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07 March 2008

A tale of two arenas

In Seattle, a rich tradition of pro basketball is close to an end. The SuperSonics, who have been in Seattle for over 40 years, have threatened to leave the last few years unless a new arena or an upgraded KeyArena surfaces with better lease terms.

The previous Seattle Center Coliseum held only 14,448, which today would be considered a paltry figure but wasn't so small when it was originally built (today's arenas typically seat 17-19,000). Stories about the leaky roof abounded. The venue lacked any "modern" amenities or upscale luxuries. Yet it was unique, intimate, and serviceable for its time.

When the new KeyArena was unveiled as a redone Seattle Center Coliseum, it was much heralded. Instead of building from scratch, the floor was dug 35 feet deeper and a new seating configuration arose, making it far more basketball-specific than it was previously. A level containing 57 luxury suites was sandwiched between the new upper and lower levels. Club seats were added. Fans had visions of a burgeoning dynasty as they watched Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp lead their Sonics to the NBA finals in 1996. Most importantly, the deal was believed to be fiscally responsible as the debt on the renovation was expected to be serviced by team revenue sources and naming rights, not taxes.

Unfortunately, even with the renovation KeyArena was behind other newer venues. The New Arena in Oakland, formerly the Oakland Coliseum Arena, one-upped KeyArena. The New Arena was renovated with a similar philosophy: keep the shell, dig down a few stories, make it more basketball-specific. Out of its renovation the capacity shot up from 15,025 to 20,000+. Two new levels of suites were added, as were thousands of club seats and additional concourses.

Inside the arena, the new Warriors didn't quite deliver in their new digs. Mired in their post Nelson/Webber malaise, the team didn't become competitive until nearly a decade later. Unlike KeyArena, there was no immediate naming rights sponsor to help defray some of the $121 million renovation cost. By the turn of the millenium, it appeared as though the W's were stuck. Stuck with a bad team, with a bad lease, in an empty arena. High rental rates had many acts look south to San Jose Arena.

All of this makes it even more amazing that in 2008, the Warriors are remarkably successful. The team is arguably the most exciting in the league. The arena, now dubbed Oracle Arena or "The Oracle," is now considered one of the loudest and most boisterous in the league. While there haven't been any threats to move the team in the last decade, it's clear that the future couldn't be anymore solid for the franchise than it is now.

In Seattle, apathy and disaffection are at an all-time high. The Sonics, lottery-bound again, are a proverbial dead franchise walking as the front office focuses entirely on youth and rebuilding. The new owner from Oklahoma City thinly disguised his desires to move the team to his hometown, where a new facility and fanbase awaited. Efforts by NBA commish David Stern to bully, er, broker a deal failed. Stern proclaimed that a new franchise would not come to Seattle in the wake of the Sonics' departure. Worst of all, the responsible renovation deal became a good deed that did not go unpunished, as both the Mariners and Seahawks ended up with palatial new stadia funded largely by massive amounts of public funds.

This week, an ultra-rich Seattle group headed by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Costco CEO Jim Sinegal pitched a proposal to buy the one-step-out-the-door Sonics and pay for further expansion for KeyArena. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City voters approved $121 million in renovations for the five-year old Ford Center. Owners are expected to vote on the move in late April. Come 2011, the Seattle SuperSonics may be no more.

30 comments:

Tony D. said...

And just to think, Larry Ellisons'/SVSEs' $450 million bid to buy the Sonics (and move them to the Shark Tank) lost out to the Oklahoma group because they "promised" to keep the team in Seattle. Oh well, perhaps San Jose/Silicon Valley investors still have the Hornets, Kings, or even Warriors to ponder in the future. Mark my word: Downtown San Jose will one day have the NBA at HP Pavilion! We won't get hosed like we did for Major League Baseball. I'm pretty sure the NBA is smarter than MLB in regards to San Jose having a professional franchise within its limits. Plus, no territorial rights claim by the Warriors to SCCo.! And if we somehow can't get a franchise to relocate in the near future, we'll just wait out the Warriors lease at Oracle (due to sunset in 2017). While the Oracle is "new" because of its renovation, like its neighbor the Coliseum, it's still located in a bad part of town in a vast sea of parking. There are a lot of us down here in the Valley, many well-heeled techie's, looking forward to that Downtown NBA experience. Here's to your future San Jose Warriors! (or Kings, Hornets,...)

