02 December 2008

December tidbits

The Giants are going to experiment with a new pricing scheme for select seats at AT&T Park called dynamic pricing. Prices will vary in the left field corner, upper deck sections could vary as much as $2 from published pricing based on demand. While this is not expected to make a significant difference in attendance or revenue, it's a good way to gauge how responsive area fans are to such an initiative.

Regionally, the best analogue comes from State Highway 91 in Orange County, which has so-called "Lexus lanes," otherwise known as high-occupancy toll (HOT) lanes. The toll on the premium lanes varies depending on time of day, and is a model from which more dynamic pricing will be based. Don't like the concept? You might want to get used to it, as it's part of transit planning throughout the urbanized parts of the state in the future.
Despite an additional $25 billion taxpayer bailout, Citigroup will retain its naming rights deal at the Mets' new stadium in Queens. This has caused some angry NYC pols to call for a renaming of the ballpark to "Citi/Taxpayer Field."
Santa Clara County Measure B (BART to Silicon Valley) has passed with the vote certified by the county registrar. A San Francisco judge also struck down an electoral challenge to the results. A partial, manual recount is possible, but it'll cost $400k to whomever is interested.
Bill Simmons, a.k.a. "The Sports Guy" on,
wrote a neat article two weeks ago on how the way new football stadiums have been built has largely eliminated home field advantage in the NFL. The lessons? Make the structure as compact as possible, lose the open ends that make for scenic vistas, minimize the impact of luxury suites, and stop forcing Joe Fan to sit in the nosebleeds. 360 architecture, the firm working on Cisco Field and the new Meadowlands Stadium for the Jets/Giants, appears to have taken some of that knowledge to heart.
Last but not least, regarding the rumor of discussions about territorial rights during the winter meetings next week: I received a couple of notes on this prior to the anonymous comment. That said, I'll wait until next week to post on it, lest I go back on my promise not to comment on San Jose rumors.

Update: Matier & Ross report that this week the A's and BART officials will the alternate Fremont site near the planned Warm Springs BART station and NUMMI. Keep in mind that several parties with no relation to BART control the land in the area.


Anonymous said...

Why didn't Wolff offer this kind of flexibility when he SUPPOSEDLY was dealing w/Oakland? His 66th Street farce insisted on BART adding another station & now he's willing to negotiate? What a freaking creep!

Marine Layer said...

I don't get this characterization that somehow, not adding a BART station at the Coliseum North site sunk the deal. They never even got to that point. The land ownership issues were paramount. BART was a distant second.

Besides, the estimate for a new inline station is $100 million, that BART wasn't going to help pay for. Either Oakland, the JPA, or Wolff/Fisher would've had to pay for it. In the Fremont situation, they're discussing moving the stadium to a place where a new BART station is already planned and has funding lined up. Big difference.

58edsil said...

Wow! Anonymous, try using a name or at least your OAFC tag since this is a direct copy from their site. The Coliseum site is lacking a lot of things. Safety, family entertainment, etc. But it is closer to Bart! Spare the rest of us your hate and try to see that a new ballpark in Oakland just isn't wanted by the fans, politicians and taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

58edsil assumes the OAFC poster also posted here. I'm Oakland4ever & I posted my comment earlier only at OAFC. I must say I was surpised to see my post copied here on marine layers blog.

Some of the business owners on the land in Oakland where Wolff supposedly wanted to build, said they were never contacted by the Oakland A's. So yes, owning the land is paramount, but now that Wolff is in a similar situation in Fremont, he becomes flexible. I think he hasn't been honest in dealing with the city of Oakland & therefore I think he's a creep. Just because I wouldn't sit down & have a beer w/Wolff, doesn't mean I hate him. I think he's dishonest & doesn't respect the history of the Oakland A's, so lay off with the "hate" proclamations.

Marine Layer said...

There were dozens of landowners. The A's were working with Oakland to reach out to landowners and create negotiation terms. Believe it or not, the city assigned one or more staff to work on this. The A's are doing the same thing right now with Fremont to construct the parking plan. What it comes down to is the A's were likely putting out lowball prices, and more than one area owner balked. It doesn't take many to make the plan fail.

Anonymous said...

Talking to someone from the OAFC about the new stadium is totally pointless. They are deathly afraid to step foot outside Oakland city limits, so any proposal outside Oakland automatically equates to Wolff being a dishonest creep. It's like arguing about evolution with a fundie. They are so invested in their dogma that things like facts and reality just can't possibly register with them. Oh well. They'll be ditching the A's in a couple of years, then they'll be some other fanbase's embarrassment.

Transic said...

Not surprisingly, other media have picked up on the story:

A's Owner Considers New Fremont Stadium Near BART
A's seriously considering new stadium site in Fremont, near planned BART station

This does raise some interesting things. There will be those who'll say that this shows some desperation on Wolff's part. But aren't the Wolffs already in the real estate business? This would not be something that they'd be unfamiliar with. Ups and downs are the vernacular of the real estate culture. If nothing is built on the Cisco site it would not be any different from other private owners of properties which remain undeveloped for long periods of time. After all, the land there has remained fallow for the past thirty years. What's another ten years of wait?

Wolff wants some sort of resolution to the stadium question as soon as possible, from showing his interest in the idea from the BART people. He could be thinking that a stadium in the middle of an expanse of empty land may not look good for the image the A's want to portray. It's another Angels Stadium-type situation that he'd rather avoid.

One item that has to be under consideration is how the interest would affect land prices in the area. If the landowners of said properties know that there may be a baseball stadium in the pipeline they're going to want to jack up their prices. This could scuttle the idea very quickly.

Without even knowing whether this idea has any legs, it would also further dampen any chances for San Jose to get the A's. One who we know in particular has always held out in the belief that the Cisco land would eventually become a jumping point to going where he wanted the team to go all along. Warm Springs might put the kibosh on that hope because even paying for Warm Springs is preferable from Wolff's standpoint to fighting territorial rights, which he has concluded not to do a long time ago. The big irony is that Santa Clara folks (at least some of the more ardent "Yes" voters) voted in the hope that they'll attract people from north of the county line to bring dollars from paying for events like pro baseball. Now they can take the train north if they want to see baseball. Alameda residents should send them a thank you note for their generosity. ;0)

Well, that's the opinion from an outsider's perspective.

Marine Layer, since I don't know California law, can a stadium be allowed to be built on land owned by a public agency or non-profit like BART?

Marine Layer said...

The area around Warm Springs BART has already been targeted for transit-oriented development, whatever form it could eventually take. The landowners have been looking for a nice payoff for a while, ballpark notwithstanding. I don't think a ballpark really moves the needle unless the ancillary development model were to come with it. To do that Wolff will need a lot more than 36 acres. The village concept alone sans ballpark is 40 acres.

I'm going to hold my tongue on San Jose, except to say that it has BART coming and the argument works for them as well.

About building on public land - it's not only legal, it's considered good business as it's a good way for a team to avoid some property taxes. The Giants built their private stadium on City of SF-owned land.

Tony D. said...

A San Jose point of view: as I've said before, building Cisco Field right next to the WS BART station is the next best thing to building an actual ballpark in downtown San Jose. Yes, having Cisco Field right next to the future Diridon BART/high-speed rail station would be ideal, but if not to be, another 5 stations to the north will work just fine. Heck, I could still enjoy a meal or drink in my very own downtown before/after an A's game; what do you say R.M., 20-25 minutes from DSJ to Warm Springs via BART?

Marine Layer said...

I don't mind it at all. We'll have to wait a few years after the ballpark opens to take advantage of the extension, though.