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31 May 2007

Futbol Football

There's a bevy of articles about the 49ers' dealings with Santa Clara:
... and one in the Merc about the Quakes' dealings with San Jose.

For the Niners' stadium project, the previously unknown cost for moving and/or reconfiguring the on-site power substation now has a price tag: $20 million. In addition, a planned parking garage would need to be moved to accommodate the stadium. Demand estimates indicate that the area will face a shortfall of parking should football games run concurrently with Great America operating days. There will probably be 3-4 such conflicts every year. Remember that they have until July to figure this out. Glad it's not my decision.

Now on to the Quakes. Two months ago I put together a rough comparison of the A's ballpark village and the Quakes' project, which back then was a stadium shared with SJSU. Now the Quakes are going it alone, but the fundamentals are still there. A new memo from the City shows how the deal is structured, which really just confirms much of what we already know.

Two major differences exist between the plan as conceived for South Campus and the current one. Ancillary development next to the stadium is the big key. Almost as important is that Quakes and ancillary revenues will cover the city's $7.5 million per year in debt service on the recently purchased, 75-acre Airport West property. That effectively makes the deal a $7.5 million lease for the stadium and surrounding land. The iStar property proceeds will most certainly be used for the stadium and perhaps some of the ancillary development, but it's really important that revenues from new office, retail, and parking establishments foot the bill for the lease. It's unlikely that soccer revenues could contribute more than half of the lease requirement. One possible outcome: since a large amount of parking will be required for all of the various uses, I can see Wolff building a large multi-purpose parking structure which would also be used for airport long term parking. Airport officials have shown interest in using the existing long term lot for other airport operations.

Like the A's concept, it's a radical departure from typical stadium financing plans since the developer is taking the lion's share of the risk. If they can pull it off, more power to them.

19 comments:

Anthony Dominguez said...

re: to Rob's post on 5/29:
Two years ago on the SJI blog, Tom McEnery was quoted as saying baseball in San Jose will not happen with (then SJ Mayor) Ron Gonzales in office; hence Lew Wolff "officially" killing the idea last August. Who's Tom McEnery? Former SJ Mayor and close business associate of Mr. Wolff. During the Sweet 16 at HP Pavilion, Mr. McEnery was reported having a drink with Mr. Wolff and John Fisher at O' Flaherty's Irish Pub in downtown SJ...were they really talking MLS? The three probably meet more often then what's reported. Look all, soccer in San Jose is most likely going to happen, but it's my gut feeling that something else is in the works with getting all that land possibly rezoned in Edenvale. It also helps that the Wolff/DiNapoli/Mulcahy Hilton lawsuit against the SJ redevelopment agency is behind us. On the verge of having 1 million residents, San Jose is desperately looking for NFL, NBA, MLB status, so I don't believe all of this trouble is just for a third tier sports league. So Rob, until those golden shovels are staked at Pac Commons for the Cisco Field groundbreaking, I'm not giving up on the San Jose dream...nothing wrong with a little hope. And if, or when, the San Jose A's set up shop in Fremont, the world will keep turning and I'll still have a pulse.

Zonis said...

Anthony, if/when the A's do move to Fremont, and will likely take the name San Jose A's (or Silicon Valley A's), then it will be essentially putting SJ on the map with a Major Sports Team.

James said...

Anthony,

You definitely get the award for the biggest San Jose holdout. However, the A's are not happening in the South Bay city; absolutely nothing indicates anything other than the team going to Fremont. Aside from the insurmountable obsticle on the Giant's territorial rights (and again there's not any indication that Wolfe is trying or has tried to overcome that issue), Wolfe has already spent millions of dollars and hundreds (if not thousands) of hours on the Fremont plan, including purchasing more than two hundred acres of land. In order for the A's to cross the county line, Wolfe would have to find not only (more expensive) available land for the ballpark, but also land for the village that will finance the ballpark. And since San Jose already has Santana Row, we are talking about a complete reworking of the plan since it's doubtful that two identical shopping facilities would be supported in that city. Even though I've asked it on this blog, no one has cited one tangible benefit to Wolfe for the A's to cross the county line.

As for football, one of two things will happen. The 49ers will go to Santa Clara, which would preclude abouther team from locating there. Or, the 49ers will face too many obstacles, head back to SF and work on a new stadium plan, and another football team (Raiders) will have learned from the Giants mistake and realize that the financing mechanisms are not avialble in Santa Clara County.

Marine Layer said...

The A's are really cranking up the PR machine in Fremont. I see little reason for them to do that if their designs are on SJ instead. It doesn't hurt that Wolff also has some connections in Fremont as well - nothing as extensive as SJ, but some.

Georob said...

Tony, it makes absolutely no sense for Wolff to call them the "San Jose A's" when "Silicon Valley" is out there for the taking.

1) It's a term with far more national and worldwide recognition.

