idea why the Bay Area media dosent call the Giants out, on what I see as their obvious attempt to push the A’s out of the Bay Area. I’m sure part of the reason is the Giants money and political influence, but the A’s have money as well in fact they probably have more. I believe most of Mr. Wolff ‘s bad press comes from him putting his foot in his damn mouth, but I know he has his defenders here so that may not be a popular opinion.

      • in regards to why the local media doesn’t call out the midgets? just ask people like bruce/krueger on radio, baggarly in the print media. you talk bad about the midgets in anyway and you’ll basically cut off from any relation with the team. heck bruce was basically kicked off knbr and move to 1050 because the midgets didn’t like his negative tone of their org pre 2010 and even had one of their play by play calls in flemming take over as the post game radio host for a year before they found a better mouth piece in santangelo.

        heck i think you could even point to kawakami who was a heavy criticizer of the midgets in the late 2000s and he was off csnba programming, namely chronicle live at that point in time, for years.

        also i think some in the media and heck some of the general bay area audience doesn’t even know the a’s and midgets once shared the south bay market once. i remember back 4-5 years ago when byrnes was hosting the knbr night show and he thought the midgets had always owned the south bay rights but i think it was the a’s beat writer slusser who contacted him in some fashion that night and told him no the a’s once had rights to the south bay pre mid 90s and byrnes was surprised with that fact.

      • @letsgoas – Nailed it. The Bay Area is not as “intense” about sports like the NE and the Midwest. The only people that report on this are the sports networks. The two major ones KNBR and Comcast Sportsnet make a large chunk off of the Giants. In exchange for this the Giants exert a ton of control over what the media say. This is true whether it’s about the situation with the A’s or just the Giants overall play on the field.

        Just listen to broadcasters from other markets. The Giants announcers are definitely up there on the homerism scale. The Giants are all about controlling the message.

        @Lakeshore – My comment about money and the media has nothing to do with the wealth of the owners. It’s how much money the media can make off of the team.

      • We can all agree Wolff sucks at PR stuff. But if it’s PR skills you are looking for you are rooting for a bullshit artist over someone who can get things done.

        I can agree it’d be great to have an ownership group that can do both of you can agree that of the 3 ownership groups in Oakland right now, the only one to have built a sporting venue for their team is Lew Wolff’s. Not Joe Lacob’s or Mark D’s. Shouldn’t be hard to admit that, because it’s 100% true.

      • @ Jeffrey
        Right on the money, Wolff defiantly knows how to get things done. He has proven that with not only the Quakes, but with the A’s spring facility in Arizona, not to mention his other business dealings.
        But this sort of gets back to the point that a lot of Oakland-Only people come to, which is Wolff has the money, and he is a developer so why doesn’t he just build the damn thing?
        Now, to you and I he may have very good reasons for not doing it at all, or not doing it yet, but to the average fan it simply looks like he doesn’t want to do it in Oakland, which by some of his past comments and actions it’s not difficult for some to come to that conclusion (right or wrong)
        @ Slacker
        Oh, thanks. I get you.

      • @Neil, I understand the perception. I don’t think it’s fair to say “Then how come he hasn’t built it yet?” when no one has built anything in Oakland.

        It’s absolutely fair to point out that he wasted a bunch of time chasing San Jose, starting in 2009 and ending in 2015. But during that time, two other sports franchises also wanted to get something done in Oakland (or at least said they did) and we are no closer to anything than we were in 2004. In the Warriors case, we are on the precipice of it being further away from happening in Oakland forever.

        I’d love to see Oakland tell the NFL, “We will help remodel the coliseum if you will.” I’d love to see Lew Wolff say, “Here is our plan for Oakland and it doesn’t require the Raiders to move.” I’d love for Mark Davis to say, “I am good without any of your tax money.”

        Those are the real blockers, not anybody hating anything. It’d be great if it all happened yesterday. The truth is, there will be a complete new Star Wars Trilogy before any of this is sorted out 🙂

      • @ Jeffrey
        Right on Jeffrey, right on…

    • “Wolff has the money, and he is a developer so why doesn’t he just build the damn thing?”

