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14 October 2006

Okay, I'll bite on the name

Update: Two editorials were published this week on the A's possible move to Fremont. Both the San Jose Mercury News and the Fremont Argus support the efforts, pointing out the inability of the A's and the City of Oakland to work out a deal. The Argus thinks the team name could be "Oakland A's of Fremont," while the Merc doesn't rule out a "San Jose A's" sobriquet.

Folks, I shake my head at how half of the comment threads seem to get hijacked by the "city name" debate. There are all sorts of legitimate reasons for why one city may be included over another, but we simply don't know the true criteria that are being used. However, I think that if one of the main reasons for relocating the team (pursuit of Silicon Valley money) is the same as what's being used to name the team, it makes sense to use a designator befitting all of this new support:


Silicon Valley A's

Cringe all you want, but the political/economic forces at work are every bit as powerful as those from a municipality. One of those forces is the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (formerly the Silicon Valley Manufacturing Group), whose latest media foray was a widely quoted study from a month ago that cited Silicon Valley as both the best and worst technology hub in the US (VC money for the former, cost of doing business for the latter). One of the main tenets of SVLG's core policy is the addition of housing, especially affordable housing in the Valley. Guess what the A's-Pacific Commons project would do? That's right, it would add housing in the Valley.

The speech that Lew Wolff made in August was sponsored by the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. Why both names? It's pretty obvious that Silicon Valley has far surpassed San Jose as the real catch-all descriptor of the area. Take Google's purchase of YouTube. Neither company is described as being near San Jose or San Francisco. Both are considered Valley companies, even though YouTube's San Bruno location is arguably outside the generally accepted definition of Silicon Valley.

While I was in Australia, I had several people ask me where my company's headquarters were. I explained they were in Fremont, which was often met with blank stares. Once I amended "Silicon Valley" or "San Francisco" to my response everyone knew what I was talking about. "San Jose" required a qualifier most of the time. San Jose's struggle with its own identity is typified by its motto, "The Capital of Silicon Valley". Most everyone that lives and works here knows such a tagline is a fallacy. That's partly due to how quickly things change here, but it also has much to do with the sprawling, homogeneous nature of the region. Downtown San Jose has a single major corporate headquarters, Adobe, and it's begging for nVidia to move to an empty building downtown. Meanwhile, Google is creating a mega-campus in Mountain View/Moffett Field, Yahoo is entrenched in Sunnyvale but is looking to make its own mega-campus in Santa Clara, not far from Great America. Apple's always been a Cupertino company. HP has always been a Palo Alto firm. Intel belongs in Santa Clara. Cisco in north San Jose. Sand Hill Road is in Menlo Park.

Not every Valley firm will be gung-ho about being lumped in with a particular city, especially if it's not their home. But they can all identify with being Valley companies. If the A's want something that makes sense to all of these new corporate sponsors, a proper nod to the Valley is in order.

Will the owners and the commish go for it? And what about Oakland?

47 comments:

Catfish said...

Just found this site, pretty good stuff being talked about on here, just thought I would chime in.

Yeah, that sounds pretty right on to me. As an Oakland resident I have all but given up hope on a local ballpark getting built (i've been around these worthless politicians here my entire life, so I know they are incapable of getting anything done), and I've settled on the idea of the Fremont location. That being said, I think we all know no matter what, they will never name the team "Fremont A's" just from the marketing aspect, due to the fact that Fremont is a suburb city that no one knows about. SV A's makes sense for all the reasons you have stated, and when you look at the continuing trend in pro sports, clearly making money outweighs making the fans happy so this seams like a natural move for the team. Also, one view point I haven't seen anyone touch on is this; wouldn't the Giants welcome a move to the southbay by the A's given the fact that a majority of the East Bay fans will be significantly closer to Pac Bell Park and thus drawing away a large number of fans? Obviously if you look at a map, San Francisco is a hell of a lot closer to Oakland then South Fremont or San Jose is. I think it's safe to say most people on here are fans of the team, but a large majority of people who go to these games aren't that "hardcore" and if it's easier for them to get to Pac Bell Park, and the prices are the same (which I'm sure will be the case once a new park is built) then why would those families go all the way down to SJ?

anthony dominguez said...

