17 July 2005

Mt. Davis: The gift that keeps on giving

The Chronicle's Chip Johnson writes about the Raiders' PSL situation, which is not good to put it lightly. The team's poor on-field performance, coupled with the well-known availability of tickets without hefty PSL fees, makes the likelihood of PSL mass-renewals particularly bad. If PSL's (personal seat licenses) aren't bought, the citizens of Alameda County will have to foot the bill even more than they are currently:

Taxpayers are right to be ticked off because the annual subsidies of nearly $20 million will only climb if fans abandon the PSL plan when it expires at season's end -- and there is every reason to expect they will.

It doesn't take a degree in quantum physics to calculate the savings of purchasing game-day ticket because sellouts at Raiders games have been as erratic as the team's performance. For every PSL holder who opts out at the end of the season, count another brick on the pile for John Q. Public.

The fallout may hit the A's as well. Lew Wolff has said he's aware of the local public's negative perception of PSL's, and it's not insignificant. PSL's represent a huge part of the upfront financing: $75 million for the Giants in building Pac Bell/SBC Park, and $40 million for the Cardinals and their new Busch Stadium. Even the Giants aren't fully insulated, as their mediocre, Bonds-less season is making current club seat holders think twice about retaining seats after their seven-year price protection plans end.

Regardless of whether a new ballpark is publicly or privately financed (or some mix of the two), PSL's will most likely be part of the financing mix. Even SB 4 has specific language authorizing the sale of seat licenses. The question is, "Can the A's and ballpark supporters convince the public that seat licenses at a new ballpark are nothing like the Raiders' situation?" Considering the amount of talking up and selling the idea that will be required to distinguish such a plan, it's a tall order.


No.19 said...

As a Raiders PSL holder, I don't regret buying my PSL when the Raiders came back to Oakland. Of course, the incentive to renew is minimal, considering how readily available single-game tickets are. Anyway, just wanted to stop by and say thanks for keeping this blog updated with news about the A's ballpark plans and possibilities.