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06 May 2009

AN Wolff interview

Blez interviews Lew Wolff. No excerpts this time, read and comment there. Or here if you like. It's long and almost all stadium.

63 comments:

hamachi said...

I liked that interview. Why can't all the "real" press go and sit down with him to get answers like this? Or follow up to see all the things they've explored for oakland sites?

Marine Layer said...

It's a pretty lengthy interview. Much longer than would be appropriate in a local paper. That's the great thing about blogs - they can really get into serious detail that can't be furnished anywhere else and without great cost.

Anonymous said...

Partially agree ML. But all to often the media has another agenda when conducting these types of interviews. Why is it that reporters have such a hard time figuring out that the population at large is literate enough to reach their own conclusions? Papers are folding left and right, yet these knuckleheads still feel that they should put their own personal stamp on a story. In short, the bloggers do a far better job. They allow the subject of the interview to speak for himself, and the reader is left to his own devices as to context and meaning. I won't weep nary a bit when the last useless rag folds up shop.

I hope Lew is paying careful attention. It's a new day, and he needs to make his case directly with his constituents. Let nothing said or done go unchallenged. The Oakland pols are among California's finest, and that isn't meant to be a compliment. Even by Cali standards, these idiots are top notch. I feel for the Oakland diehards, I really do. A lot of nice people are being screwed over by their elected reps whose priorities are more about their personality and future ambitions than their current job. They blather on endlessly and form committee after committee, while each one prepares to wrap the mantle of "civic outrage" around their shoulders the moment the moving trucks arrive. Meanwhile, SJ pols are shrewd enough to identify a site, conduct an EIR, and aquire the ground to boot. I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but it's blazingly obvious that they know something we don't. Frankly, if they have the moxy to pull all this off, I wish them the best. I rather doubt that something as trivial as TR's will stand in their way. It'll be nice to see the A's land someplace where they're truly wanted.

Georob said...

I'm sorry, but if we're "this close" to a deal to allow the A's to move to San Jose, it's not showing in Wolff's responses.

Instead, he sounds like he's no longer trying. Yeah, the "whatever MLB decides" routine could be interpreted as a deal over territorial rights; but again I would expect a little more optimism from ol' Lew. And frankly, it ain't there.

My prediction: The blue ribbon panel will view and re-view every possible(and even IMpossible) site in Alameda and Contra Costa. After that, MLB will then take a good hard look again at Portland, San Antonio, and any other market that's been talked about.

THEN(and only then) will San Jose get it's shot. But between the economy and whatever ridiculous price the Giants have set, MLB doesn't yet want to deal with TR's.

So Tony, if there's a "napkin deal" as you suggested; show us the napkin. But shake the bread crumbs off first :)

hamachi said...

I think Lew is playing his cards right. He can't just demand that MLB remove the T rights, yet it's obvious that's what he wants.

and on blogs and newspapers: I really like when blogs get in depth and cover a topic really well (like this one). but most stink on ice. rehashing links and other stories with added snark? no thanks!

Newspapers can still be a useful way to get certain kind of information. I think they should concentrate MORE on longer articles and in depth reporting rather than just wire feeds and quick blurbs.

Anonymous said...

Rob,

I see it differently. Wolfe has been working with SJ pols for years and is a close personal friend of Selig's. It's what he's not saying that is all the more telling. He's not making a case at all in public for the rights to SJ. Why is that? Could it be that he already knows what he needs to know? Why risk saying something that would upset the applecart?

Honestly, SJ is a city of over one million people. It's not the burb it once was when the original TR's were drawn up. MLB wouldn't lightly string them along, especially since it's in their collective interests to plant a team in the south bay. Demographics make this abundantly clear. As for the Giants, there is recent precedent via the Nats for placing a team in another teams "territory". To top it off, the area originally belonged to the A's. It would be the easiest thing in the world for the other owners to say that all they are doing is realigning the territorial split as it was originally intended. Especially if the intention was to see a larger geographical distance between the A's and Giants. It doesn't really matter which of the two ended up in the South Bay. They damn well know that the bay is a viable two team market. One that can thrive with both teams being contributors to the revenue sharing pool. It's not likely that they are interested in adding yet another underachieving market such as SA or Portland.