Welcome Catfish! I'm going to go on record as agreeing with you Rhamesis. If the A's had relocated to DSJ, it would have been a different story. By coining them "Silicon Valley," the A's will be appealing to all of SCCo and Southern Alameda/San Mateo Co's. "SJ" would have been nice; "Silicon Valley" will work! Of course, "SJ Hater" is going to insist the A's be named after San Francisco because we should forever pay homage to that municipality. And besides, that's what the Bay's named after...give us a break Rob! Maybe we should rename the Sharks after Santa Cruz because of the mountains to our west.

peanut gallery said...

I know one thing, Wolfe has said many times he likes a regional name of some sort. IMO, Fremont will not be part of the team name, not even in the form of a "...of Fremont" Angels-type foolishness. It could be part of the stadium name, but that's it. Silicon Valley A's. Yeah, I can see that happening.

Anonymous said...

haha, I used to live in Santa Cruz when I went to college down there and that was durring the height of the Silicon Valley boom. At that time, all of the valuable, waterfront property was being bought up by brand new millionaires from over the hill and because of that, Santa Cruz was often affectionately reffered to as Silicon Beach. How about the Silicon Beach Sharks?

Jeff August said...

If I worked for the A's I would do something like this:

Silicon Valley Athletics who play in Cisco Village at Rickey Henderson, or Dennis Eckersley Park.

It would be a way to get the corporate name, the regional name and tie the team to the existing fan base.

I don't know what they will do, and I think the elast likely thing would be the Dennis Eckersley Field part of it... but if they Cold find a way to tie the stadium to Haas era team, I think it would go a long way towards keeping much of the existing fan base on board while adding new fans in the Silicon Valley.

Mike.... said...

I thought I saw Wolff or Billy Beane say sometime ago (or someone else speaking for them, possible Mike Crowly) that the name would remain the Oakland A's if they were in Fremont.

San Jose would be another story of course. But I believe if the move is made to Fremont the name stays as Oakland.

It's not going to be the "Silicon Valley A's" cute as the column is written.

Zonis said...

It will not stay the Oakland A's. I think it will come down to either one of four names:

a) Fremont Athletics
b) San Jose Athletics
c) Bay Area Athletics
d) Silicon Valley Athletics

While none of them sound very asthetically pleasing, I think d is probably the best choice for doing business. But you know that with each name, comes a new enemy fanbase insult, like the Silly's.

I think it will end up as the Silicon Valley Athletics, @ Cisco Field.

Georob said...

I DON'T HATE SAN JOSE...JEESH!!

What I've been saying is that the A's need to market to a broader population in order to compete with the Giants who ride that "SF" for all it's worth.

It's just as well Rhamesis made the points about not using "San Jose" instead of me. As I've said, the corporate community see themselves as part of something much bigger than just the city they are in. And while "Silicon Valley" clearly implies the South Bay, it also resonates with the whole Bay Area. Let's not forget how San Francisco(especially the area around ATT park) benefitted from the dot-com boom.

This also buys San Jose time. For as RM put it, San Jose is truly NOT the center of the Silicon Valley, at least now. But that can change over the next 20-30 years if they keep improving Downtown. However, by approving upgrades to Valley Fair, Eastridge, and Oakridge, city leaders are sending mixed messages about where they want "the action" to be. It doesn't have to be Santana Row, but Downtown is going to have to have some tangible retail prescence if it's to truly be the "Capital Of Silicon Valley"

Problem is, if Pacific Commons ends up being the "Emerald City" we think it might, Fremont may try and snatch that distinction away. San Jose needs to be aware of that.

San Jose is a great city and can be even greater. But byperseverating on the fact that they're the tenth largest in the country but don't yet have this and that isn't going to get them there.

But I'll agree with Tony this time. "Silicon Valley" works for me too.

bartleby66 said...

Catfish,

Welcome to the board. Your question regarding Giants attendance has been discussed here before. Yes, the A's moving to Fremont is probably a push in terms of overall Giant's attendance, because the northern part of the East Bay will then be closer to AT&T Park than to the A's. The reason the A's want to move south, and the reason the Giants are violently opposed is because the South Bay has half of the NASDAQ, while the East Bay has relatively little corporate base at all.

South Bay fans are a small part of overall Giants attendance, but South Bay corporations are a big part of the Giants suite and club seat sales. Together with TV revenue, these are really what drive profitability in modern MLB.

bartleby66 said...

Downtown SJ may be light in corporate HQ's, but the city overall has its share of the corporate community. (Mostly in the north, near, um, the new ballpark). However, ML does make a fair point: SJ is a bit of an anomaly in that the residential community in skewed toward the city while the employment base is in the suburbs.