      It takes two to tango. Building a stadium requires a large chunk of land and support of the city, even if the city isn’t putting up funds.

      After Uptown and Coliseum North went belly up, the only options left were Howard Terminal and the Coliseum.

      Oakland had the Coliseum site tied up with Coliseum City.

      You could say Howard Terminal was an option, but it’s really only an option if Wolff wanted to build at a massive financial risk.

      The only thing I think he could have done would have been to more aggressive with the whole situation by trying to force MLB’s hand with San Jose and trying to force Oakland’s hand with giving up on Coliseum City. He potentially could have fought harder for Fremont as well. As a fan I do blame Wolff for this but given the nature of Oakland and MLB, I’m not sure it would have made any difference.

  14. haha…the overrated and agent stimulated hype machine Krappernick benched for Gabbert! Predictable!

    The Yorks and Baalke= Stadium Scam artists who bait and switched their fans and played them like fools! Especially those who paid big money for PSL’s!

    • @Slacker, Interesting take on the bias and influence of the Bay Area media on ones perception on the issues. The New York media makes every effort to be fair and to not show favoritism towards one NY sports team over the other. It also helps that all the NY area teams have relatively cordial relations with one another. That apparently doesn’t hold true, at least between the Giants and A’s. Case Example: The Islanders and Nets had moved to Brooklyn without even a whimper coming from either the Rangers or Knicks. Geographically much closer to Madison Square Garden than their former respective arenas.

      • @ llpec
        It’s also interesting that the Raiders and 49ers have a pretty good working relationship, while the 49ers are the media and fan dominate team in the Bay Area, it wasn’t always that way back in the seventies it was quite the reverse. In spite of what the trends have been over the years both franchises have actually helped each other from time to time.
        I don’t think any of the Bay Area sports franchises have a problem with the Warriors or Sharks (single sport representatives), I really think the only problem is the San Francisco Giants, and their refusal to help the A’s, other than to say they can play in there park while they are building a new stadium within their presently defend territory, which of course doesn’t include San Jose.
        I think Slacker and letsgoas make some very good points, the San Francisco Giants absolutely own the media in the Bay Area. I think Wolff got into this with some assurances from the last commissioner (old frat buddy), that he would get San Jose, the problem is the Giants pushed back header than expected.
        Wolff’s response to that, after seeing there was no other way he was going to get San Jose was to silently encourage San Jose to sue MLB, which probable did not sit well with some of the other owners.
        I think that if Wolff believed he would ultimately have to build in Oakland (provide that he actually builds in Oakland), he would not have purchased the team in the first place. There are several factors as to why Wolff gets such bad PR., the majority of which he probably can’t control. I guess my only point way that Wolff is lousy at the PR, he can and dose control.
        But again like I said Wolff has his defenders here, and while I’m hardly of the mind set of some of the Oakland-Only folks, I’m no big fan of Lew Wolff either.

    • @cisco007- SBLs not PSLs are a lifetime thing. There are going to be good and bad years. It is what it is, the 49ers were winning big when they went on sale so it was good to buy.

      When they get good it again (it will happen, may not be soon) everyone will forget the lean years.

      I for one enjoy the new stadium and have been to all regular season home games this season.

      I love to tailgate and root for the team thick thru thin. Fans like me are why the 49ers have not blacked out since 1980.

      Raiders on the other hand….

      • @ Sid
        Raiders on the other hand….
        My Raiders on the other hand, could probably use a few more fans like you.

      • Sweeping the York bait and switch scam under the bus? Nice try….tell that to most Niner fans who were swindled and want Yorks head on a pitchfork. Santa Clara Niners….what a disgrace.

  15. @ML- 49ers fans still sellout games bad or good. Hence no blackouts since 1980. The fans are not going to leave in “droves”, like wow, talk about hating.