2) It won't alienate East Bay fans as much as "SJ" would.

3) To Bay Area residents, it implies Santa Clara County perhaps more than "SJ" would

4) Since the definition of "SV" is looser and actually includes part of Alameda County, the name is honest; as opposed to "SJ" which still isn't in the A's MLB territory.

5) Corporate tech sponsors will have no problem with it, as they pretty much identify with "SV" more than "SJ"

and lastly....

6) It'll piss off the Giants just as much as calling them "San Jose", for as I've said; it's not that the Giants want the A's out of the South Bay, it's that they'd rather have them out of Northern California, period. Never forget that.

And that last reason is why MLB won't put a team in San Jose. And all the other reasons are why there will not be a "San Jose A's."

Anthony Dominguez said...

Thanks all for your input (and award James)...you are all probably right (except for Rob...I still believe they'll be the San Jose A's of Fremont). You can't be dissing the growing metropolis forever! One last item that I find interesting: I've gotten a few emails since August regarding why baseball didn't happen in San Jose (including from the Merc's Mark Purdy). Most put the blame on the former Gonzales administration (which Lew Wolff despised!) and not the Giants territorial rights. Ray Ratto had an article after the Cisco announcement that pretty much stated the same. Were, or are, the T-rights really insurmountable? With Tom McEnery "back in office" through SJ Mayor Chuck Reed...again, not giving up hope. Peace!

Transic said...

To me, the "SV" vs. "SJ" argument isn't as important as the realization of what many were hoping for is actually happening: the slow migration of the professional sports team in the Bay Area southwards.

There may come a point of saturation, between the Niners, A's, the possible return of the Quakes, not to mention the rumors of the Raiders coming to share the new stadium in SC. I think you guys can be happy with that. Try to avoid the "Arizona scenario" where the point of saturation was reached after the Coyotes came into existence.

Ramon said...

Anthony, stick to stuff you know, like whether to build high rises on Monterey Road. You're not making much sense here, my friend.

Rob is right in that you're just too hung up on getting the name San Jose on a team.

anon-a-mouse said...

If you take Wolfe at his word, he said he tried to negotiate SJ rights with the Giants and they wouldn't play ball. That's about as strong a statement as you'll get that the territorial rights were insurmountable, regardless of who the mayor of SJ is.

Another thing Wolfe has said pretty much unequivocally: it will be "at Fremont" not "of." Unless he changes his mind, can we please stick to assuming that will be the modifier? It's kind of nit-picky, but it shows you've been paying attention if you stick to the right word.

bartleby said...

In response, again, to Rob's points arguing for "Silicon Valley A's" over "San Jose A's":

"1) It's a term with far more national and worldwide recognition."

Who cares? Virtually all revenue in MLB is local. Wolff has little reason to care what people in New York think of the name; he has a lot of reason to care what the 1 million people living 10 miles south of the ballpark think.

"2) It won't alienate East Bay fans as much as "SJ" would."

This argument has been repeated ad nauseum, but never supported. It is debatable whether even Fremont itself is actually part of "Silicon Valley", but most of the East Bay clearly is not. Why would a dockworker from Hayward relate more to "Silicon Valley" than "San Jose?"

I'll argue the reverse: "Silicon Valley" is a fatuous, cliched nickname for an elitist industry centered in Santa Clara County. It is not particularly inclusive and will have little appeal for blue collar workers and their families, particularly those in the East Bay.

San Jose OTOH is an underrated city struggling in the shadow of its glamorous cousin up the peninsula and hungering for recognition and respect in its own right. It actually has quite a bit in common with Oakland in this respect. I believe many East Bay fans will find "San Jose A's" relatable for the same reason many of us in the South Bay gravitated to the Oakland A's rather than the San Francisco Giants: We like underdogs.

"3) To Bay Area residents, it implies Santa Clara County perhaps more than "SJ" would"

This is also highly debatable. However, it also seems irrelevant, so I won't spend much time on it, except to point out it contradicts point #2, above.

"4) Since the definition of "SV" is looser and actually includes part of Alameda County, the name is honest; as opposed to "SJ" which still isn't in the A's MLB territory."

The portion of SV which even arguably includes Alameda County is very small. This just isn't going to go very far as a sop to East Bay fans. And again, when talking about the naming issue, who cares about the A's territory? The MLB territorial rights govern ballpark location only, period. Los Angeles isn't in the Angels territory, either.

"5) Corporate tech sponsors will have no problem with it, as they pretty much identify with "SV" more than "SJ""

Lots of corporate tech sponsors are located in San Jose proper, including the folks who are naming the ballpark. And the rest will be motivated more by the convenient location and venue amenities. What, you think the folks at Intel are going to say, "We were going to buy a box to the Silicon Valley A's, but San Jose A's, forget it."?

and lastly....