Georob said...

Tony, the area around the Coliseum was just as bad 10 years ago as it is now. So, why couldn't San Jose get the Warriors to move then, especially after having them temporarily?

And even if they DID move, what makes you think they wouldn't stay with Golden State as their name. Unlike the A's, we're now talking about a team that draws well at their current venue with their current name. As for another team? Well, the NBA still has to be convinced that the Bay Area can support more than one team, so have at it.

I still think San Jose's best shot is to work out a deal with Santa Clara and get the Niners to come to Diridon South. Problem is that they've made it abundantly clear that they will keep the San Francisco name.

As I've said before, to you it's all about getting "San Jose" on a uniform. Unfortunately, not enough SJ civic leaders share your enthusiasm.

bartleby said...

The situation in Seattle is a travesty. In stark contrast to the pitiful whining we hear from the anti-Fremont crowd here, Sonics fans actually have legitimate complaints.

The Seattle fanbase really did support the team over the years. Their owner really did buy the team under false pretenses. Their owner really did try to shake the city down for a ridiculously expensive ($500 million), 100% publicly financed arena, only thirteen years after taxpayers had already paid for the same kind of expansion and remodel that was done on Oracle Arena. Their owner really is taking the team out of the market altogether (and to an inferior market). None of these things are true of the A's and Lew Wolff.

When I first read about the Sonics potentially moving, I'll admit I was excited about the possibility of them coming to San Jose. But knowing more now about that situation, I wouldn't want them to come here. They belong in Seattle.

Don't get me wrong, I'd LOVE an NBA team in downtown San Jose. But I'm willing to wait for a situation that doesn't make me feel dirty.

Bill Simmons has written some great stuff on this. See http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=simmons/080228&sportCat=nba

bartleby said...

Rob,

The reason the Warriors didn't move to San Jose ten years ago is because the Sharks control San Jose Arena and have veto power over an NBA team moving there. It would have been a logical move, and the W's did have discussions with the Sharks. Unfortunately, the Sharks old ownership really didn't want to share the building and were a bit greedy in their demands. (Basically, they weren't going to share suite or advertising revenue). Rather than take a bad lease in someone elses building, the W's made the reasonable choice to renovate the Coliseum Arena to add key revenue generators and remain top dog in their own building.

The situation is a bit different today, as the current Sharks ownership has expressed active interest in an NBA team moving to San Jose. Of course, another big difference is that today San Jose must compete with newer arenas in markets like OKC, Kansas City, Lexington, KY and the like, which also offer the chance to be the sole winter big league team, or even the sole big league team in the market.

So we'll see what happens as various NBA teams become available. There's a strong case to be made that the Bay Area can support two NBA teams. Both the W's and Sharks have received enviable support even over the many years they have been lousy. There are lots of people and money here; more so than several of these smaller markets combined. Whether that outweighs the chance to be the only fish in the pond in a small market remains to be seen. But small markets have not been kind to a number of teams (KC, New Orleans, and currently Memphis and New Orleans again).

As for whether the W's would change their name to San Jose if they moved, well, who knows. But as the sole teams in their respective sports in the region, the Warriors and Sharks faced similar considerations when they last chose their team names. The W's decision to go with "Golden State" suggests they thought their host city to be a marketing disadvantage. The Sharks decision to go with "San Jose" suggests they thought their host city to be a marketing advantage. I'd say Tony has some reason for optimism.

In reality, I think the most likely scenarios under which San Jose gets an NBA team are as follows:

1. Cohan decides to sell the W's, and the Sharks owners buy them.
2. The Kings fail to get a new arena, and the NBA decides not to chance Las Vegas. San Jose might to more acceptable to the NBA (and tolerable to the Warriors) under these circumstances because the Warriors already share the Northern California market with the Kings to some degree. A Kings move to San Jose might cost the W's some South Bay fans, but gain them some fans in Sacramento.

