12 March 2006

Sacramento's Sound of Silence + SF Venue Plans

A report in this week's Sacramento Business Journal goes over the ongoing struggle to get the A's on the radio in the Sacramento area. Most of the article isn't revelatory, but it does point out that a Modesto station (probably KTRB) backed out of a deal with the A's in January. What's discouraging is that there still are no prospects on the horizon, making Sacramento A's fans SOL unless they get XM. One interesting tidbit: 5% of A's season ticket holders come from the Sacramento area.

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the on-again, off-again discussions about a downtown arena have heated up, especially since the city lost a chance to bid on the 2008 Democratic National Convention. The 49ers, fresh off a newly signed CBA and a renewed G3 loan program, are stepping up their stadium plans by soliciting architecture firms for their 72,000-seat venue that will eventually replace Candlestick/3Com/Monster Park. The 49ers' stadium could have an indirect impact on the A's because it's likely that the new stadium will have at least twice the number of luxury suites that the 'Stick currently has (64). That could in turn further saturate the Bay Area market, making the sale of luxury suites at an A's ballpark a bit more difficult.


Anonymous said...

I don't like this Frisco Arena idea at all. It is my hope that (barring on NBA team relocating to SJ within the next 10 years) in 2017 San Jose will actively pursue the Warriors. Throw in a spanking new Arena at Mission Bay/SF, and San Jose's chances of ever acquiring an NBA team go down to 0! Heck, a new arena in Frisco might even get the Sharks into thinking relocation. Might we be screwed by Frisco once again in the future over NHL/NBA?

tony d. said...

first post tony d.

Georob said...

Are other teams in baseball having the same problems finding radio coverage? I know religious broadcasters have been buying AM stations nationwide, but between them and the proliferation of syndicated talk shows, I can't believe that their ratings are high enough to be put at risk by six hours of baseball coverage per day(mostly nights and weekends)

Trust me, if KNBR decided they no longer wanted baseball, a lot of radio outlets would find the time for the Giants. The hard reality is that the A's fan support on radio is weak, even in the Bay Area.

And how would moving to San Jose change that? They pretty much have the same radio stations as Oakland, at least on AM.

The A's are in a position unique only to them. Terrain and geography prevent a lot of small outlets from being viable, to be sure; but when you don't draw ratings, nothing else matters.

Marine Layer said...

There's no money or political will to have a $300 million arena in SF, even if Mayor Newsom brings it up once a year. There would be no major tenant to fill the place and it would be competing with Oakland Arena and HP Pavilion to boot. The W's are locked until 2017, the Sharks until 2023. If SF can somehow get an arena built on spec despite not having a team, they'll earn a shot at a NBA franchise, but Stern and the owners will still have sympathy for the W's.

The A's radio situation is completely unique to them. No other two-team market has this kind of disparity. It's this type of problem that brings up the questions about the A's viability in the Bay Area.

Anonymous said...

"A's fan support on the radio is weak."

A's fan support in general is weak. Check radio ratings, tv ratings, attendance at the park, sponsorship, and merchandise sales. Giants dwarf (no pun intended) the A's in every way imaginable. The reason that the A's struggle to get a good flagship radio outlet is an indication that they have much much lower fan support in the bay area. Moving to San Jose, Fremont, or Dublin won't change a thing. The Giants will still outdraw them for fans and sponsors dollars. I firmly believe that all would be better off if the A's moved to Sacramento - they'd have the region to themselves and would not forever have to be second citizens.

Marine Layer said...

"Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven." - John Milton.

Wolff has said in the past that he's good friends with Rivercats owner Art Savage, so he probably has the skinny on the Sacramento market's viability. The fact that he isn't publicly pursuing the market is a good indicator of not only Sac's place in the search, but also of Wolff's belief in the East/South Bay. Sorry, but Sac's continuing issues with the Kings sends up a big red flag to the other sports. Unless that gets resolved, I can't see how Sac becomes a major player.

murf said...


Forget it.

Marine Layer said...

I'll try this for murf:


Anonymous said...

heh, thanks ML. Not sure why I couldn't keep the link from busting... time to go outside.

Jeff said...

I have to disagree with the notion that the A's will be perpetual orphans in the bay area. Before the park to be named again and again was built, the Giants and A's were very similar in all categories. In fact, the a's often had the upper hand due to their winning ways, something that has escaped the Giants time after time. I believe that if the A's build a park that is at least competitive in atmosphere with (insert phone company name here) you will see a resurgence in interest for the A's. Especially if the A's maintain their winning ways. SF will always have the gem beside the bay, quite possibly the most asthetically pleasing ballpark in the world. However, Bonds will be gone soon, along with any hopes of consistent winning for the next few years. If the a's build fairly soon, and they build wisely, they will have a shot at being the preemminent team in the area. If the fan experience is equitable between the franchises....winning will solve everything else.

