20 December 2007

More TV stuff + 49ers stadium a few bucks short

I'm not usually one to dabble in rumormongering, but this one seemed juicy so I can't really resist. During KNBR's 10 a.m. segment on Wednesday featuring Gary Radnich and Tony Bruno, a caller claimed that the FOX affiliation in the Bay Area is up for grabs, with longtime station KTVU losing grip and Radnich's own KRON in the running. Radnich tacitly confirmed the rumor, saying (I'm paraphrasing here) that the station didn't get involved with MyNetworkTV for nothing. MyNetworkTV is the tiny, failing broadcast network owned by FOX.

Not that the A's are performing well ratings-wise against Dr. Phil, but this would certainly explain why KRON wouldn't pursue a lengthy deal with the A's. KTVU could be in serious trouble if they lose FOX, as they'd become just another independent station with few prospects (yes, I'm including MyNetworkTV). Longtime news anchor Dennis Richmond is retiring next spring, which would put the KTVU news operation in a similar position to, well, what KRON is in right now. KTVU is not owned by FOX. It's owned by Cox Communications, which has long resisted FOX's offers to buy and fostered a sense of autonomy for KTVU. Among the shows of autonomy: KTVU has in the past used CNN national video instead of FOX News, and it still partners with CNN on its website. KTVU is the only one of the Bay Area's four major network stations that is not owned by the parent network. Should KTVU lose FOX to KRON, could it provide an opening for the A's? We'll see.

Meanwhile in Santa Clara, rising costs and limited sources of funding put the project underfunded by $51 million. The key appears to be the city's preference not to give up development rights to some key parcels of land north of the stadium site (quotes from Assistant City Manager Ron Garratt):
Revenue from land leases "is the one significant revenue source in the general fund that is locally controlled," he said in an interview. "The state can't come in and take it; the county can't touch it. It's critical. It's 10 percent of the general fund now and it's projected to grow somewhat higher."
The proposal calls for a large amount of gameday revenues being routed toward debt service. However, there are no plans for a land lease payment from the 49ers for the stadium land. It's unclear how the $51 million gap would be bridged. The team indicated that they or the NFL may be able to raise additional money. For their sake I hope so since the city says it's tapped out at their stated $136 million contribution.

Nearby hotels are positive about a plan to create a Mello-Roos district that would levy an additional occupancy tax, helping to fund the stadium. Many of those hotels are also interested in becoming the hotel of choice for visiting teams, so there's some direct benefit there. The backup site, or bus/overflow lot, is looking more and more like the best site with each passing day.

The humorous part of it was the list of demands submitted by Cedar Fair, operator of Great America. Cedar Fair wants to be compensated for the 4 days of lost revenue every year when they'll have to close the park because of conflicts with football games. They also are demanding control of all parking revenues from all events at the stadium. Good luck with that. Does anyone else find it odd that two companies from Ohio are duking it out over the fate of a Bay Area-based team?


FC said...

I guess this also explains why the Giants left KTVU for KNTV.

Also, didn't you say the A's reupped with KICU for another 3 years? Isn't KICU owned by KTVU? I wonder what effect this move many have, if any.

gmanca said...

I didn't hear Radnich but I think it's more of a rumor of convenience as KRON is going bankrupt so someone could buy it for cheap.

Since Fox has been selling stations, would have to re-do that entire news staff and operation, and deal with regulatory issues, they would be smart to just stay with KTVU.

Marine Layer said...

FOX is selling small and mid-market stations. I'm not sure if their true goal is to buy a station or rather to have an affiliate that's more of a team player. Either way FOX has plenty of leverage.

Both KTVU and KICU are owned by Cox.

Zonis said...

So the A's could try to make a grab for ownership of one of the stations... but it sounds like it isn't worth it.

Hey, maybe they can buy WGN out of Chicago ;)

anthony dominguez said...

Hey Rhamesis,
Have a Happy New Years brother!! I think (and hope) 08 will be the year of San Jose! High Speed Rail through Diridon, BART coming closer to fruition, gulp...the return of the Earthquakes (relunctantly aknowledging that one), and, as the official San Jose eternal optimist of this blog...well, you know! Again, Happy New Years and peace!

Georob said...

Happy New Year To All!

It will be interesting to watch how interest in the stadium issue is affected by the fact that the A's will likely be a non-contender for the next year or so. Of course, the OAFC will say that this was all part of Lew Wolff's grand plan to tear down the team and either make Oakland less attractive or move the team out of the Bay Area entirely.

And Tony, I'll repeat what I've always felt about San Jose, and that is that I honestly believe they could have had the A's had they put together a dedicated team of business and civic leaders to cut a deal over territorial rights. However, that would have meant "playing nice in the sandbox" with Selig and Magowan, not to mention paying out some money.

But that's too much work when it's so much easier to cry "Screw the Giants, give us baseball!" Whatever floats your boat, Tony.

As for myself, I have moved to Corpus Christi, TX so I'll have to give you all a report on Whataburger Field, home of the AA Corpus Christi Hooks. It's a relatively new venue, built on the site of old cotton warehouses on the waterfront.

anthony dominguez said...

Thanks for the "kind" always. Fresno to CC? Anyhow, good luck in Texas and enjoy whatever team they have down there. R.M., this morning's Ann Killion article, "Raw Deal," regarding Swisher to "Pale Hose." Why are the WS also referred to PH? Anyhow, Killion openly puts out doubt that Cisco Field in Fremont will come to the article. My question is simply this...why? Again, this lady has actually spoken to Lew Wolff on many an occasion. That's why her doubting the project makes me scratch my head.