08 November 2006

BREAKING NEWS: Call it "Cisco Field"

Update 11:27 p.m. - Trib reports that the Alameda County Board of Supervisors has approved the Coliseum lease extension, finalizing the A's stay in Oakland through at least 2010.

Also, according to Chron the 49ers have given up on staying in San Francisco. Santa Clara may be next. I hope that the Yorks aren't trying to game the city into giving them a big handout, because it's not happening.

Update 10:07 p.m. - Chron's Patrick Hoge has more details:
Unlike many stadiums surrounded by parking, this one would be swathed in shopping, Wasserman said. Ballpark patrons would park elsewhere and be shuttled in, he said.
Now that's an unusual idea. If people coming on transit have to take a shuttle, why not have everyone? It's baseball with the inconvenience of waiting for a bus to an airport long term parking lot.

Barry Witt has the scoop again: Cisco and the A's have sealed their part of the deal. Among the highlights:

Wolff, who declined to speak to reporters today, told council members the development would be something like San Jose's Santana Row -- featuring condominiums stacked above street-level retail -- with the major addition of a high-tech ballpark filled with Cisco-produced infrastructure.
The Santana Row comparison is a bit ironic since Wolff was a known critic of the plan when it was initially proposed in San Jose several years ago. A downtown advocate, he felt that Santana Row would effectively sink any chance for retail in downtown San Jose (which it did - restaurants and clubs are only half of the retail picture). Once Santana Row showed remarkable success, Wolff acknowledged it. Now it's Wolff who will attempt to create something along that scale in Fremont.

In a previous comment thread, Bleacher Dave posed the idea that Fremont officials might be upset by having the initial press conference/presentation at Cisco's San Jose headquarters than in Fremont. I don't think this is a big deal at all. How else are Wolff and John Chambers going to dazzle the media if not in front of gigantic video screens at Cisco?


Jimmy Jam said...

More breaking news... Niners plan to move, possibly to Santa Clara or (gasp) L.A.

Man what a crazy week. Who knows, although it's highly unlikely (especially if the Warriors have anything to say about it) but with their arena ballot measure going to defeat in Sactown maybe the Kings will end up calling HP Pavilion home and the South Bay will end up home to franchises in all five major pro sports (what you don't consider Arena Football major? heh heh).


Jimmy Jam said...

Woops sorry for the redundant info, I see ML posted an update with the SF story on the main page before I posted here.


jrbh said...

Hey, let's have lots of comments now about how incompetent San Francisco politicians are and how "they just couldn't get it done" and how "the land just isn't there."

The truth is, the Bay Area has the worst pro sports ownership -- Cohen, the Yorks, Wolff/Fischer, Davis -- of any major area in the United States. They're a blight, disregarding years of loyalty and cross-generational affection, desirous of strip-mining those feelings to make an obscene profit, demanding huge chunks of cash from broke cities to support their enormously profitable businesses.

And all the "it's just a business" enablers out there: if that was true, this blog wouldn't exist, we wouldn't be writing about it, and no one would care whether a relatively small business located in Fremont, Santa Clara, LA, Kansas City or Timbuktu. These scumbucket owners, most of them incompetent -- or would *you* like to work for one of these guys? -- are cashing in on years of sweat and emotional equity and taking it all for themselves.

The Bay Area is better off without these guys; they should leave, and if they take their pro sports franchises with them, so be it. This is a world class community, not some desperate one-company town that has to put up with this crap.

Anonymous said...

True, most of those owners suck. But Wolfe isn't moving the team out of the Bay Area and it doesn't sound like York is either. He seems to have his sights set on Santa Clara. This doesn't change the fact that York is a bad owner. Just not for that particular reason.

Anonymous said...

Shit, it's amazing why ML puts up with JRBH's rants but freaks out about inncocent joking about cities

Marine Layer said...

jrbh - You do realize that this scenario is being played out in San Diego and Sacramento as well, right? In 10 years, when the Angels lease in Anaheim expires, the two sides may end up with the most acrimonious set of negotiations we've ever seen. It's not merely a Bay Area matter, it affects the entire state. California's citizens and politicians deserve credit for making it the toughest place for owners to get a deal. We have the disposable income and fickle tastes. We won't get fleeced.

As a result, two major venues have been built using mostly private money - SBC Park and Staples Center. Both were done because ownership knew about their local political climates and wasn't interested in grappling with graft-minded city employees. Both are shining examples of how to do it "right."