Jeffrey said...

ML, you might as well change the name of this blog to Baseball San Jose v2.0.

Tony D. said...

Could not have answered Rob's questions any better Bartleby...right on! Rob, in case you've forgotten, I'm also a huge proponent of Downtown San Jose. If we can't get a MLB ballpark to increase critical mass in our core, having a NBA franchise to supplement to Sharks would be an excellent consolation prize. 18,500+ patrons 40+ times per year would be awesome for downtown San Jose. So yes, while getting "San Jose" stitched across a "Big Three" uniform is excellent, further enhancing DSJ's renaissance in my mind is far more important. To add to Bartleby's excellent post, I'm pretty sure HP Pavilion will need a major enhancement/renovation within the next 5-10 years to compete with other markets for a franchise. If not an exciting ballpark village at Diridon/Arena, an exciting NHL/NBA/High-speed rail village will do just fine.

Anonymous said...

The Kings don't really compete that much with the warriors in sacramento. The Kings have their own fans now. You know that the Warriors would never allow another bay area team in san jose unless they could be shown the benefits and the NBA overuled them. They have a good shot at getting the winers tho if Santa Clara doesn't get them. ML, you should do another column on what you think the raiders will/should do when their lease expires.

Anonymous said...

You're fighting a losing battle, Rob.

Come back in 15 years and it'll be the San Jose A's at Fremont, the San Jose Warriors at HP Pavilion, and the San Jose Raiders in either Santa Clara with the 49'ers or hopefully at Diridon Stadium.

Deal with it.

Marine Layer said...

NBA in San Jose isn't happening. There are only 2 two-team markets in the NBA and the lesser team in both has performed poorly. For the Clippers it's inept management/ownership. The Nets have been stuck the last quarter century playing in the Meadowlands, but at least they've had pretty good teams during that run.

Knowing this, why would a second team be allowed in a much smaller market like the Bay Area? If they have have to rely mostly on on-court success for financial success it won't work. That's a recipe the NBA is looking to avoid. That's why Seattle is losing its team (for different financial reasons). That's why having a team in New Orleans for the next 20 years is still uncertain.

Anonymous said...

There's a whole world of difference between San Jose and those other places. If you haven't noticed, Silicon Valley is the economic engine that drives Northern California, if not the entire West Coast. San Jose can and WILL support MLB, the NFL, Hockey, and yes, an NBA team regardless of what the Warriors do.

Shame on you, Marine Layer! You're sounding more like Rob every day.

Marine Layer said...

Far be it for me to see the great metropolis that is San Jose. I only live downtown, how would I know? (rolls eyes)

San Jose doesn't even have to balls to put the Little Saigon controversy to bed.

bartleby said...

ML,

I respectfully disagree that the Bay Area cannot support two teams. The Bay Area has 7 million (very affluent) residents. By comparison, metro Oklahoma City has about 1.2 million, New Orleans 1 million, Memphis 1.3 million, and Kansas City 2 million.

Having to avoid relying on on-court success may be a recipe the NBA (and every other sports league) is trying to avoid, but simply put, they can't. Only some of the very largest markets have this luxury (New York, Chicago, arguably not even Los Angeles), and they already have teams. If you go back over NBA, NHL, or MLB attendance figures for the last seven years, attendance tracks with performance to a large degree for most teams in each of those leagues. (Significantly for purposes of our discussion, thw Warriors and Sharks are an exception to this).

The experience of the Clippers and Nets is not representative, but in any event does not really support your point. First, two teams is too small a sample. Second, bad performance, bad management, and especially bad arenas played a huge role in both teams' attendance. The LA Sportsarena and Meadowlands were/are the absolute worst arenas in the NBA. When the Clippers moved to Staples Center, their attendance went way, way up. I fully expect that if/when the Nets move to new digs in Brooklyn, theirs will as well.