But though some heavy-hitters may be located in places like Mountain View and Cupertino, I still say the most effective name would be San Jose, for three reasons: (1) A large percentage of employees and managers for those companies live in San Jose; (2) San Jose A's rolls off the tongue a lot better than Silicon Valley A's; and (3) I still believe people identify more with cities than diffuse regions. San Jose is still a good descriptor for the South Bay/Silicon Valley region, and as I've posted elsewhere, the Sharks are a great example of how that name can inspire a passionate and loyal fan base.

I do agree that Silicon Valley would be the next best choice, and won't be surprised at all if that's the way they decide to go. I don't think it will inspire the same level of commitment and passion among the new fan base as San Jose would, but it may be perceived as more inclusive of the south East Bay. So, maybe that's the way they'll go.

Here is a list of team names I think would be most effective:
1. San Jose (see above)
2. Silicon Valley (see above)
3. South Bay (same reasons as SV, only less so)
4. Oakland (tradition & history, city name, preserve existing fan base, such as it is)
5. NorCal/Bay Area/California (bad choices, but I can't think of anything better at the moment)

----
7,654. Anything with San Francisco in the name (alienates both East Bay and South Bay fans while doing nothing to draw fans from SF itself. Better alternatives include Moonfish Banana Team, Bob, and hundreds of words chosen randomly from a dictionary).
7,655. Golden State (Just, ugh. Bay Area suicide rate goes up. Team never reaches playoffs again.)

Zonis said...

I think if the A's want to compete with the Giants, they have to go the route that a certain other 'second tier' team went, which propelled them to fame and fortune.

That team is the Anaheim Angels.

We can't just 'play well and hope the fans show up'. We have to go out there and MAKE the fans know who we are, know that we're good, and come to the game.

One thing that would help would be to get a Radio Station that talks about the A's, such as the missed oppertunity to buy 1050. A Station that not only reaches out a great distance with good reception, but one that makes the A's the center of discussion. It worked very well for the Giants with KNBR, especially since they have the monopoly on it with no competition.

We need to force FSN to treat the A's equally with the Giants or better. We need to get the Media to talk about what happened to the A's before the Giants.

It worked for the Angels, why can't it work for us?

anthony dominguez said...

Great points Zonis. Perhaps we could also get FOX to realize that the Detroit Tigers are playing the A's in the ALCS. You know R.M., your post and the comments made by all got this SJ cheerleader thinking. Could an A's move to Fremont, and naming them after Silicon Valley, hurt the Giants/Peter Magowan MORE than a move to downtown San Jose? Seems quite plausible now, especially with the name "Silicon Valley" appealing to ALL of the NASDAQ and Santa Clara County. And in the fashion of having a "Fremont Day" at the coliseum, I could see Wolff having multiple days during the season for all Silicon Valley cities (San Jose Day, Mountain View Day, Gilroy Day, etc.). Perhaps he could even have dedicated days for Silicon Valley company's. The possibilities are endless for Lew Wolff and the A's at Pac Commons...$$$! Mark Purdy was right...PETER MAGOWAN BLEW IT!!

catfish said...

Great point zonis. The best thing the A's could do right now is to get their own radio station. I listen to KNBR all day (minus the crappy morning show) and I hear A's fans calling all the time to complain about the lack of coverage. If the A's and Raiders could split a flagship station like the Giants / Niners do, and maybe eventually steal away the Warriors from "The Sports Leader", I think that kind of exposure could produce a large boost in revenue that the team so desperatly needs. And I believe they could make this happen in this upcoming offseason, especially if we happen to make it to the World Series.

murf said...

I don't know, ML. Sure, we all here and people across the country can identify with Silicon Valley as a location, I've spoken to two people on separate occasions (one in NY and another in OR who thought that Silicon Valley was, literally, the internet. Or some ficticious location used to describe the location of high tech companies in the business world.

"You're in accounting? I'm in Silicon Valley."

89er said...

I've been gravitating toward SV as the best option for awhile now, and reading this particlar discussion has really solidified my position.

SF can't be a serious option. The Bay Area is too diffuse to get away with that. NorCal residents know there are at least three identifiable regions within it, and I think that probably holds on a national level too.