Anonymous said...

Prior to the Giant's new ballpark being built, the Giants TV and radio ratings were always hands down much higher than the A's. This is an indication that there are many, many more Giants than A's fans in the Bay Area.

Marine Layer said...

True, but attendance often wasn't better for the Giants. The Giants enjoy a huge advantage in their media position, but there's no guarantee that this hegemony will last into eternity. Wolff already has a blueprint in the form of the Angels' growth over the past 4 years. Many of the same lessons can be applied.

Anonymous said...


I have to disagree with you on a couple of your points.

Though I am a staunch A's fan, I believe the A's will always play second fiddle to the Giants. I think this fact is reflected in the disparity in the TV and radio contracts of the two teams.

With regard to life after Bonds, I actually think the Giants could be a lot better team without Bonds. His $20 million dollar salary could go a long way in signing a couple of key free agents. I think their success at the gate will continue as long as they field a competitor.

Having said that though, I will say that I have spoken to several long time Giant season ticket holders who all say that the bloom is starting to come off the rose. STH are starting to consider non-renewing their tickets. They complain about not having the option of being able to purchase anything less than a full season package. In addition there are now far less fans looking to buy the rights to season tickets. The price of those rights, along with an increase in the price of the tickets have started to drive prospective STH away.

Jeff said...

I think you may assume that a state of stasis will exist in perpetuity. If the A's relocate to the South Bay in a state of the art facility, they will be in a position unique in their history. The A's have gone head to head with the Giants in marketing since their inception. If they are removed geographically with a closer proximity to a huge potential fanbase, why wouldn't they be able to capitilize in such a changing environment? Markets shift, as do demographics. Stasis is not a normal environment. Change is inevitable, and if the A's position themselves wisely, they will be able to benefit from those changes. Who would have thought the Angels could go head to head with the Dodgers with the success they have enjoyed to date? The opportunity is there, but it remains to be seen if they can capitilize on it. If the A's can orientate themselves to the SB market, the media outlets will follow as sure as the sun rises in the east. Money is the name of the game, and SJ seems to have the highest concentration of wealth in the area.

You seem to argue that the Giants will always enjoy supremacy, and yet acknowledge fan dissatisfaction with the current ticket policies. Don't get me wrong, I believe the Giants will be a formidable presense for years to come, but that does not preclude the A's from positioning themselves in the ensuing vacuum. They might just succeed in luring a good many of those unhappy campers into the latest new thing in the area. All in all, it's an interesting time to be an A's fan!!

Anonymous said...


I agree that the A's have before them a golden opportunity to improve their standing in the BA market. But I still believe that even with a new ballpark (wherever it is built), and a successful team on the field, the A's will always be view by many as second to the Giants. I don't know why this is the case. Maybe it's the name of the team (SF vs. Oakland), the ballpark, the territorial rights, the media, or maybe even the ownership. For some reason, there just doesn't seem to be as much support for the A's. It's similar to other two team markets; Mets/Yankees, Cubs/White Sox, or yes even Angels/Dodgers.

How do you explain the disparity in last year's attendance? The Giants drew around 3.2 million, while the A's drew 2.1 million. This despite the fact that Bonds didn't play for the majority of the season, and the Giants were never in the playoff race. The A's on the other hand, after a slow start, made a mid-season run for the division title. They were only eliminated in the final two weeks of the regular season. In fact the 2.1 million in 2005 was less than what they drew in 2004.

In many ways, I view the Giants as a "greater evil" than the Angels or Yankees. Why, because their existence (and not their success) in this market possess a great treat to the success of the A's.

I often wonder what would the A's attendance figures have been like if the Giants did move to Tampa St. Pete.

Jeff said...

If the Giants would have moved, no doubt the A's would have built a park long ago. And enjoyed success. I think the Giants out drawing the A's can be attributed to their park. It's absolutely stunning. As much as I hate saying it, it is superior in every way to the old colesium. However, Bonds return was anticipated throughout the season, and as sorry as the NL west was last year, the Giants were in contention. Had the Giants collapsed in a strong division, no doubt support would have fell off also. Also note that a lot of those seats may have sold last year, but without the corresponding rear ends occupying them.

I have to beleive that the A's in the south bay would reinvigorate their potential draw. I certainly hope so. There are distictions in those other markets you mentioned....with the excpetion of Chicago. I can only hope that the A's aren't doomed to be second fiddle as are the White Sox. But who knows, that may change with the recent success of the WS. As for NY, the history of the Yankee's transcsend any success by the Mets, howbeit that the Mets did outperform the Yanks back when the Mets were the superior team and the Yanks were mired in mediocrity. Who knows what would have happened had the Mets sustained their success? NY always loves a winner.