    You being a Cowboys fan should see how a privately financed stadium can work even if the team sucks. Which your Cowboys have stunk (except for last season and 2007 and 2009) for the most part of the past decade plus.

    Last I checked the Cowboys still get fans when they suck?

    Raiders lost a whole generation of fans when they moved.

    Today they are back in full steam in the Bay Area and Mark Davis if he was a good businessman could raise the $$ the way Jed York did in Santa Clara in a booming local economy only needing a fraction of what York needed.

    In fact the 49ers/Stadium Authority are in a surplus.

    But you being a biased A’s fan won’t even put up a possible funding proposal and analyze it like you did for the 49ers where you were way off and I called you out on it many times.

    You still think the 49ers stadium was publicly subsidized! SMH…..

    Your article here is like the problem at had, you write about it without offering a solution because you are biased and really do not understand the mechanisms involved.

    Plus your hatred of the Raiders and 49ers is so obvious it stinks. Write about solutions not re-stating the problem over and over again.

    No one has to “give in”, this can be done with out a direct public subsidy. On your next article write about funding a Raiders stadium? Try not to be biased.

    Try to see if it can be done, you have Levi’s and San Diego’s proposals to go off of.

    900M price tag, City/County will only put in infrastructure, team keeps all revenues and pays no rent….GO!

    I know I could do it…….

    • “I know I could do it…….”

      Great but the only question that matters is can Mark Davis do it?

      This is not a knock on ML, but if Mark Davis needs a blogger to give him the details on how to get a stadium deal done he’s already lost.

    • “On your next article write about funding a Raiders stadium? Try not to be biased.”

      *looks at title of website, notices it says ‘newballpark’, not ‘newfootballstadium’*

      I think you’re on the wrong page.

    • Bravo! Call that ML and the Lew Wolff cronies out!

    • Ah Sid, you can’t help but try to get a few shots in.

      When Santa Clara was merely a concept, I said they couldn’t do it unless they had a second team. Turns out I underestimated them. I own that, no big deal. Practically everything had to fall just right for them. They hired Harbaugh, who made the team a *near* champion. They were able to burn through the season ticket waiting list to get SBL buyers. They leveraged the Silicon Valley location. They hired experienced tech execs.

      Now think about what their task would be like now, with Tomsula as head coach and the team in complete disarray. You think they would be able to fund the stadium now? Hell no. They’re only selling out because so many tickets are tied to multiyear commitments. Meanwhile, tickets are available on the secondary market for cheaper than Raiders tickets. Fans are pissed. Jed York crawled into a corner and isn’t even willing to face the media. York deserves great credit for capitalizing on the situation he had, striking while the iron was hot. Now that iron is frozen in Antartica.

      Risk is inherent in all these ventures, for all teams. Kroenke can make it work because he can easily absorb the risk, with the prospects of future Super Bowls and NCAA mega events helping to pay down the mortgage when his dome is the only premier venue in SoCal. That’s the Jerruh route. Not everyone can duplicate. The 49ers have been so aggressive about trying to fill the schedule that they’ve lost sight of their main product, the football team. The grass STILL sucks at Levi’s. The numerous complaints about sun and heat. The lack of real atmosphere. The empty seats. Not every owner wants to risk damaging his team’s brand just to get a new stadium, especially if there’s no subsidy to help abate the risk. Certainly not Mark Davis. He has a pretty hard limit. So before you go squawking about how this can all be done, you may want to build a less risky model than whatever you wrote on the back of a napkin years ago.

      BTW – The combination of things Davis wants from Oakland – free infrastructure, free land, retired Coliseum debt – are worth $400 million. Oakland is balking at providing that. The NFL wants even more in the form of a direct subsidy. Davis has his professed hard limit. If you’re going to propose a solution, it better be comprehensive and take all of those factors into account.

  16. This “Niners sell out thick or thin” stuff is a crock of horseshit. The ONLY reason the Niners were selling out Candlestick in the recent lean years was because their management was willing to buy out unsold tickets to get the games on TV. And if you watch this year’s games on TV, there are no shortage of empty seats.

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