In terms of national identity, even fanson the east coast can cite SF, OAK, and SJ as being in NorCal, and the Bay Area. Fremont is in the class of Inglewood, Pontiac, Irving, and the Meadowlands: it doesn't have the profile to warrant national-level sports branding, but it'll benefit from the 'AP-byline' treatment.

I agree with the reasons cited against SJ. I also think that if they brand for SJ, it does alienate the East Bay a bit more than necessary, with not enough benefit to counterbalance. The EB tag itself only works well in NorCal, and maybe SoCal. CSU-EB is a commuter school, and it draws from a region in which the moniker works. Nationally, it can't have very much meaning, in my opinion.

So, for what I think are good reasons, SV is the best remaining option by process of elimination. With a nod to murph's point about simple ignorance (people who just don't know), I think SV still carries the best mix of national and regional indetity for the purpose of sports branding.

That's not even having broached the subject of the worldwide profile that the SV identity brings to the table if someone exercises the creativity to leverage it well as MLB continues to go global.

Great job on the site marinelayer!

89er said...

P.S. I think Fremont is just too far removed from Oakland to justify keeping the Oakland tag. Oakland doesn't have the cultural gravity to have that kind of influence. Neither does SF, that close to SV/SJ. SJ has the best case of any specific city, but I think SV is just a better call overall.

drummer510 said...

I think im gonna throw up... Silcon Valley A's?! They might as well change the team logo altogether: the Silicon Valley Chips, or the Silicon Valley 2.5 Ghz Processors, or the Silicon Valley Gamers, hell even the SV Bloggers would fit. All soul or history of this team would once again be compromised. Silicon Valley Athletics, cmon ML.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya' 510drummer, tradition be damned, it's all about the money. If they don't keep Oakland as the team name, then I'm done w/MLB. The A's can build their park in Fremont & still be the Oakland A's & south bay fans/corporations will have the team closer to them...why the need to screw the East Bay tradition (after all Fremont is in Alameda County & the county seat is Oakland), oh yeah, $$$$$$$. With that said, I know you're just the messenger MarineLayer, but your logic probably follows the path of the greedy A's owner in sheep's clothing.

Marine Layer said...

Sorry drummer510, like the anonymous commenter said, I'm just the messenger. When it comes to the city situation, I'm completely dispassionate about it and have no preference whatsoever. The bottom line has always been whether or not they stay in the Bay Area, and what the ballpark will eventually look like. I'm merely trying to think along the lines of the people that are making the big decisions.

Anonymous said...

Drummer, please, I dont want you to take offense to this, but...how do you think Kansas City Athletics sounded to Philadelphia Athletics fans? Probably about as distasteful as Oakland Athletics sounded to KC A's fans...
There is still a great deal of tradition in the Athletics name, and I hope Oakland stays on the front of the jerseys, but if remaining within the same geographical region means calling them the SV Athletics of Oakland or some such name, I am a happy camper.

Anonymous said...

Kansas City was promised another team after the A's left in 1967 and the Royals arrived in '69. Oakland will lose any further potential history with the A's leaving and the A's will lose part of their past glory by leaving Oakland . Philedelphia at least had the Phillies, please don't tell Oakland fans we still have the Giants by comparison.

Anonymous said...

Silicon Valley A's is a lame name that is souless. The rich history and tradition of the Oakland A's will be thrown out. There's no point in rooting for a "Corporate" team if they move to Fremont. The OAKLAND A's is all about the underdog mentality and the working class. You can count me out with the Silicon Valley A's of Fremont of I really Wish I was in San Jose of Santa Clara County!!!!

Anonymous said...

Posted by, Athletics Fan in London.

I seriously doubt the A's will ever be called The Silicon Valley A's. For starters SV is a nickname not a real geographical location. It is like calling the NY Yankees the Big Apple Yankees or Boston the Beantown Red Sox etc... Yes, I know the Golden State Warriors are the only exception but can anyone truly say Golden State is a success as a name? Does anyone identify the Warriors as the Bay Areas Basketball team? I think when it does come down to the board room focus group decision it is going to be something all encompassing, tasteful, geographically accurate and something that will maximise the potential fanbase and national exposure. The Bay Area is only really known as the Bay Area in well the Bay Area and Northern California. Tampa Bay calls themselves the Bay Area too. My thoughts of Silicon Valley are that it would not work because it is just a nickname for a rather vaguely defined area that does not exist in reality. I don't think it is going to do well in focus groups and marketing surveys. Remember this will be a money decision. The A's being closer to Fremont and more importantly having the new toy in town will draw the southbay tech company support more than the name will ever. In trying to gain national attention and regional affiliation I think San Francisco is going to be in the name as either the San Francisco Bay A's or something stupid like the San Francisco A's of Fremont or some other variation. I know some on this board object and are convinced that San Francisco will never have anything to do with the name but that is an emotional response. We are trying to guess what Mr. Wolf wants to do. He wants to maximise revenue and profits and San Francisco is the big proven money maker. The Angels saw the advantage of naming themselves after the big market city and I do not think that line of reasoning will escape Mr. Wolf.

