02 November 2005

Sometimes it pays to read...

Surprisingly, there is a blurb in the terms of the agreement between the Raiders and Oakland/Alameda County that has something to do with the A's. The Trib posted a three-page excerpt alongside their story. Here's the text (verbatim):
2g. Subject to the Authority reaching a mutually agreeable agreement with the Oakland Athletics, the Raiders may sell and retain all revenues from specified fixed advertising inventory in the Stadium on a year-round basis. The parties acknowledge that the Authority has made a good faith representation that the Athletics are agreeable to such an arrangement and the Authority will use its best efforts to finalize such an agreement with the Athletics. Additionally, Raiders shall be permitted to sell and retain all revenues from temporary advertising (banners) during football games provided that sponsors do not conflict with current Athletics exclusivity arrangements. The Raiders do not share any advertising revenue received by the EBEs.
In short, the A's won't be receiving revenue from much of, if not most of, the advertising in the Coliseum. From the looks of things, the only revenue they'll get is from the baseball-specific signage: the rotating board behind the plate, tarp covers, dugouts, and the outfield fence. The Coliseum has no dazzling ribbon board on the plaza level facade, and the signage panels next to the scoreboard are smaller than those at other parks. Why would the A's agree to this deal? There are a few possibilities:
  • The revenue the A's realized was fairly inconsequential, and to help the public entities out (and to curry favor with them as well for a future ballpark), they decided to forego the revenue.
  • The A's want to be able to point to the limited advertising revenue as another one of the Coliseum's "deficiencies."
  • Tha A's want to limit revenue, which could mean a lower payment into the revenue sharing structure and higher revenue sharing receipt.
  • The A's were simply being magnanimous.
Since there are no charity cases in these kinds of deals, I think we can dismiss #4 out of hand. #3 is unlikely because the amount probably is inconsequential. So the truth probably lies in both #1 and #2, though there may be other motives at work. In the end, whatever money they don't get can't be blamed on the A's not signing Paul Konerko or Brian Giles. However, it does look like the deal greases the skids for a clean Raiders' departure in 2010. Imagine that scenario: It's 2011, and there are no tenants at the Oakland Coliseum. The thought gives me shivers.

Update (11/3, 11:03 AM): A little historical context is in order. A three-year-old article from the East Bay Business Times covers a lawsuit brought by the Raiders (of course) against the A's for allegedly withholding advertising revenue. Though I haven't seen any news items related to the suit after it was filed, it appears that the A's giving the Raiders the ad money may settle the matter. The baseline revenue the A's had received was $3.9 million per year, with the Raiders and A's splitting money above that amount. It's definitely nothing to sneeze at, but it's also not enough for the A's to score a big-time righty slugger, either.


Kenny said...

That's why I hate the Raiders. I would love to be a Raider fan since I'm an East Bay guy and all but they have done too much harm to the pro sports landscape of the area. After driving away the A's, they're going to skip town too.

jrbh said...

I was going to say something nasty about the Raiders too, but then I realized that I don't trust Wolff any more than I trust Davis, and that realization fucked up my whole day.

Anonymous said...

I know this is an A's Ballpark blog Marinelayer, but do you have any idea where the Raiders might go in 2011? I've heard Vegas being thrown around as a possible destination. How about the SAN JOSE RAIDERS?!

Marine Layer said...

Raiders in San Jose? I'm guessing no. A new NFL stadium will cost upwards of $500 million. San Jose will have a hard enough time approving $60-100 million for an A's stadium, and no one in the Bay Area outside of the Raider Nation trusts Davis.

What Davis got out of yesterday's deal is an easy escape route to LA. If attendance picks up in Oakland he might just keep the team there, but the next 5 years should be considered an audition for Oakland to keep the team. If they don't get sellouts they'll just pick up and move. The issue for Davis is whether or not the NFL beats him to the punch by relocating the Saints there permanently, though that may not stop him either.

peanut gallery said...

Wouldn't Davis need some political will in LA to move back there? What do you suppose the chances of that are after he ditched them before? The scene of Oakland politicos groveling at his feet to come back here is not likely to be repeated by their counterparts down south. In fact, I don't know if there's another place on earth that wants to deal with someone as slimey as Davis. He might just be stuck here. Lucky us...

jrbh said...

The NFL cities that you'd think are endangered by the desire to put a team in LA are San Diego, Oakland, Buffalo, New Orleans (no bar too low for the NFL to sleaze under), Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Minnesota, St. Louis and Arizona.

That's a lot of teams able to put a lot of pressure on their host cities by threatening to leave for LA; in that sense, the city has in some ways served the league better empty than it does full.

But you get the sense that the NFL (and especially it's advertisers) finally think that having no team in LA is a long term liability, and that they're not only interested in putting a team there but willing to put up stadium money to do it.

