21 December 2005

Oakland makes up with Raiders, rebuffs A's

Following up on a story that surfaced last month, Oakland City Council approved the settlement that will kill once and for all the Raiders' disastrous PSL system and hand full control of football ticket selling operations to the Raiders. Two articles have shown up so far on this:
What wasn't known in November was the type of concessions the city and Coliseum Authority might need to make to get the A's to go along with the deal. That was finally revealed last night as A's officials and local pols said that the A's wanted a three-year extension on the existing lease. That request, along with a similar extension request by the Raiders, was denied.

In light of the difficulty seen in getting the Coliseum North project off the ground, one would think it would behoove Oakland/Alameda County to sign the A's for three more years. That time could be used to work on alternate sites or reshape Wolff's proposal into something more feasible.

The only thing I can see that may have made Oakland balk at the concession was if the lease terms were merely three additional one-year extensions with the same buyout terms the A's currently have in the 2008-10 years. That would not help Oakland in the least, since it would give the A's a longer safety net as they pursued other options out of town.

If the lease extension was a lock-in, where the end of the long-term lease agreement was pushed out from 2007 to 2010, it doesn't make much sense for Oakland to reject it. It's possible that Oakland is calling the A's bluff and holding a hard line so that the A's can be forced to make a decision by 2010. It might also net better lease terms for Oakland. Still, those are tenuous supporting arguments for a decision that can only be termed as baffling. More to come on this.


tony d. said...

I know Oakland/East Bay A's partisans don't want to hear this, but if I were Lew Wolff/the A's, why in the heck would I want to continue working with the city of Oakland. Dragging their feet for the land deals at Coliseum North, no lease extension, vows to offer no public funds for a negative can it get for Oakland?! And people wonder why this blog has become the "New A's San Jose ballpark." Lew Wolff, there are open arms for you and the A's in San Jose! Now, about those pesky Giants territorial rights...

Georob said...

Of course Oakland is calling the A's bluff. For two reasons:

1) As I've said before, there are too many who just don't take this seriously. There have been threats of the A's leaving for thirty years now and it's never happened yet.

However, the stronger reason is:

2) For financial, demographic and political reasons; Oakland is dealing from a position of weakness. Internally, they know they can't compete with San Jose and Las Vegas. All Oakland has left is a good poker face, and being apathetic to Lew Wolff's needs serves inner city constituents that don't care about baseball while at the same time setting up a better deal for the city.

And they'll maintain that stance right up to the moment that the A's announce they're leaving Oakland. Then watch things change.

Anonymous said...

Well, how can we blame Oakland for turning down the lease extension request when the A's have been giving them ultimatums? Was it not Lew Wolff who said that a decision needed to be made by the start of the 2006 season? He's setting deadlines and then wants to extend the lease. Just seems to crazy to me.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you could elaborate and clarify...Has Lew Wolff been in charge of finding a stadium site/venue for the A's long before he became the owner? I know I've read this before. If so, Opening Day 2006 would mark close to three years of Wolff trying to get a stadium deal done in I right.

Georob said...

Rhamesis, have you been able to get any more scoop on that blind rumor about Wolff "pulling the North Coliseum stadium off the table"?

Now that the A's have officially closed off the third deck for '06, it'll be interesting to see the city's reaction, if any. I know you may disagree, but I can see some politicos whining that this move is further proof that the A's are trying to DECREASE attendance in order to move the team

You watch, someone in Oakland will be stupid enough to say it.

Anonymous said...

OK, georob, I'm stupid enough to say this: The A's decreased capacity by 22%, increase average ticket prices by eliminating most of the cheap ones, while Wolff says 2006 attendance is a referendum on support for the team in Oakland. Is my math wrong? Or does something else not add up?

Marine Layer said...

I'm getting video from that council session and if/when I find the clip, I'll post it here. Then I'll go to the local pols and start asking questions.

About the rejected lease extension - the Coliseum Authority is going to try to work on it with the A's ASAP. They truly felt that it was being lumped in with the ad revenue deal too quickly for a thorough review. I can understand that, but it doesn't sound like there was any real financial risk involved. Sometimes you have to strike while the iron is hot.