Jeff said...

The Silicon Valley A's? I have to agree with the posters who believe that the name is just a little to esoteric to be a realistic consideration. The regional approach to naming sports franchises just doesn't have much of a track record for success. The California Angels didn't make much of an impression. Neither does Golden state warriors. I have to believe that identifying with a city is the tried and true approach. Be it Oakland, San Jose, or God forbid, San Francisco. Of the three I think you can write off Oakland. The names been tried for 40 years with marginal results. While it does have tradition and history, that may not neccessarily be a good thing. What kind of history and tradition? Outside the Bay, (and inside) the Oakland name invites a negative connotation. I'm not saying that this is fair or even accurate. It just is. That leaves SF or SJ. Obviously SF is taken and the team that has the name is heavily identified with the city. I know Arte has redefined conventional wisdom with moderate success in this regard, but the conditions are not the same. SJ is a much larger city and is much closer to the team. Ask yourself what demographic the A's are going to pursue. Why would the alienate that demographic by playing into the second tier sentiment currently in vogue? I still believe we will see the San Jose Athletics very soon.

Anonymous said...

Ah, how I miss the days when the Giants played in a crappy park and had one foot out the door and in Florida and the A'S had the highest payroll in the league.

Georob said...

No one complains about the New England Patriots, they're a good team. Consequently, the Golden State Warriors really never have been. Minnesota and Texas have worked fine for baseball teams that represent two cities in a metropolitan area. It's more than just the name, everybody!

Is Silicon Valley lame? I'll tell you this, the arguments against it are.

I still think that the A's should stick with Oakland until they have a better read on where corporate and fan support in Fremont comes from. And if Wolff has already decided on the name he should make the change now, as once Fremont is set in stone, the A's are already a lame duck team in Oakland.

We know how the Oakland supporters feel, but I still think that too many South Bay fans want "SJ" on the uniforms or it's no deal.

Jeff said...

All good points Rob. While I'm not a SJ resident, I think equating them with venom of the Oakland only crowd is a stretch. For the most part, it seems that they just want a team....and are not likely to become indignant over the name, at least for now. The OAFC crown are going to remain hostile unless all their conditions are met, ie the status quo. Minnesota and Texas are "super regional" names. Recognition of their municipalities is at least implied. Or so it seems to me.

Is Silicon Valley a "lame" name? I wouldn't go that far. I just see it as second best, with not much appeal for the traditional fan base. But I can live with it. "Here we go Silicon Valley, here we go." A little hard to get off the tongue, but eh.

Anonymous said...

Oprah's Angry Fat people's Club (OAFC) are totally irrelevant and have zero clout.

Anonymous said...

How is Minnesota, Texas or Florida any different than California? Regional v. Super Regional? I don't get the distinction, I am asking seriously because I want to understand.

There is a very small group of fans who are the Oakland only crowd. I love Oakland, I was born there. I am not a member of the Oakland only crowd. I want to take my children to A's games for years to come... and if it is the Silicon Valley A's playing in Fremont I am taking them to see so be it. As long as the team is in the Bay Area, most A's fans will be fine with it.

Jeff said...

Maybe I wasn't clear in trying to communicate my musings. When you say the "California Angels", one has the impression that the Angels play in a specific city in California. The same goes with Minnesota Vikings, or Texas Rangers. The person hearing the teams name immidiately associates the team with a city in the specified state. In other words, an asscociation is made with a municipality within the state in question.

When you say the Silicon Valley A's, you don't get that kind of association, especially for people who live outside the Bay. Talk about your proverbial blank stare. Don't you think that a team name should have a certain appeal to persons who are not familiar with the geography of the teams home city? To anyone outside the Bay, the name Silicon Valley A's is going to seem ponderous at best.

Good to see that at least some of the Oakland residents will still support the team if they relocate 15 minutes down the road.

bartleby66 said...