"6) It'll piss off the Giants just as much as calling them "San Jose""

The point of this exercise isn't pissing off the Giants, its finding the most marketable name for the team. The ballpark location itself will piss off the Giants, but that's only an ancillary benefit to the project.

"for as I've said; it's not that the Giants want the A's out of the South Bay, it's that they'd rather have them out of Northern California, period. Never forget that."

Why shouldn't we forget this? It's blindingly obvious, and true of every team that must share its market with another team in the same sport. Hell, I'm sure they'd all prefer all the teams in different sports left as well. But it's not going to affect anything the A's do, and doesn't bear repeating as often as it has been in this forum.

Look, at the end of the day, here's what's going to happen with the name: Wolff will hire professionals to conduct market studies and he'll use the one that tests best. I won't be surprised to see it go either way. (However, the only marketing professional I have seen quoted on this so far said "San Jose" is a no-brainer, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. :-)

bartleby said...

anon-a-mouse:

It is a fact that the Giants territorial rights were not surmounted. That's not the same as saying they were insurmountable.

The Giants paid nothing for those rights, and they can be overturned at any time by MLB without compensation. MLB just never had any reason to do it. They never had a viable, financed plan for San Jose in front of them, so why rile up the Giants for no reason?

You can bet that if San Jose ponied up a nice, taxpayer financed ballpark for the A's, those territorial rights would have vaporized pretty quickly. Something short of full taxpayer financing? Maybe, depending on how good a deal it was.

Anonymous said...

"You can bet that if San Jose ponied up a nice, taxpayer financed ballpark for the A's, those territorial rights would have vaporized pretty quickly."

But San Jose didn't do that, did they Bartleby? Then why do they still expect there to be a "San Jose A's"? The answer is they don't. For like Oakland, San Jose has more important civic issues to tackle.

You and Anthony need to resurrect the Baseball San Jose blog.

Jeff P said...

A major reason that the TR's of the Giants were not seriously challenged can be gleaned from the book, "Juicing the Game". Internal MLB politics are far from monolithic. The owners themselves can rarely agree on any single course of action and are often fractured along idealogical grounds. Ask Uberoth about running afoul of to many owners. If a case could have been made that would benefit the majority of the other owners, the TR's would have been wiped away in a flash.

Despite the beatings he takes in the media, Selig is no fool. He is very careful in building consensus and goes far out of his way to ensure that his decisions enjoy near unanimous support from the other owners. He won't tackle Mcgowan without tacit approval from the other owners, despite the fact that the A's in SJ would be beneficial to MLB as a whole. Instead, he has given the A's the best in compromise, and even brought in a personal friend to ramrod the deal through.

There should be little doubt that this move is intended to give the two teams geographical separation. I would be curious to see if the Giants start marketing heavily to the north and east bay in the next few years while the A's concentrate on the south. That would seem to be the logical progression over the next 20 years. Who knows, in 30 to 40 years the A's may indeed move into the heart of SJ with nary a whimper from the Giants.

bartleby said...

anon 9:26

No, San Jose did not offer a publicly subsized ballpark. Nor did Oakland. Nor did Fremont. Nor, in all likelihood, would any municipality in California which would be a viable site for an MLB team. I dare say none of those cities, including San Jose, "expect" anything.

Not that I ever said that they did. "Hope" is really the better word. Why shouldn't San Jose residents hope for recognition and exposure, especially since it won't cost them anything? At this point, San Jose's chances of getting its name on the team after the move is better than either Oakland or Fremont. Why wouldn't it be excited about the possibility?

The notion that San Jose "has more important civic issues to tackle" is questionable. What, exactly, are they? The raging crime rate? Depressed economy? Frankly, "drab downtown" and "lack of national recognition" have been high priorities of San Jose city government for decades now. Few projects would have had as much impact on these problems as a downtown MLB ballpark.

San Jose has poured $1.5 billion into redeveloping downtown, largely in subsidies for private, for-profit projects. It has publicly subsidized hotels, office towers, movie theatres, comedy clubs, failed retail, an arena, Grand Prix races, you name it. For some reason, no one says "boo" unless the project involves sports, notwithstanding the fact that the positive impact a ballpark would have on downtown and San Jose's image is orders of magnitude greater than most of those other projects.

Jeffrey said...

Is there a map of where the soccer stadium would go any where on the web?

Marine Layer said...

Check out Soccer Silicon Valley. The "Potential Stadium Sites" link has an overhead. The memo linked on the front page has maps.

Zonis said...

Next to the airport???

Jeffrey said...

What is all that stuff there? Adjacent to the Airport. I guess I should read the report. It looks like the "Coliseum North" plan from above. Meaning, a lot of existing buildings on the property.

Anonymous said...

Real "Futbol" is actually a lot better than MLS...I'd rather see Chelsea of England/Club America than the Quakes any day.