I don't think SJ is going through all this effort without good reason. I also don't think Lew is holding his tongue without a very good reason for doing so. I'm doing the math here, and all things considered, it's adding up like the San Jose A's to me.

Say, you're recent relocation hasn't caused you to become an ardent SA activist has it? :0

Anonymous said...

A city of one million alone is not enough to support an MLB team. San Jose has to lean on a lot of communities up and down both sides of the bay to make up its "market"

Unfortunately, a lot of those communities are also seen as part of SF's market. So really, it's not so much a battle over San Jose as much as it's a fight for Palo Alto, Mountain View, Menlo Park, Sunnyvale, Los Altos, etc.

thisplanetsux said...

I just get heartburn reading anything Wolff has to say anymore. The five years immediately prior to his taking over, the A's drew over 2 million fans each season, and were right around the middle of ML attendance each season. Attendance went right in the toilet the day he took over. Thanks Lew, you're doing a heckuva job!

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:57--no different than a city of 370,000 people can't support a team alone and needs to lean on the surrounding communities as their fan base---

But if I am to build today I would prefer to start with demographics of the 1M people city and its surrounding communities (not to mention those in the CV that will be connected by HSR)--rather than the current city of 370,000

thisplanetsux said...

But anon 1:16, you're not characterizing the demographics for Oakland very accurately. Within a mere 30 minutes drive of downtown Oakland are cities with a total of over 2 million people. That's just how it is when you're located smack dab in the center of an area with over 7 million. San Jose is great, but it's on the fringe of the Bay Area, and any reasonable analysis will show much better regional demographics for Oakland.

Now, how the distance from AT&T Park impacts Oakland vs. San Jose is worth considering. I'm not sure. But San Jose is allegedly SF Giant territory, so where's the fan data to help figure that part out?

Truth Police said...

"The five years immediately prior to his taking over, the A's drew over 2 million fans each season, and were right around the middle of ML attendance each season."

Not true. Here are the actual figures for those years:

Year Attendance MLB Rank
2000 1,728,885 21
2001 2,133,477 19
2002 2,169,811 18
2003 2,216,596 17
2004 2,201,516 19

As you can see, the A's were no where near 2 million for 2000. Nor were they really in the "middle" of attendance in any of those years, despite the fact that for many of them they were competing against dreadful venues boosting their ranking which were gone by the time Wolff took over, like Olympic Stadium (Montreal), County Stadium (Milwaukee), Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia), Three Rivers Stadium (Pittsburgh), Cinergy Field (Cincinnati), and Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego).

"Attendance went right in the toilet the day he took over."

Also not true. Overall attendance barely budged (at least until team performance fell off in 2008), despite Wolff's decision to close the upper deck (which eliminated the padding of attendance previously provided by 10,000 $2 upper deck seats on Wednesday nights):

Year Attendance MLB Rank
2005 2,109,298 19
2006 1,976,625 26
2007 1,921,844 26
2008 1,578,922 27

Not a big dip in attendance, especially considering the closing of the upper deck which enabled the A's to boost their average achieved ticket price by 25%. From a business standpoint, the small sacrifice in attendance was more than justified by the big increase in revenue and significant decrease in costs resulting from this decision (due to eliminating the need to staff concessions in the upper deck and clean it after games).

The A's did slip in attendance rankings during this time, but the opening of new venues in a number of cities was a contributing factor to this. Also, it should be noted in the bottom third of the rankings, small dips in attendance can result in falling multiple spots.

It should be pointed out, average attendance under Wolff is still quite good compared to historical A's attendance. (It is only slightly lower than under Haas)

Truth Police said...

"Within a mere 30 minutes drive of downtown Oakland are cities with a total of over 2 million people."

As there are in San Jose. However, in San Jose they are far more affluent people able to support higher ticket prices.

"any reasonable analysis will show much better regional demographics for Oakland."

Um, no. Any reasonable analysis will take into account that median household income in Santa Clara County is nearly 40% higher than in Alameda County and that large companies in Santa Clara County outnumber large companies in Alameda County more than 10 to 1. All important statistics considering the primary market for an MLB team is a radius of 22 miles from the ballpark.