Several posters have noted that San Francisco has broader national/international recognition than any other name under discussion. This may be true, but is entirely irrelevant.

Unlike the NFL, in Major League Baseball virtually all revenue is local. The fact that someone in New York may like San Francisco better will not make the A's one extra nickel. (Whether or not a more "nationally renowed" team name would generate any extra revenue in football is also very dubious, but that is a separate discussion). When the A's do their focus group studies on this, there will be no non-locals involved, guaranteed.

The team name issue will be decided soleby on the following criteria:
1. What name will sell more suites and club seats to locals?
2. What name will get more locals to watch or listen to games on TV/radio? (The vast majority of MLB broadcast revenue is local).
3. What name will sell more season tickets to locals?
4. And finally, what name will sell more single game tickets to locals?

When the A's do their focus group studies, they will measure both positive and negative reactions to various names. The "SF" advocates are overlooking the fact that both Oakland and San Jose have strong rivalries with San Francisco (and to a certain extent, inferiority complexes). Calling the A's "San Francisco" would not lure the true San Francisco-philes away from the Giants, but it would irritate and alienate a lot of the natural fan base in the East Bay and South Bay.

The situation here is different than in LA. Los Angeles is a sprawling goliath like none other in the U.S. I dare say large numbers of SoCal residents consider themselves to be living in the LA suburbs, perhaps even as far south as Orange County.

In the Bay Area however, there are three distinct major cities (or at least cities which consider themselves as such). The folks on the East Coast may only be aware of the tourist ghetto that is San Francisco, but we who live here know that SF is neither the population center nor the economic center of the Bay Area.

One guy who gets it is Bruce Ratner, new owner of the New Jersey Nets (soon to be the Brooklyn Nets). Brooklyn is, of course, part of New York City, one of the most glamorous and recognizable cities in the world. Ratner could easily name the team the "New York Nets," (which, in fact, was the team's name before it went to New Jersey). However, he understands that he's never going to challenge the Knicks for the passions of the Manhattan crowd, that if Brooklyn were an independent city it would be one of the largest in the U.S., that its residents have a lot of pride, and that he'll inspire more passion for the team among a large population by giving Brooklyn residents the recognition that they crave. The A's would be wise to see the same thing.

bartleby66 said...

The A's don't need a read on where the corporate support in Fremont is going to come from. There is no corporate support in the East Bay, because there is no corporate base. It's South Bay or bust.

The Coliseum has more suites than nearly any other ballpark or stadium in the county, NFL or MLB. If the Raiders could sell them all, they would be one of the NFL's big money teams, up there with New York and Washington. Despite Rob's proclamations that we're all one happy "Bay Area" (meaning, the South Bay NASDAQ should already be lining up for suites in Oakland, although mysteriously, they are not), and despite the fact that the Raiders main competition in San Francisco, have very little in the way of suites, they can't even come close.

The A's have fared no better. Currently, a 12 seat suite for an A's game costs $750 ($62.50 each), sometimes less. That means if you get a bunch of your buddies together, you can be sitting together in your own private suite for an A's game for less than a Field Club seat at a Giants game. Most MLB teams don't even sell suites on a single game basis, let alone this cheaply.

Rob, knock off the "South Bay fans want SJ on the uniform or it's no deal" stuff. Lots of Oakland posters have stated "if they move to Fremont, I'm out" or "if they change the team name, I'm out" but I haven't seen one South Bay poster state the team name will affect their support. To the contrary, and the notion defies common sense anyway. Certainly, the inclusion of "SJ" would enhance the team's ability to draw new support in the South Bay, that's really the point, but those of us who are already fans aren't going anywhere regardless.

catfish said...

Anonymous said...

Oprah's Angry Fat people's Club (OAFC) are totally irrelevant and have zero clout.