In fact, the experience of the Clippers and Nets suggests that a second team in a big market is more "performance proof" and in general a better idea than a single team in a small market. The Clippers are having a bad year, yet they are still 19th in average attendance at 16,500, higher than every team not in playoff contention except New York and Miami (both big markets). The Nets have a losing record (though they are still in playoff contention due to the dreadful state of the Eastern Conference), but still rank 22nd at 15,400 The Clips and Nets are both significantly ahead of New Orleans (27th; 13,300) despite the Hornets being one of the best teams in the NBA, as well as the Grizzlies (29th; 13,000). Does anyone really believe that teams in Memphis and New Orleans are, or team in Kansas City or OKC would be, more "performance proof" than a second team in the Bay Area in San Jose?

(I do agree that two teams in NorCal is more likely than three, which is why I made the point that if San Jose ever did get a team it would most likely be the W's or Kings).

bartleby said...

Anon 1:03,

The W's don't compete with the Kings in Sacramento as much as they would in San Jose, but they do compete. If the Kings leave Sacto, there's going to be a significant number of basketball fans driving down to Oakland for games. Even more so, a lot of people watching Kings games now on TV will watch W's games instead. It wouldn't make up for the South Bay fans the W's would lose to a team in San Jose, but it would be a far better scenario for them than having teams in both Sacramento AND San Jose.

Marine Layer said...

Going by your reasoning, bartleby, there should be few/no teams in smaller markets. That's not the way to run a league in this day and age where TV and merchandise money via revenue sharing is a great equalizer.

I would buy the "Bay Area is big enough market" if the area wasn't largely composed of fairweather fans. Most of the hardcore NBA fanbase is with the W's now, and many of them were with the Kings during the 90's. Bringing a team to San Jose would require muster a whole new hardcore fanbase. I just don't see it. The Sharks work because they were first (no offense to the different incarnations of the Quakes). Because they were new and unique. Because their players are more approachable and less scandal-tarnished than their counterparts in the NBA. Because the Tank is downtown.

Little of that reasoning works for a vagabond NBA franchise. What does a SJ franchise bring to the table that's so unique? It's not like MLB where there are two leagues and two styles of play. It's not like the NFL where there are few enough games that there's little fan fatigue. There is already a basketball product in the area that has maintained its fanbase despite terrible management. That's not going to be siphoned away easily. Also, remember that study Bizjournals did a while back? It showed the Bay Area was maxed out in terms of capacity for supporting major sports franchises.

If you can show me a detailed argument that this area has the hardcore fanbase and the economic capacity to support a new team, I can buy into it.

Georob said...

Rhamesis, your argument is falling on deaf ears. Tony and Bartleby are focused on getting teams in San Jose and it doesn't matter if the means to make it happen simply don't make sense.

Dream on guys! And while you're at it, why don't you run for City Council, since the current crop of San Jose leaders don't share your enthusiasm (Kinda like Oakland, huh!)

And without support from City Hall, it's unlikely that all those "well-heeled techies" that you speak of will just open their checkbooks to underwrite new venues simply so they can see "SJ" on a uniform.

BTW, what's the "Little Saigon" thing about?

Marine Layer said...

If you really want to know about the Little Saigon issue, read this.

Navigator said...

San Jose has a huge inferiority complex which some people think can be cured by stealing Oakland's sports franchises. It's not going to happen. The Warriors have already tried San Jose. They said thanks, but no thanks. They made the right choice to stay in Oakland. They have a beautiful Arena (much better than the warehouse in San Jose)in Oakland. They are in the geographic center of the Bay Area, in the capital city of the East Bay and its 2.5 million residents.

Unlike Wolff, the Warriors made the right decision and now they are reaping the rewards. Why would the Warriors give up Oakland in order to be pigeon holed in San Jose in the very southern part of the Bay? That's economic suicide in oder that certain San Jose residents can feel better about their city's inferiority complex.

Marine Layer said...

Every city in the Bay Area has some kind of inferiority complex. How did Oakland get two of its teams again? From where did SF get its baseball team?

bartleby said...

ML,

Stating that there should be "no" or "few" NBA teams in small markets unfairly exaggerates my point. There certainly is a case to be made for "fewer," however.