Troy Hoffman said...

it's a little irritating how Contra Costa tends to be left out. it makes up 20% of the fan base. It has over a million people and has excellent demographics despite having richmond in it. I'm not arguing that the Oakland region is better demographically than SJ, it's just that the Oakland region doesn't look as good when you count out CC.

Anonymous said...

Troy Hoffman,

Fair enough, but then you have to give San Jose credit for the 700,000 people who live in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. And acknowledge that Contra Costa adds little in terms or corporate base.

In the end though, it bears repeating: The key radius for an MLB team is 22 miles. Much beyond that, and your in "might come for a weekend game but not a weeknight game territory," and much more of the Bay Area comes into play for either location.

Troy Hoffman said...

I'm not exactly sure you could include santa cruz and monterey. Maybe santa cruz. Contra Costa is closer than you realize because of BART. Monterey, not so much. Plus CC kills it demographically. All i have to do is get my buddies together and drive down the street to the bart station. As i said, 20% of the fans come from contra costa, that's more than just weekend fan territory. Alameda itself was 27% i believe. Like i said before, CC just shouldn't get overlooked as it usually does. Obviously it's not gonna compete with the corporate base.

Anonymous said...

Hey Troy---agree with general assessment but come on--we're taking 8000 full and partial season ticket holders--A's will average mayb 18,000-20,000 this year---20% of a small number makes it pretty trivial at the end of the day--

Anonymous said...

Troy,

Your points regarding BART and demographics are valid, but also consider: CoCo currently has four major league teams within easy reach. Even if the A's move, they'll still have three. It is a much more saturated sports market than Santa Cruz or Monterey. It is reasonable to think that the A's will draw a higher proportion of fans from those sports-starved regions than they currently do from CoCo.

Troy Hoffman said...

Again, guy's i'm not arguing for or against SJ. I just want a new stadium somewhere in the bay area.

thisplanetsux said...

"Um, no. Any reasonable analysis will take into account that median household income in Santa Clara County is nearly 40% higher than in Alameda County and that large companies in Santa Clara County outnumber large companies in Alameda County more than 10 to 1. All important statistics considering the primary market for an MLB team is a radius of 22 miles from the ballpark."

Okay let me try again. An early response went astray.

1) Please provide a source for the 40% higher median household income in SC over Alameda. I only have US Census Bureau data and I'm not seeing this disparity. Is there more reliable, or more recent figures than the Census Bureau 2007 updated data?

2) Does anyone have an idea why the median household income in SC county is so much better than the per capita income relative to the other affluent Bay Area counties? Marin, SF, and San Mateo blow SC away in per capita income, but come up just a bit behind in median household income. I couldn't find how they define 'household'. Single address? Single family? Single tax return? Something else? Are we talking about 7 H1 Visa holders sharing a 3 bedroom tract home to save on rent?

3) Downtown SF is like 6 miles across the Bay from downtown Oakland. There are a lot of really big Fortune 500 Companies there, and nearly half the employess, from CEOs to mailroom staff, live in the East Bay. Most of them could get to a downtown Oakland ballpark with the same amount of walking, and in the same amount of time as to AT&T Park (maybe 15-20 minutes during rush hour, 10-12 minutes off peak, via BART or driving). Some of these very large companies already sponsor the A's.

Anonymous said...

"Please provide a source for the 40% higher median household income in SC over Alameda."

Figures were based on 2000 U.S. Census data: Santa Clara $74,335 Alameda $55,946. On running the numbers again, the actual difference is 33%. So I made a math error on the first go-round, but the fundamental point still holds.

"Downtown SF is like 6 miles across the Bay from downtown Oakland. There are a lot of really big Fortune 500 Companies there,"

But not NEARLY as many as there are in Santa Clara County. As most of the ones that are there currently support, and will continue to support, the Giants.

"Some of these very large companies already sponsor the A's."

"Sponsoring" by putting up billboards is not the same as buying suites and club seats, which is what drives the business. Oakland and SF combined have less than half the number of Fortune 500 companies as SC County. It simply does not make sense to put two teams in that region and zero in the South Bay.

thisplanetsux said...

"Oakland and SF combined have less than half the number of Fortune 500 companies as SC County."