1:42 PM

Wow, how insightful. Not only does that comment sound like it came from a 12 year old, but they didn't even have the balls to put their name on it. Very credible! Especially since I've never heard of the OAFPC. I'm an Oakland resident as I have stated previously so of course my preference would be for the team to stay local. And while I am a huge fan of the city itself, I am also a fan of the team and I can differentiate between the two. That being said, Fremont is no slouch of a town. And neither is SJ for that matter, I go to pleanty of Sharks games and my only complaint about SJ is that its too far away from where I live, but that's my problem, not the Sharks or the A's or anyone elses. Anyone on this site who is ripping any proposed city for the A's future home is lashing out in pure jealosy at the situation. Oakland fans are jealous of Fremont and SJ because there has been more noise on the new ballpark front in both of those cities then Oakland. SJ is jealous because at this point it looks like the only new pro team coming down to Santa Clara County is a new soccer team, and they are the largest city as far as population in the greater Bay Area, so naturally they are feeling snubbed. Fremont supporters are constantly having to defend their city from people blasting them for the fact that not many people outside the area have ever heard of Fremont. But at this point, Fremont supporters look like they will have the last laugh. I can only imagine Angels fans reading all this and just laughing and laughing. We're more divided as a fan base then this country is under the current administration (oh god, didn't mean to get political on everyone. last time, I promise).

Anonymous said...

I am not that convinced that the city name on the front of a jersey does much to attract or detract fans, period. Unless it is used to differentiate the team from all of the others... For instance, if the A's put "OAKTOWN" on the front of their road jersey's, that would initiate interest because people would ask, where is Oaktown? Potenitally, that is. Maybe Silicon Valley would do the same thing?

The regional v. superegional stuff sounds interesting, but I thought that it was stated that California was bad for the Angels while Texas and Minnesota are good for the Rangers and Twins. SO which is it? Is a super regional name good for a team, bad for a team, or does it depend on the market? Is there a study out there about this?

I think most teams are regional draws regardless of the name on the front of the road jersey. I think most teams draw more fans from the surrounding area regardless of what city they actually play in and I bet that if the A's go with a Silicon Valley type quasi regional name that more teams (Like the Marlins and Devil Rays) will go down the same path when they move.

murf said...

If civic pride is the issue, at this point, it wouldn't surprise me if San Jose offered to purchase the naming rights to the team, much like a Corp purchasing the naming rights to a stadium.
SJ is struggling to build an identity for themselves nationally, and have subsidized (though controversially) other endeavurs/events so that they stay in SJ and carry the SJ name to a national/international audience. Having the city's name attached to an MLB franchise has some value as far as civic recognition goes. As far as I know, there is no law on the SJ books that would require it to go to a vote for the release of public funds, like there is for constructing a stadium for example.

Jeff said...

Man, this is an interesting discussion. I think most folks here are in agreement that the team name makes no difference in regard to their intentions to support and patronize the team. That says something right there. It really makes no difference to me what they name the team. I will be there with $250.00 bucks for the privlege of rooting on the team. I base that amount on a family of four with parking/concessions factored in. I wonder what impact that statement will have of the A's focus group? No matter, I'm still looking forward to the A's in Fremont, near San Jose, within the confines of the Silicon Valley, located 50 miles south of San Francisco.

See, we can outdo the Angels on any front. ;)

Georob said...

If I were an average San Jose resident, I'd be pretty PO'd if my city spent $$ for naming rights of a baseball team that isn't even in city limits. Frankly, that'd be cause for a recall in my book. Remember, most TAXPAYING citizens aren't even casual fans.

The only justification I could see for it if San Jose needed a serious shot in the arm economically. It doesn't. Despite what Tony says, I think San Jose's doing quite well with only better things to come

BTW, I was in Downtown SJ over the weekend and was very impressed with what I saw. (PF Changs doesn't go just anywhere!) However, it DOES need more retail.

But spending public money for naming a baseball team would be a political disaster. Then again, I guess you can't do any worse that your mayor being in jail :)

murf said...

Yeah, Rob. It's too bad I can't type in a sarcastic tone of voice, cause my last remark was made tounge in cheek in light of recent events.

Anonymous said...

I'm not exactly sure what's always meant by the term Silicon Valley, but I know I've never considered Fremont to be in it.

anthony dominguez said...

Rob in Downtown San Jose? What's the world coming to! (jk) Glad you enjoyed our city center Rob...your comments were far more positive regarding DSJ than some at another blog concerning SJ politics. Correct me if I'm wrong Murf, but with the construction of new high-rise condo's, we'll see more retail (at the base of the buildings) coming to DSJ soon. Back to the subject of an A's ballpark. A co-worker of mine was fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to attend game 4 of the ALCS in Detroit. While we all wished for a better outcome, he stated that the trip itself was well worth it and that Comerica Park was BEAUTIFUL!! Beer service in the seating area's!! Very nice. His description of Comerica Park got me thinking; while we can all debate the name of the team in Fremont, I think we can all agree on one thing...can't wait for renderings/plans for the news A's ballpark!! With the possible exception of die-hard Oakland partisans, I think all of us are excited by the prospects of a new Yard and want to see what it will look like. What do you say Rhamesis...a month or two before we see drawings, models, etc.?

