14 March 2005

The A's and Revenue Sharing

It looks like this season the A's will be the recipients of a handsome revenue sharing windfall:

Unlike the NFL, baseball might not share all of its revenue. But the 300 million bucks a year it does share now are having a major effect....The A's, according to sources, will get about $19 million.

Now before anyone starts jumping up and down screaming "We won the lottery!" it's important to understand what that revenue sharing figure means in the grand scheme of things. According to the Major League Agreement, all thirty teams have to share a third of their locally-generated revenues (tickets, ads, local TV/radio). The money is then pooled and split 30 ways. So if the A's paid in $15 million (1/3 of a rough estimate of $45 million in local revenue) and got back $34 million, their revenue sharing rebate is $19 million. If Jayson Stark is right about the following:
And that doesn't even include the $20 million or so each team collects in national TV money. Or the $4 million they're about to get from the new XM radio deal. Or the $6 million to $8 million each team gets from the swelling central fund.

... then the A's should have gotten well over $100 million in revenue for 2004 when merchandise sales and other national streams are included. That makes sense considering the A's pulled $110 million in 2003 according to Forbes. Remove about $40 million in infrastructure costs such as player development, front office costs, rent on the stadium and spring training facilities, and the team's left with $60-70. Most of that will go to players. Some of it may end up becoming a small profit for the ownership group. Chances are that the payroll and revenue will remain the same or dip slightly for 2005, and the cycle will continue.

More on Coliseum South Lot

After checking the Alameda County Assessor's property database and the City of Oakland's city-owned property list, I've come to the somewhat educated conclusion that most of the target property is not owned by the Joint Powers Authority or any other public entity.

The only part that is owned by the JPA is the overflow lot southeast of the drainage channel that runs along the southern border of the Coliseum complex. Below is a photo with that parcel highlighted (in green):

The land is about 8.5 acres and is mostly unimproved. Electrical transmission lines run through it, posing challenges to the JPA and developers. How do the lines get rerouted? Who pays for it?

The remaining land (17 acres) would have to be purchased by the team or purchased by the JPA and given to the team. My guess is that it would be the latter. Additional cost of land? $10-15 million, based on the price of the land at Hegenberger Gateway.

By the way, 8.5 acres is not enough space to build a new ballpark in the modern era. 12-15 acres minimum is required. SBC Park sits on a 13 acre footprint.

Amtrak to the Coliseum

This spring, fans will have another transportation option when going to the Coliseum. In 2003, the City of Oakland and Amtrak partnered to build a new train platform immediately east of the stadium. The $4 million project, called the Oakland Coliseum Intercity Rail Station, is being built to provide an anchor for the transit hub concept being envisioned for the Coliseum BART station area. Eventually, the transit hub would link BART, Amtrak, AC Transit buses, and the People Mover that may be built to carry passengers in between the hub and Oakland International Airport.

The Intercity Rail Station will be a fairly spartan affair, with a single 600-foot platform on the easternmost-track, a shelter, and 35 parking spaces. It is unclear how these spaces will be used and regulated during games, which could become an issue since at least a few hundred fans per game use the Coliseum BART station as free parking for events (BART does charge for Raiders games and high attendance A's games).

The Capitol Corridor run by Amtrak is important because it is the only direct public transportation link between Oakland and San Jose. Amtrak runs 22 trains per day betwen Rocklin and San Jose on this route. With the completion of track improvements on the East Bay portion, the service will expand slightly, mostly benefiting South Bay passengers.

The price of a trip to the Coliseum on the Capitol Corridor is another story. The regular round-trip fare between San Jose Diridon Station and Oakland's Jack London Square station is $22, which to me is prohibitively high. However, Amtrak does provide frequent traveler discounts, include a 45-day/10-ride ticket. Between JLS and Diridon the card costs $63. Between the Coliseum and Diridon it might cost $59. I'll check to see if there are any restrictions on the card's usage, such as if it can only be used once per person per trip or if can be used for multiple persons on the same trip. If it's the latter, it could prove to be a very competitive option as a family of five could get to a ballgame for less than $6 per person each way. A regular roundtrip on Caltrain between Diridon and San Francisco is $11, or $9.35 if using a 10-ride ticket. BART costs $6 roundtrip between Fremont and the Coliseum, plus $7 roundtrip on VTA's Express #180 bus between Fremont and Diridon.

A trip from Fairfield to Oakland JLS costs $22 roundtrip as well. Sacramento is $34.

New stadium issues affecting Stockton Ports

The Stockton Ports, who just a few months ago became the high-A affiliate of the A's, have been complaining about the $22 million ballpark being built for them on the banks of the Stockton Deep Water Channel. Among their complaints: the ballpark is too big (too many seats). Is it justified? Judge for yourself.

For those of you wondering why the A's high-A affiliate is no longer in Modesto, it had much to do with being lured by - that's right - a fancy new ballpark. What has Modesto done to get a new team? Why, they've gone Nuts.