My basic point was that there's a certain market size threshold below which teams are likely to struggle, particularly in down years, and that second teams in large markets may be more viable than solo teams in small markets. You didn't really respond to my observation that the "second banana" teams in LA and New York are still doing significantly better during tough times than small market teams in similar circumstances.

As for revenue sharing, gate receipts and local TV revenue are not shared in the NBA. Existing small market owners apparently do not find whatever revenue sharing exists to be a great equalizer, and in fact claim lack of revenue sharing threatens their viability (see http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/16877177/). One would seriously question the wisdom of moving a team from the 13th largest market (Seattle) to the 49th (Oklahoma City), until one reads that the current ownership really sees the Sonics as a hobby/civic pride thing and only hopes to break even in their new market.

On the bizjournals posting, unfortunately, for some reason my computer will no longer display the accompanying charts. I question some of the assumptions I could read, however. For one thing, as was pointed out, many teams do not meet the thresholds yet get by nevertheless. For another thing, it does not seem logical to assume that 90 billion of a region's personal income will be tied up by baseball, and therefore that region needs an additional 38 billion to support an NBA team. In a region as affluent as the Bay Area, people have proportionately way more discretionary income than most other areas. For many, many people, budget isn't the biggest barrier to going to games, it's more about bandwidth and what else is competing for their attention at the relevant point in time. MLB and the NBA have little overlap in their schedules, and many people are just not that interested in hockey.

Which leads naturally to what San Jose has to offer a new NBA team: proximity to a large, affluent and underserved market. As has been stated many times before, most people in the South Bay are not willing to fight their way up the Nimitz on a weeknight very often. This is reflected in the fact that only 16% of Warriors season-ticket holders are from the South Bay (and I'm willing to bet many of them are splitting their season-ticket packages among multiple people). All of which suggests there's an awful lot of people down here who would go to an awful lot more games if it were more convenient. Simply put, an NBA team in San Jose would expand the local market for NBA basketball overall.

If you divided the Bay Area in two, each would be in the top 13 NBA markets by size. Santa Clara County, by itself, would still be a top twenty NBA market in size. If you throw the Sharks in the mix and divide the Bay Area by three, you still end up with three very healthy size markets relative to other NBA markets under consideration, not even counting the greater affluence of this error. I really don't understand the level of skepticism over the region's ability to support another team, particularly when considering the scenario of a Kings move to SJ. Please explain in detail where you perceive flaws in my reasoning.

I also question the notion that this is a fair weather market. The Warriors and Sharks have gotten great support through lean years. After taking over their own marketing, the Raiders sold out most of their games during a depressing 2-14 season. Of the local teams, only the A's have had dubious support. By way of comparison, check out recent attendance for the Blackhawks, Bruins, or 76ers, which all play in very large so-called "sports towns."

Marine Layer said...

I just did some quick math on premium seat inventory. Cisco Field and the new 49ers' stadium will add 60 suites, 40 minisuites, and 11,000 club seats to the Bay Area market. That added inventory is equivalent to adding an expansion NFL team. A new NBA franchise would add yet another 68 suites and 3,000 more club seats.

Not only does that add inventory to the market, it will also concentrate much of that in the southern part of the bay. The South Bay could turn from undersaturated to oversaturated overnight. Add another NBA team and it definitely becomes oversaturated. Obviously, not all of the base comes from the South Bay as football is a regional sport and the A's will continue to draw from the East Bay. An NBA would have to draw almost entirely from the South Bay due to accessibility issues and the presence of an existing franchise. And then what would happen when the NBA franchise owner saw that the Tank was not up-to-date for basketball? It's not a completely ideal basketball arena to begin with.

I know where you're coming from, bartleby. I just think the ceiling's a bit lower here than you do.

Tony D. said...