James said...

Anon 3:13 -

Fremont is considered the north-eastern border of Silicon Valley and is currently home to more than 1,000 high-tech businesses (according to the City of Fremont).

Rob -

PF Changs is puting the finishing touches on a new restaurant at Pacific Commons as well. I believe it's opening this month.

bartleby66 said...

A few posters have expressed skepticism that the team name makes much difference to the fans. Well, the subject sure has inspired a lot of passionate debate on this board.

Also, the owners seem pretty convinced it makes a big difference. Arte Moreno felt strongly enough about it that he was willing to endure the hassle and expense of a big lawsuit for the right to call the Angels "Los Angeles." Owners spend a lot of time and money focus-testing how different uniform colors will play; I'm sure they spend equal effort on this issue.

As far as whether there are studies on whether city or regional names are more effective, I'm not sure a broad brush study would be very meaningful because every situation is different. The Bay Area is unusual in having three "name" cities that can plausibly lay claim to a team name. Southern California is unique in the all-encompassing sprawl of its main city. The considerations of trying to lay claim to a large diverse state like California are not the same as a state like Minnesota or Arizona, which are dominated by a single metro area. Whether or not there are multiple teams competing in the same sport in the same area may play a factor as well.

I'm sure individual teams routinely do these types of studies, but they don't share them with the public. And different owners have reached different conclusions. The Diamondbacks and Cardinals both went with "Arizona" even though the D-Backs play within Phoenix city limits. The Coyotes and Suns both went with Phoenix, even though the Coyotes do not play within city limits. The Giants and Jets went with "New York" while the Nets and Devils went with "New Jersey," with all four teams playing in the exact same location.

My view is that the larger and more diverse the region, the less effective a regional name will be. It probably doesn't make much difference whether you use "Minnesota" or "Minneapolis," because you're mostly describing the same thing. On the other hand, "California" is so broad as to be meaningless. And I think SoCal people want to be differentiated from their NoCal brethren, and vice versa. SF vs. LA is a good rivalry. Oakland vs. "California?" Not so much.

bartleby66 said...

Spending public funds to get the A's to call the team "San Jose" probably would be controversial. However, this is an irrational response.

Every big city and state has a budget for promoting itself as a destination for tourism and business. Surely we've all seen ads telling us why Nebraska is a great place to vacation or why Des Moines has a great business climate. Even the behemoths who seemingly wouldn't need the help do this. ("Iiiii, love New Yoooooork....")

If the money was right, paying to have San Jose on the A's team name could be a brilliant investment. Consider how much a 30 second television commercial costs. Now consider that you would be basically having a three-hour TV commercial broadcast to some other market 162 times a year, with "San Jose" on screen almost the entire time and establishing shots of downtown San Jose several times each broadcast. Plus, national exposure if you happened to reach the playoffs. Plus, you'd have your city's name printed in the sports page of every newspaper in the country every single day in season and plenty of days out of season. And every time an out-of-towner stumbled across the city name in this context, the implicit message would be "San Jose is a major-league city."

If you were a PR pro, I'm sure you could put a value on how much this exposure is worth. (Consider how much companies pay just to have their names on a sign in the ballpark, and how much more to have it on a sign behind home plate). And the exposure would be worth more to a relatively obscure city like San Jose than to an established city like Los Angeles. As long as the amount paid by San Jose was less than this amount, it could be a good deal for the city.

Having said all that, I agree it is unlikely to happen. But hopefully the A's will see the mutual advantage to the San Jose name and the city will obtain these benefits for free. :-)

bartleby66 said...

Jeff, what if the A's marketing folks are reading this board? Gotta bargain harder than that! Tell 'em you'd spend up to $150 for a family of four, and not a nickel more! :-)

Anonymous said...

I hear people talking about The Globe development. Is that by Pacific Commons?

Marine Layer said...

The Globe is an Asian-themed shopping center that's being built a few miles north of Pacific Commons, on Stevenson Blvd.

Jeff said...

Yeah, you A's executive lurkers. It's just like Bartelby said, $150.00 is my max! Not one penny more....or I will....will...spend $250.00 at ATT...dang it. ;)

Think they will buy it???