14 April 2006

Two-team market dynamics + Scarcity revisited

Nate Silver of Baseball Prospectus wrote a piece analyzing attendance revenue for the four two-team markets. He wondered what effects one team's success had on the other. After running attendance revenue figures through a regression analysis, Silver surmises that for the most part, one team's success would have a symbiotic effect on its rival. The notable exception is Chicago, where loyalties seem to run the strongest.

As for the Bay Area, Silver wrote that either team had a slight but positive effect on the other:

Not much to look at here. Multiple choice--this is because (a) there’s a cleaner geographical distinction between the West and East Bays; (b) whatever Mapquest says, you couldn’t get from the Coliseum to SBC Park in 20 minutes if you were flying a Concorde; (c) Bay Area fans are characteristically non-committal and indifferent.

The last point is painfully true. Bay Area people are accustomed to having to drive an hour to get to work and at least 30 minutes to get to entertainment. I know plenty of Peninsula/SF people who never visit the other side of the Bay and East Bay folks who have little idea what the South Bay looks like. That begs the question, "How distinct are the four 'sides' of the Bay?" I've always thought it was a rather fluid dynamic because of the way I live, but maybe it isn't. Where does Fremont fit into all of this?

Elsewhere, Chris Isidore of CNN/Money looks at how scarcity is affecting ticket prices and demand. He noted that the average ticket price of an A's game went up 25% from 2005 to 2006. That number coincides with the newest Fan Cost Index numbers released by Team Marketing Report.

I'd go further into the FCI, but I'll save that for next week.


peanut gallery said...

I am completely missing the point about it taking a long time to get places here. It would take you forever to get from Dodger Stadium to the big A at rush-hour. It's a short BART ride and walk to get from the Coliseum to Phone Company Park. I don't understand why that is a huge issue for us, but is not for LA. I think the real issue is that it's relatively uncommon for both the A's and Giants to be very good in the same years. Thus, very little effect from one team to the other. If there had been more years where both were very good, you might see more correlation.

Anonymous said...

Am I missing something PG...but haven't the A's and the Giants been regulars in the postseason a good portion of the last 6-7 years?

Anonymous said...

A's yes, Giants maybe

peanut gallery said...

I haven't gone back and looked and I am biased (love the A's, hate the Giants). But it seems that when the A's are a very strong team, the Giants are bad-to-mediocre (most years). And when the A's are down, that's when the Giants have been good (almost never - told you I am biased). :o)

I could be way off base though. I'm just trying to follow the logic of the article and I'm not getting what he's trying to say about the Bay Area that makes it so different from the others. It's something like we don't care and traffic is bad. OK, but I know our traffic isn't worse than LA and I don't think it's much worse (if at all) than Chicago or New York. So I'm trying to follow the "we don't care" thing, which makes me think it has something to do with being front runners. If that's the case, having one successful team won't help the other because we only care if they are winning (or so the article implies). Maybe he just wanted to throw us out because we didn't fit his thesis.

Anonymous said...

20 minutes from park to park (sbc to oakland) is definetly do-able with out traffic. But really who cares? So few fans support both teams and at this point, sides have been chosen. This distance issue really only matters to the people who actually live in Oakland and who would live closer to the SF ballpark then the A's should they move to Fremont or dare I say San Jose.

Marine Layer said...

The author was saying that there are factors that don't make the Bay Area as fluid as the other markets. I know I'm going to regret saying this, but the city name is probably a big factor. Combine that with the physical separation and there's a large psychological effect. Then there's our market size, which pales in comparison to LA or NY.

Anonymous said...

which city's name are you referring to ML?

Georob said...

There are many who post here and elsewhere who have psyched themselves into thinking that the city that they most identify with (Oakland, San Jose) have absolutely nothing to do with San Francisco.

But I'll risk collective abuse here and say you're in the minority. Put any qualifier you want on it, it's still called the "Bay Area". And the "Bay" that's its named for is the....

Altogether now....

So, the name DOES matter, and the fact remains that more folks in Northern California identify with "San Francisco" than any other locality.

And that's been a big problem for any sports franchise labeled "Oakland". And while it may be an improvement, it'll be a problem for any team called "San Jose" as well.

If Lew Wolff really wants to copy the Angels, he'd use the name "San Francisco" in whatever permutation the A's end up calling themselves.

San Jose may very well end up being five times larger and more important than the city of SF, and I'd venture to say that most folk (especially out of state) will still refer to the area as the "San Francisco" area.

I'm sure that the majority folks in Boston don't care a lick that it's NFL team and the region itself goes by the name "New England"

Anonymous said...

San Jose is extremely popular in the sports world...if you're a hockey fan living in Canada, Northern Europe, or Russia. Many a hockey fan know they way to San Jose! Give us an MLB team (or a NBA/NFL team for that matter), and more people around this country/world won't be asking "where the hell is San Jose?" Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Oh please! Don't nobody in Russia know where San Jose is. San Jose ain't nothin but one huge suburb. NHL Hockey is not even popular anymore so the Sharks do little for San Jose nationally. San Jose was really only recognized in the 90's because of the whole Silicon Valley hype and when they FINALLY were awarded the Sharks. Those two main factors are the only reason why San Jose may be somewhat known around. So please, don't over estimate whats not there.