The A's are trying to follow the private financing model, but they're also adding a better financing mechanism that reduces their debt risk and possible cash flow problems. The two football teams are hampered by the staggering costs associated with build new NFL palaces. You can try to lump the A's together with the 49ers and Raiders, but it doesn't pass the smell test.

You're free to completely stop watching any kind of top tier sports if you like.

anon 8:05 - I tolerate a lot of garbage in this comments space. Including you. Don't like how I moderate them? Start your own "city bashing" blog.

Anonymous said...

Fremont is THE ideal location. BART will be available in 5 years at the Warms Spring station (extension farther south). They will then run shuttles from BART to the stadium entrance. So this would give coverage from South San Fran to Livermore to Berkeley, etc... Long term BART will go to San Jose.

Fremont is across the bridge from Palo Alto so even Peninsula folks can come over.

Also Fremont is WAY safer. It is the safest city (based on per capita crime) in Bay Area (and california for cities its size). Its population is twice as wealthy (per household income) than Oakland -- means more season tickets and concession revenues.

And Fremont has land. They can bring the A's into the new decade.

You love to hate Fremont because you cant stand its top schools, top shopping, and top location. I can understand.

Anonymous said...

Here's a strange thought. A new 49ers stadium in Santa Clara, with thousands of club seats and possibly 200 luxury suites...I know it's football, but could this affect the Giants in terms of corporate support? Heck, could it also affect the A's and Sharks? And why not the Niners looking to relocate to San Jose proper? I don't believe the Raiders have T Rights to SJ. SAN JOSE it!

Anonymous said...

If Wolff is planning on having the parking beyond the shopping centers (presumably to have people walk through the shops and buy before entering the stadium, or on their way before gettting to their cars), and we've already established that a system will be needed to get people from BART to the Stadium...

Then it makes no sense to just use Shuttle Busses. It will be slow, trafic heavy, and will clash with the high tech feel of the stadium.

I think they would have to go with a people mover train system or monorail of some sort. Something that would shuttle people almost non stop to the Stadium from BART, while also going around the village and allowing people to get off to shop, and get back on again.

But damned if I know how that would work, or how it would not obstruct traffic.

Jeff said...


Do you ever stop and proof read your posts for content? I don't mean to sound harsh, but your sense of entitlement is staggering. You berate owners because they are in buisness. Sports ARE a buisness. And thank goodness they are, because if there were no money involved, we could never hope to witness the caliber of play that is available.

You are so eager for Wolfe to spend his money for your convienience. According to you every decision he makes should be viewed through your political/social prism. It's absurd, especially with the extremes to which you take it. Listen, if your "community" is to "sophisticated" for Wolfe's product or business practices, DON'T SUPPORT THEM. But for heavens sake, stop demonizing other human beings (he is you know) because he makes decisions with his money which are motivated by his self interests. If it bothers you so much, then make several hundred million dollars on your own, buy your own sports franchise and then we will see how far your philanthropic attitude extends.

As for incompetent....who is fooling who? They ARE going to get their's, of that there can be no doubt. Because if they don't, then they are not going to play. You sound almost like a junkie whining because his dealer won't provide his smack at wholesale rates. You want it all, and you want it your way. How are you so different from the owners you berate?

It looks to me like San Jose is going to make a run at nabbing the 49's from SF. Talk about your proverbial coup. THAT may go a long way in establishing SJ's emerging municple primacy in the area. Maybe if you play nice, they may take pity on Oakland after the Raiders leave and settle for taking the Kings instead of the Warriors. Then again, maybe not.

jonclaude4 said...

Re: Santana Row concept....City of Cupertino just rejected such a plan in Tuesday's election (measures D & E). While rejection of these type of income-producing (incl city sales tax revenue) developments are a rarity to my knowledge, it's still possible that development gets shot down.

....putting my faith though in the long-time, very respected city council of Fremont.


Jeff August said...

Worst pro sports owners? That is way off the mark.

Wolff creates a financing model that costs the public nothing in terms of tax dollars, creates a state of the art new stadium and basically creates a downtown for the 4th largest city in the Bay Area.

Contrast that with one owner of the Saints (Tom Benson) who tried to use a natural disaster to move the Saints to San Antonio... Maybe Jeffrey Loria who paid 14 million for his entire payroll last year... The Maloofs in Sacramentowho have alomst the exact situation the Wolff has but pretty much submarined an attempt at public financing for a Kings arena...