Nice debate everyone! R.M., you can't see any scenario where the Warriors or Kings would relocate to SJ? Anyhow, as I stated earlier, I believe HP Pavilion will need another round of renovations/enhancements before it becomes attractive for a NBA frachise; let's hope this happens before 2017. Perhaps, with a lot of redevelopment scheduled for Diridon/Arena, Cohan or the Maloofs (or another owner) could be enticed to relocate to SJ if they were given a "piece of the action" so to speak: transit-oriented mixed-use development with luxury condos, hotel, office and retail space. As Bartleby alluded to in his post, I'm one of many in San Jose/SV who will by season tickets to an HP Pavilion-based NBA franchise; The Oracle is just to damned far 40+ weeknight games per year!

Marine Layer said...

It would be premature to presume that the Bay Area and the South Bay in particular would be able to support a seventh major franchise without first seeing what happens when all of the original six teams have new or upgraded venues. In the middle of the next decade we'll have a better feel for that as we'll see how well the new stadia for the A's, Niners, and even the Raiders sell out. I'm still of the mindset that the NBA isn't very interested in new two-team markets. They're trying to grow the brand, not concentrate it.

Jeffrey said...

Being a fan of the "2nd" team in a two team market, this is going to feel a bit weird to type: I think all sports leagues should should look to maximize revenue sharing and minimize two team markets.

If all teams shared revenue 100% across the board, there would be only a few markets that could be financially exploited (not in the nefarious sense) to the maximum with more than one team.

I would imagine the only two team markets would be places like New York and LA where there is a huge population/disposable income.

By 2035, maybe the Bay Area fits that criteria.

I know a lot of people have done research on the maximum number of major league franchises in a given region and the league best suited to a given market.

All that said, I love having the A's and Giants in the same region. It is fun in the good years (like last year) to just rip on Giants fans when the A's kill them.

Anonymous said...

Jeff - agreed. While it would hurt to see the A's leave the Bay Area, I've always thought it would make more sense for them to play in Sacramento. I know, I know, it's a smaller market, blah, blah blah. But let's face it ... it the A's will always be second fiddle to the Giants in the Bay Area media market and a distant second at that. I feel that they'd be able to thrive in a market like Sacramento as they'd have it to themselves, as well as some of the east bay. It's a growing market as well.

- Tim

Jeffrey said...

I posted some stuff I looked into on athleticsnation a long time ago. I can't find that post anymore but I tired to sum up the different revenue streams available to the A's outside of the Bay Area in 4 "big league" cities. Portland, Sacramento, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City.

Really, I don't think Sacramento (or any of them) could fly. I lived in Elk Grove the past 7 years and honestly there is not enough of a private sector economy to drive a market much different than what the Kansas City Royals, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, etc have. The story is the same in all west coast markets in my opinion.

Fremont is really the best option for the A's right now. If it falls through, then Sacramento would probably be on the table I imagine, but it isn't a better option.

Tony D. said...

Rob,
All arguments that go against what one believes will always fall on a deaf set of ears. Who's to say R.M., you, or myself/Bartleby have the right answers in this debate? Look, Bartleby, myself, and many others feel San Jose would be great for the NBA (and vise versa). Rhamesis, yourself, and others feel differently, and you know what...THAT OK! Lastly R.M., if you're going to apoligize to Quakes fans for possibly offending them, you'd also better apoligize to Sabercats, Stealth, and Skyrockets (RIP) fans as well.

Georob said...

Okay, so if you want the Kings or Sonics to come to San Jose, then civic and business leaders have to do the same thing that they should have done to overcome MLB territorial rights:

Namely, to make the case that there is a huge underserved market in the South Bay that will be very lucrative to the NBA, AND....that the Warriors would suffer minimally with a second NBA team in the Bay Area. (Remember Tony, San Jose is still part of the Bay Area)

Problem is, that will take some political will that probably doesn't exist in San Jose right now. And if you think it'll be any easier just to steal the Warriors away in 2017, think again. For now they'd have to be fighting not only Oakland, but possibly even San Francisco if they decide to attempt an arena project.

So maybe it's better for San Jose to go after the Kings or Sonics. But it will take more than just a handful of bloggers on Red Bull to make it happen.

bartleby said...