Kenny said...

Georob, I got into a heated argument with Raider Rob in the bleachers some time ago about the "San Francisco Bay Area."

I said no matter how "East Bay" I was, I still use San Francisco as a contrast. Then he started yelling at me saying how the media is trying to keep Oakland down because of the Black Panthers and blah blah blah... And say he's from the "Oakland" Bay

I even tried to ask him to describe Oakland's location to me as if I was a clueless foreigner. He kept on saying "well, you're in Oakland."

I got tired of arguing with his seriously flawed logic and said "you win."

Let's get this through our heads. Oakland is not as first-rate city, but neither is San Jose. The only first rate city around here is San Francisco.

jrbh said...

Actually, the first rate city here is the Bay Area. San Francisco, on it's own, is nowhere near, and it goes without saying that Oakland and San Jose aren't, either. But when you combine them all -- what is "New York City" except the cities of Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Manhattan combined? -- then you've got something.

Georob said...

Exactly right, JRBH! The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, or each individual city to be exact.

But you still have to give it a label, and "San Francisco Bay Area" still works for a good majority of the populace. Which is why it's much easier for the Giants and 49'ers to draw fans with the "SF" designation.

Which is also why Oakland and San Jose teams will always have a tougher time of it, as they aren't percieved as representing the entire region the way "SF" teams do.

Like I said, Lew Wolff should give serious consideration to somehow working "San Francisco" into the A's identity. He'd be risking a huge public backlash for sure, but the rewards down the road could very well outweigh it.

Chris said...

Most people I know call the San Francisco Bay Area simply the Bay Area. I think that the Bay Area A's in addition to rolling off the toungue nicely would also do the best at attracting the greatest number of fans. Residents of the Bay Area and elsewhere will only mock the A's if they somehow tried to include SF in their name a la Anaheim. I think that Residents of the South Bay, East Bay, Peninsula and North Bay associate themselves more with the Bay Area than just SF.

Kenny said...

I don't think "Bay Area" is synonomous to the San Francisco Bay Area at a national level. I was at a convention a few years ago and when asked where I was from I often replied "Bay Area." A few east coasters said "Tampa?"

Don't the Devil Rays have a regional name? They play in St. Petersburg.

tony d. said...

Thank you Chris! Yes, being a proud native/citizen of San Jose, most people who live here (as opposed to some who reside in the Central Valley) refer to the greater region as the "Bay Area." Some other examples of regional identity: FSN Bay Area, The Bay Area's News Station (KRON), Bay Area Rapid Transit...where's the reference to San Francisco? NOT NEEDED! Look, I've said it once before and I'll say it again, Frisco's a great town and is popular worldwide...but does that mean that the rest of us residing in the BAY AREA have to roll over and pay homage to everything SF?! Absolutely not! And this idea of calling an A's team in Fremont "San Francisco" reaks with insanity (Sorry Rob). Trust me, if a team in Fremont were titled "San Jose," give it a year or two...a lot more people around the country/world would know the way to SJ, 10th largest city in the nation...and no need for a Frisco reference! By the way, what the hell does the name "San Francisco" have to do with the A's building a ballpark in Fremont (or God willing, San Jose)?

Marine Layer said...

How could we ever forget "Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative?" Oh, bad example.

Georob said...

An open letter to the city of San Jose:

You will achieve greatness only when and if you concentrate on being a great city. But jumping up and down like an 8 year old girl and whining:

TEAMDAGNABBIT!" is so...well, Minor League.

If San Francisco means nothing to you, then start acting like it and quit perserverating over what people think of you. You already have what it takes to be a great city, just be it.

....otherwise you'll be put in "TIME OUT"

Anonymous said...

LOL at the comparision to New York City... When you say New York City, or even the "City" to a New Yorker, they are not going to think Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, or Staten Island. The City = Manhattan. If you want to talk about Brooklyn, you say Brooklyn. The official city name might be New York City for the whole 5 burroughs, but that's not how it works in reality.

Same thing with the San Francisco Bay Area. You talk about the "City" in the Bay Area, you're talking about San Francisco. There's no way around it.

Chris said...

Kenny, I don't think that "Bay Area" is synonomous with "SF Bay Area" 100% nationally either, but I do believe that "Bay Area" is associated with "SF Bay Area" more than any other Bay Area in the US (Chesapeake, Tampa, mabe others?). Having grown up near San Jose and lived in NYC and DC the last 5 years, I always tell people i'm from the Bay Area and no one has ever confused that with Chesapekae or Tampa Bay (ans I'm only 30 minutes from the Chesapekae Bay). Maybe some people from Florida would be confused but I guarantee that if the A's named themselves simply the Bay Area A's that the "Bay Area" would become synonomous with "SF Bay Area". This name would also appeal to all residents of the Bay Area rather than pigeonholing them to Oakland, Fremont or San Jose.

Homer Plate said...

Get your opinions heard !

This issue is the "SPORTS SPAT" question in the Oakland Trib/Hayward Daily Review/Tri-Valley Herald/Fremont Argus this week ---

Question: Thumbs-up or thumbs-down on the A's in Fremont?

They're going to print a bunch of reader opinions in the paper on Friday 4/21.

Just click on the form

or send to

You can also vote in their poll at
(scroll down to the SPORTS SPAT)