That being the case, some lucky NFL owner is going to get a new stadium, the second-biggest market in the United States, Hollywood starlets and Jack Nicholson. I have to think that the NFL would *really* not like to give those things to Al Davis, and that there will be a team moving into LA before the Raiders lease is up.

And let's just be brutally frank: there is also the chance that Davis may not outlive the Oakland lease. I'm not saying I'm rooting for that. But I'm not saying I'm rooting against it, either.

The way that all this impacts the A's is unknown, but one of the mysteries of this whole process is why it's not considered an option to tell the Raiders: we're blowing up Mt. Davis after the 2010 season and putting $100M into sprucing up the park for the A's. Good luck in your new location, wherever that might be.

murf said...

Along with the financial difficulties ML sites, San Jose has little interest acquiring an NFL franchise. Residents may, but the city as an entity and the region would benefit far more from MLB. The moves to attract the A's are just as much about steady downtown revenue generation as they are about baseball fans. I would argue, more, in fact.

Marine Layer said...

The idea of blowing up Mt. Davis and then rebuilding the Coliseum is close to preposterous. $100 million isn't going to fix the "baseball-related deficiencies" in the place that Wolff is using as justification. The foul territory, the back-of-the-house improvements, separate concourses, accessibility - with the rise in construction costs, it'll cost almost as much as a new stadium. Wolff isn't going to wait around for a refurb with an image problem, not if he can get new somewhere else.

And Murf's right about San Jose's reasons for pursuing the A's. It's as much about having year-round sports-related business downtown as it is about having a home team.

Anonymous said...

Arizona (Glendale), St. Louis, and Jacksonville are not endangered NFL cities. All have newish or soon to be new stadiums.

I would add San Francisco to the list of potential cities courting with no team in the NFL. Frankly, San Francisco and Oakland are probably the two most endangered cities due to the lack of "adequate" stadiums or plans to create one that suits the NFL's needs.

I believe New Orleans will take one of two roads: 1. let the team go instead of replace/repair the Superdome.
2. Refurbish the Superdome to meet hte requirements of the NFL (Super Bowls are big business and the Big Easy has seen their share).

I see the NFL having franchises in either Portland, Sacramento, Las Vegas or Los Angeles in the forseeable future. Loof out SF, Oaktown, Minnesota and Indy.

jrbh said...

I have to disagree about the blowing up Mt. Davis option; it's cheap and easy to do. (I called the company that imploded the Kingdome; they said the cost for blowing up and carting away Mt. Davis would be south of $5M.)

The Angels renovated *their* football stadium for less than $50M, and if you've been there, you know they did a fabulous job.

jrbh said...

I didn't realize Arizona had a new stadium. You're right about that.

I don't know of any new project in St. Louis, but I do know Jacksonville does *not* have a new stadium in place and the owner is threatening to leave town.

It's also simply wrong to say that refurbishing the Coliseum after blowing up Mt. Davis would cost as much as a new stadium. There's no evidence that that's true, and plenty of evidence around baseball to the contrary.

Marine Layer said...

Angels Stadium is a different story. The Big A was originally built as a baseball facility, so it already had baseball-friendly features like good sight lines and intimate seating. That can't be done easily at the Coliseum.

Then you've got the locker room situation. Ever been in the locker rooms there? They're anything but optimal, and gutting the stadium innards and renovating them to be up to par will be costly.

Then from a structural standpoint, imagine the new upper deck concourse behind sections 109 through 125 having to be extended all the way around the upper deck. Then further enclosing the old plaza level concourse so it functions as a club level with separate access. Oh yeah, and add a couple of escalators for "comfort."

Then what about having multiple sections of premium seats along the field level with a concourse there to boot? A separate concourse for suite holders? What about adding ADA-compliant accessible seats, of which there are woefully few in the main bowl? Don't forget the cost of eliminating a few sections of seats to create the ticket scarcity that Wolff wants. What about the cost of new scoreboards?

Even with all of that addressed, it doesn't resolve the foul territory issue. As much as many of us like Eric Chavez's mastery of the meadow behind third, the foul territory is not good for most fans in seats down the line. How exactly does that get rectified?

These are not trivial issues. BTW the Angels Stadium renovations, which were less complicated than what would be envisioned for the Coliseum, cost $118 million, not $50 million. With added construction costs and inflation, watch the costs soar. And it would STILL be considered inferior to China Basin.

peanut gallery said...

You can scratch Jacksonville from the list too. The team and city came to an agreement that reduces the team's rent and settles the advertising control dispute.

jrbh said...

The Jacksonville deal is a band-aid. But it's not really that germane to what we're talking about anyway.

It would indeed be quite expensive to blow up Mt. Davis and then after that enclose the Coliseum again anyway; I can't imagine why you'd actually do that, though.

I envision taking out a few seats behind home plate, bringing the field back about 15 feet, making bleachers and a "club" out in the outfield somewhere, adding some bathrooms and creating some pleasant concourse space both in the OF and behind home plate. And making a BART plaza that really shines.