Here are all the Bay Area companies in the top 50 of the Fortune 500:

3 Chevron $263B San Ramon
9 Hewlett-Packard $118B Palo Alto
15 McKesson $101B San Francisco
41 Wells Fargo $51B San Francisco
50 Safeway $44B Pleasanton

While companies like Chevron and Safeway are pretty close to Oakland (similar to how Google and HP are close to San Jose), even if I only count companies inside SF and Oakland, but then count companies anywhere in Santa Clara County (thus performing your specified calculation), I get these two lists of Fortune 500 companies:

SF/Oakland
----------
1 McKesson
2 Wells Fargo
3 PG&E
4 Gap (yikes)
5 URS
6 Visa
7 Charles Schwab
8 Clorox

Santa Clara County
------------------
1 Hewlett Packard
2 Cisco Systems
3 Intel
4 Apple
5 Google
6 Sun Micro
7 Sanmina-SCI
8 eBay
9 Applied Materials
10 Yahoo
11 Advanced Micro Dev
12 Agilent Tech

Sorry, 8 is not "much less than half" of 12. Another math problem there, it seems.

And if you include all the nearby companies in places like Pleasanton, South San Francisco, San Ramon, etc. things will about even up numbers-wise, maybe not too close revenues-wise with all the heavy hitters up north...

Anonymous said...

Damn thisplanetsux, good shit!! I did not know that. I knew we had some good companies up in the East and West Bay, but I didn't know how well we could stack up to the South Bay...considering the birth of Silicon Valley and the dotcom boom was largely due to the enormous available land down there to purchase during that time.

Jeffrey said...

Nice cherry picking. The number I would use for companies is actually Fortune 1000, which gives you a greater view of the depth for corporate support:

There are 103 Fortune 1000 companies in California. 57 of those are in the Bay Area. Of those 57, 30 are in Silicon Valley (as defined as Redwood City south to Cupertino and up the East Bay to south Fremont).

Corporate support is the number 1 argument for the South Bay and people who try to refute that by grouping companies in the Tri Valley (which is 20 plus miles away from both San Jose and Oakland) with companies in San Francisco to crate the impression that Oakland (with it's 1 Fortune 1000 company) have a huge corporate market are disingenuous or disrespectful of everyone else's intelligence. Or just blinded by civic pride, which is okay.

Seriously, I don't care if the stadium is in Oakland or San Jose, but be reasonable.

thisplanetsux said...

Well the Fortune 500 thing is silly anyways. Silicon Valley rode an IPO gravy train for awhile, so you have a ton of companies suddenly showing up on the lists of rich, publicly traded companies, then vanishing before long. Unemployment in SC County now is HIGHER than the rest of the Bay Area (11% San Jose, 10.2% Oakland, 8.5% San Francisco). The fact is there are twice as many people to the north of Fremont and Redwood City as to the South, and there is twice as much business and money. The north bay's economy is just much more diversified and includes lots of large, privately owned companies, like Bechtel or Kaiser-Permanente, that never show up on the Fortune 500. So, you get a layering of the B.S. -- You cherry pick data sources that best make your point, then fudge/exaggerate the numbers, and now you're heavily insulated from the fundamental weakness of your original argument.

thisplanetsux said...

"Nice cherry picking. The number I would use for companies is actually Fortune 1000"

Um, I did not even choose the data, so it's d-u-m-b to blame me for "cherry picking". Anon 3:31 picked some data to compare, then put up bogus counts of that data, I just pointed out his bogosity, and made some observations on it.

Ooh, so now SC is cooking with 30 vs. 27 if you stretch it out to Fortune 1000 companies! By the standards for truth and accuracy I've seen around here that will become "Twice as many Fortune 1000 companies" any minute now.

dbackman said...

Baseball is for fans, not for corporations. Yes, its a business, and the team has got to make money. But if YOU, as a fan, are making an argument based one which city has richer residents or more Fortune 500 companies, then you really need to get your priorities straight. Go watch a baseball game or something.

Jeffrey said...

I have been to 4 games already, will be to about 20 more before the season ends. Any person who can't understand why having corporate season ticket holders is good for everyday fans needs a math lesson. :) Besides, people in executive roles at corporations aren't allowed to be fans?