ML,

I actually agree with most of your comments in your 3/10/08 7:35 PM and 3/11/08 9:43 AM posts, although we draw different conclusions from them.

You gave out some numbers on the added suite and club seat capacity that would theoretically coming to the South Bay. I agree these sound like big numbers, but they are meaningless except in the context of the population available to support them and the amount of money in those people's pockets.

So, lets assume all evolves as you have posited, and the South Bay ends up with four big league teams. (I actually still think Niners to Santa Clara is a long shot, but let's assume just to be conservative).

And I also agree that a second San Jose team would draw mostly from the South Bay. However, I would include within my definition of "South Bay" San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

This would leave a San Jose NBA team with a population base of around 2.7 million to support it, and the Warriors with around 4.5 million. (I believe the actual numbers would be better than this for San Jose as the Niners would continue to draw from the whole Bay Area and the A's from the East Bay, as you have stated, and the fact that MANY people from San Francisco and and Alameda counties work in Silicon Valley, making it easier for them to get to a weeknight NBA game in San Jose than in Oakland. But let's be conservative.)

This would give San Jose roughly the same population base supporting four teams as Denver or Minneapolis. If the Niners don't move down here, or if we ignore them for the sake of this discussion due to the fact that they will draw from the full Bay Area population of 7 million, San Jose would have roughly the same population supporting three teams as Cleveland or St. Louis, and significantly more than Tampa or Pittsburgh.

I suspect you may say, "Well, those other markets are oversaturated, too." Perhaps, but for the most part they are getting by. Anyway, it's not only about whether any given situation is ideal, but also what the other options are. Does a team in OKC (pop 1 million) or a third team in Kansas City really look like a better idea than, say, the fourth team in Denver?

And it should never be overlooked that the South Bay has nearly double the median household income (or more) and a way bigger corporate base than any of those places. This seems to get somewhat overlooked in our discussions, but the South Bay just has way more disposable income and spends way more money on entertainment generally than most other markets. Statistically, we eat out more, go to the movies more, etc. So it is reasonable to assume we can support more professional sports per capita than someplace like Cleveland.

I also agree with your comment that the NBA does not seem to favor two team markets, which was a big part of my reason for saying a San Jose NBA team was a long shot unless it was the Warriors or Kings. But again, it's not only about the NBA's preferences, it's also about their other options. It's hard for me to see how OKC is a better gamble in the long run than San Jose would be. So I expect our name will continue to come up as NBA teams come in play. Maybe we finally get a team 10 years down the road after new OKC or Kansas City teams fail.

Tony D. said...

Rob,
You forget way to easily. The only way SF can build a new sports venue is if it's 100% privately financed; who's going to finance a SF arena? (Rhamesis actually posed the latter question to me a few months back). If it were up to SF voters, we'd be talking about the Tampa Bay Giants right now. Also, the prime spot for a hypothetical SF arena is now slated for a AT&T Park ballpark village; where else can they build Rob? Oakland? You're kidding me, right? The O is out of the stadium business for a very, very long time (hence the A's relocating to Fremont). As for SJ's political will, it is there in the form of current and former political leaders, big business and SVSE. Enough said; enjoy Corpus Rob.

Georob said...

Geez, where do I start? I mean, why don't we just move Coit Tower and Jack London Square to San Jose while we're at it. So, where IS San Jose's political will? It certainly has a habit of taking a coffee break at the oddest times.

Where was it when the Warriors needed a new arena and the Sharks owners needed a Civic push to make sharing HP Pavilion worth their while?

Where was it when both Steve Schott and Lew Wolff made no secret of their wish to move the A's to Santa Clara County? Just how hard DID they try to work a deal with Bud Selig and Peter Magowan?

Where is is NOW that the Yorks have publicly announced that the Niners are looking to move south? There's gotta be a stadium built somewhere, why not DSJ?

And where will it be when Oklahoma City makes its pitch for either the Sonics or the Kings?

Where is it, Tony? I'll tell you, it aint there! Because like Oakland, San Jose has more important priorities than making you and Bartleby happy.

Like I said before, you should run for office and leave the cheerleading to....well, cheerleaders!