01 September 2005

Radio and SB 4 news

Any pursuit of KTCT-1050 AM as the A's flagship may soon be rendered moot when Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff decides which bidder wins the right to purchase its radio properties. Bidding is open for Susquehanna Media until September 13, though the company isn't releasing any other details. The parent company, Susquehanna Pfaltzgraff, has already divested itself of its Internet consulting business, SusQtech, and its dinnerware business as well. Top suitors include Infinity, Clear Channel, Cox Radio, and Entercom. Business continues at KTCT, which is applying for the abililty to broadcast at 50,000 watts at night as well as during the day.

SB 4 continues its march through legislature. Next up is a vote in the Assembly's Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy, which should be a breeze since the potential impact of large numbers of construction jobs makes the bill (at least within the limited context the JED&E committee works) a near no-brainer. According to the Assembly's published schedule, the next meeting for the committee is on Tuesday, September 6. That would give the bill 3 days, or the rest of the week, to pass the committee, get a vote after the third reading on the Assembly floor, then get concurrence for the amended version on the Senate floor before the end of business on the 9th. Keep in mind that the bill does not need to be signed by the Governor to become law, it only needs to pass both houses and not get vetoed by the Governor afterwards. If all of that happens, on January 1, 2006 the bill would become law.

Measuring a stadium's value just released their baseball Fan Value Index, which attempts to quantify the experience at each of the thirty MLB ballparks based on prices, amenities, and "intangibles" such as neighborhood and atmosphere.

McAfee Coliseum landed right in the middle, at #15 between Yankee Stadium and U.S. Cellular Field. In giving the Coliseum a score of 40 out of 70 possible points, reviewer James Black hit the nail right on the head in one of his closing comments:
"Despite regularly producing playoff teams since the 1970s, the A's play in one of the majors' least interesting ballparks, while across the Bay the Giants' inconsistent play (at best) is rewarded with a veritable Taj Mahal."
Surprisingly, that very Taj Mahal across the bay placed 24th on the list, scoring a total of 37. The low scores came largely from inflated prices cited from Team Marketing Report's Fan Cost Index, with which I have to take some issue. It basically assumes that a family will buy the same food and souvenirs at every game, which is less likely to happen the more one goes. I can't comment on souvenirs since I don't buy them, but food prices are only slightly higher at SBC versus those at the Coliseum. A microbrew usually costs a quarter more in SF, while a hot dog is 25-50 cents more. SBC, through its pouring rights deal with Coke, has one pretty unique item not found in other ballparks: Coke vending machines. When the park opened in 2000, those 1.5 L bottles cost only $1. They've steadily gone up since then and are no longer a great deal at $3 (IIRC), but they more than did the job since they didn't have long lines and the sodas were always cold. It's an idea that should be considered for a new A's ballpark, since the overhead compared to using vendors is relatively low. No, I am not arguing for the return of the Automat, but for something as simple as a drink, there are obviously more efficient ways of selling it, and vending machines make sense.

Incidentally, the top-ranked venue this year was Miller Park, which like the Coliseum has lots of parking and plenty of walk-up tickets available. Limited public transit options knocked it down a bit, but the great tailgating experience and the amenities available in the new ballpark boosted its score. PNC Park placed second, Coors Field third, and Angels Stadium fourth (thanks to Arte Moreno's promise of reasonably-priced concessions and tickets).