I understand this is all subjective, but the worst owners? Please.

Anonymous said...

yo jeff.... did York say anything bout naming them "San Jose 49ers"? from what ive read so far, i think he s gonna stick with the SF name. i dont see how that makes sj a player in bringing the niners to the south bay. i dont think sj has anything to do with this deal.

jrbh said...

Jeff, I don't think you meant "proofreading," and anyway, I think you're missing my point. Either sports is a business, just like Walmart and the Men's Wearhouse and Chevron, that's all, nothing more, in which case why on earth do we root for these guys, and why on earth do they get legal protection from anti-competitive practices that in any other business would get them tossed in jail?

Or: they're a weird combination of public/private enterprise, a modified trust, like the Symphony, or a world class Museum, something that's tied deeply to it's community in financial, social and emotional ways.

You can't have it both ways, in my opinion, and by the way, yeah, Walter Haas is my idea of a truly great owner, and I don't for a second resent that he and his family made quite a bit of money on the A's.

I agree with whoever mentioned Tom Benson and Jeffrey Loria as contenders for Worst Pro Sports Owner -- they'd make anybody's list -- but they're just in New Orleans and Miami. The thing that makes the Bay Area so special right now is that we have *four* of them.

I actually agree with your point, ML, about the A's not being in quite the same class as the 49ers and the Raiders in terms of bad management. For one, there's on-field performance, but also, the football guys are in their own special class. They're beyond brutal.

bartleby said...

A great article by Carl Steward. He gets it.

Bleacher Dave said...

But Wieckowski said he needs more information before he knows whether he supports the plan or not.

"I'm not going to be a rollover guy,'' he said. "I'm going to challenge their economists and economic development people on the numbers they have to see if they hold up.''

Councilman Steve Cho said he told Wolff that he does not want a public subsidy of the ballpark.

Let's hope the Fremont City Council council vets the A's deal right back to Oakland. Nice rhetorical flourish to your answer ML. You underline the fact that Fremont's interests are already taking a back seat to Cisco's and the A's shock and awe battle plan. Last time someone tried shock and awe, it didn't work out too well.

A suburban island of commerce on the west side of 880 with inconvenient parking. There are 81 baseball dates a year. How's business the other 284?

Isn't it Denver's? lesson that if your urban ballpark isn't part of a dense residential/commercial area, retail can't survive on only 81 baseball dates?

Niners to Santa Clara? Yeah, right. Yorkie got pissed at Gavin during a late night session and fired a Wolff inspired salvo across his bow.

bartleby said...

An MLB team is not comparable to a symphony or museum. Symphonies and museums are generally non-profit organizations which depend on donations and public subsidies to get by. They are also not subject to competitive pressures from symphonies and museums in other cities whereby they must increase revenues to survive.

So why do we root for these guys? For the same reason we go to the movies, entertainment. Why do we form emotional attachments to the team? That's just the nature of the beast; it's a tribal thing. It wouldn't be as much fun if we didn't.

Should MLB be exempt from the antitrust laws? Now, that could be a whole blog of its own. However, I would point out that professional sports are different than other businesses in that competition IS the actual product, rather than just the means by which the product are provided. In other businesses, the whole idea is that the strongest competitors will get stronger and the weak will die off. In a professional sport this would kill the whole industry.

Thus, weaker competitors are continually rewarded through devices like the amateur draft, salary caps, revenue sharing, schedule balancing etc. to ensure continued competition. Can anyone imagine a world in which GM has a good year and therefore must subsidize part of Ford and DaimlerChrysler's losses? Or where the airlines run a draft each year to determine who gets the most talented executives? :-)

bartleby said...

"A suburban island of commerce on the west side of 880 with inconvenient parking. There are 81 baseball dates a year. How's business the other 284?"

Santana Row does a raging business with zero baseball dates a year. Personally, I prefer an authentic downtown (like SJ) to the artificiality of Santana Row, but there's no question that the concept works.

Marine Layer said...

BD, you can try to pit Fremont vs. Cisco or the A's, but in the end it's a broad partnership that will make this work. If the parties don't seem themselves as partners, it won't work plain and simple. It's Wolff's job to forge that partnership, and he hasn't done anything to harm it so far.

The Fremont council members are absolutely right to reserve judgment. Haggerty and Wasserman are already on board. I'm going to scrutinize the plan judiciously as well - not that my opinion matters much - and if it stinks I'll write about it. The idea that the infrastructure costs will be insurmountable obstacle without knowing what they are is a bad assumption to make. If you want to paint it that way, go ahead. Heck, why not call each of the council members and tell them how much they're being "used." As long as you tell them what your motivation for wanting them to sink the deal truly is.

Jeff said...

It all comes down to cheap land, folks!

Stadiums were built in the suburbs in the 60's and 70's because that's where inexpensive land was. In the 80's and 90's, old industrial properties in dying downtowns could be had for a good price while suburbs had become prime real estate.

But the Bay Area housing situation is such now that SF and Oakland are becoming prime again and places like Fremont and Santa Clara with available land are back in style.

Amazing how the pendulum swings, doesn't it?

Bleacher Dave said...

C'mon, ML. I want to see the A's stay in Oakland, and I make no bones about it. I hope this partnership splits down some fault line.

I disagree that it is a bad assumption that infrastructure is expensive. It is certainly an assumption, I have no idea what the costs are likely to be, and have far less expertise than you do. I still think it's a reasonable assumption.

And bartleby, Santana Row isn't a suburban island that was built on raw land. It's in the middle of San Jose. Is the Pac Commons site really only 7 miles away? How many Santana Rows can the area support so close together? If Santana Row was the death knell of downtown SJ retail, what will Pac Commons feed on? Or might Santana Row, already established and better sited, be the death knell of Pac Commons?

James said...


I was reading an AP article on the A's and 49ers moves at and found something interesting. The article says:

Meanwhile, the A's have reached a deal with Cisco Systems Inc. to build a new high-tech ballpark in Fremont, about 25 miles south of Oakland. The field is expected to be the home of a Major League Soccer franchise as well.

This is the first I'm hearing about soccer playing at Cisco Field. Is this mis-information or a heretofore hidden detail?

Anonymous said...

I sincerely hope and believe that is just someone being misinformed. Seems odd since both MLB and whatever they call the soccer league both want sport-specific stadia, not shared facilities. Plus, I don't think soccer fields fit into baseball fields any better than football fields do. I could be wrong though. I'm far from an expert on soccer.

Anonymous said...

A Santa Row in Fremont would not be relying on San Jose shoppers. Fremont by itself and certainly with the surrounding cities of Newark, Union City and Milpitas could support it easily. The site is not in the middle of nowhere it is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people. Fremont has been historically underserved in terms of retail and dinning.

Marine Layer said...

The AP reporter got it wrong. MLS is not going to grant the franchise unless Wolff gets a deal going for a soccer specific stadium (SSS). As I understand it, Wolff was quoted on Wednesday talking about sharing the SSS with SJSU's football program, not the A's. Wolff also has two separate architectural firms working on the different stadium concepts.

bartleby said...

Santana Row isn't in an especially densely populated part of San Jose; that's one of the problems with it. It's in the middle of the same kind of sprawl as Pacific Commons. Nobody walks or takes transit to SR; they drive their cars, park in the garage, and then walk around, just as they will at PC.

Also, Santana Row is 16 miles from Pacific Commons, but only 3.5 miles from downtown SJ. And downtown SJ must contend with the common (mistaken) perception that as an urban site, parking will be difficult and/or expensive. So SR will not have the same smothering effect on PC retail that it does on downtown SJ retail.

Finally, Fremont is a city of over 200,000 people; it could probably support a Santana Row-like development all by itself. And although I'm not super familiar with southern Alameda County, to my knowledge there is no comparable retail/entertainment district anywhere between Santana Row and Jack London Square. Frankly, I think the Pacific Commons development would be a raging success even without a ballpark attached.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, the A's have reached a deal with Cisco Systems Inc. to build a new high-tech ballpark in Fremont, about 25 miles south of Oakland. The field is expected to be the home of a Major League Soccer franchise as well.

If MLS Soccer and the A's share the same facility, the A's might as well stay at the Coliseum. The A's better not complain about the field conditions not being optimal due to shared usage.

Anonymous said...

SJSU football; that is the ONLY way the city of San Jose would be justified in going forward with a SSS. A joint facility for Spartan football (this alumn loves the idea) and MLS. Spending money on soccer only, when the league might not be around in a few years, will make $4 million for the Grand Prix look like childs play.

Bleacher Dave said...

Thanksy,bartleby. Your reasoning sounds plausible to me. However, I imagine that SR does draw Fremont shoppers and beyond. We've trekked up there and we live in Hollister.

It's much more like the concept in Emeryville, than JLS. That seems about the right spacing.