As far as the 30 to 27... that is a complete misrepresentation considering that some of those 27 are in places like Watsonville. Also, these numbers are from 2007 and I think that 2008 numbers were recently released and things have probably changed (like Long's Drugs in Walnut Creek no longer existing).

30 of the 57 are within 20 miles of the proposed San Jose stadium site... How close are Chevron and Safeway to Oakland and the Coliseum? Another hint, it ain't under 20 miles. There are two fortune 1000 companies between Oakland and Alameda... Clorox and UTStarcom.

As far as corporate dollars go, the South Bay is much better positioned than the East Bay. That doesn't mean that is the only gauge of how good a market is, but it is one of the three main ways teams makes money.

It also is important for funding of the stadium... considering that charter seats will have to be part of the equation if a stadium is privately financed. More disposable income and corporate revenue means a greater potential for charter seat sales.

thisplanetsux said...

"As far as the 30 to 27... that is a complete misrepresentation considering that some of those 27 are in places like Watsonville."

Well, Watsonville is not normally considered to be in the Bay Area, so if you counted it that way, it's your misrepresentation. Guess I should have checked your counts for you. Sorry, my bad. Go ahead and fix your count to further extend the F1000 lead for SC. Constantly adding 1 to a count that starts with Chevron at over 250 billion dollars and ends with companies earning under 2 billion is the height of lame cherry picking if you ask me. But go ahead, it's a strategy, I guess.

Since you're working so hard to objectively and fairly cast Oakland as an economic backwater with these Fortune 1000 numbers, give me your opinon on this: Here are the bottom 13 SV companies in the Fortune 1000:

Cypress Semiconductor 1.8B
Xilinx 1.8B
National Semiconductor 1.8B
Maxim Integrated Producst 2.0B
Varian Medical Systems 2.1B
Spansion 2.2B
Lam Research 2.4B
Kla-Tencor 2.5B
LSI 2.6B
Intuit 3.0B
NetApp 3.3B
Sandisk 3.3B
NVidia 3.4B

What consideration have you given to a company in downtown Oakland that had more revenues in 2008 than all 13 of those companies combined? A company that is not even in the Fortune 1000.

Jeffrey said...

Thisplanetsux... you sure do a lot of reacting and not much in the way of anything else.

So how is Kaiser doing right now supporting the A's? How much signage? How many luxury boxes?

Anonymous said...

Never mind how the A's are doing with premium seating; take a good look at the Raiders. They have LOTS of suites, more than all but about five teams in the NFL. They have plenty of club seats. They have all the perks and premium seating needed to be one of the top revenue generating teams in the league, if they could only sell it. Most teams build new stadia in order to obtain that kinds of revenue-generating stuff; the Raiders already have it. If and when they build a new stadium, it will only be to obtain better site lines and a more pleasant atmosphere, not the premium seating that motivates most teams.

Yet, they have struggled to sell suites and club seats - even more than general seating - the entire time they have been in Oakland. Their premium seating sells for far less than other NFL teams; club seats cost about half what the Cincinnati Bengals charge. Yet, you can go online to Ticketmaster most weeks and pick up club seats to that week's game.

Most telling of all, THE RAIDERS DO NOT HAVE MEANINGFUL COMPETITION FOR PREMIUM NFL SEATING IN THE BAY AREA. The Niners have zero club seats and few suites relative to other NFL teams. Candlestick Park is an abomination - one of the few that is significantly worse than the Coli. Yet the Raiders still struggle to sell premium seating, year after year. As a result, they rank near the bottom of the NFL in revenue, even in the recent years when they have managed to sell most of the general seating.

If the Raiders can't sell premium seats in Oakland with only eight regular season games to sell, no meaningful competition, and most games on weekends (making it the optimal time for those Silicon Valley companies Navigator keeps bleating have "easy access" to this wonderfully "centrally located" venue), that tells you all you need to know. What chance would the A's have to sell 81 games in direct competition with the fantastic premium seating of AT&T park?

Anonymous said...

Sux,

Having lots of big companies is far better than having one monolithic, ginormous company, even if its revenue were greater than the aggregate of the others. There's a limit to how many execs and high ranking clients any single company needs to entertain. Maybe your gino company buys two suites; if each of the smaller companies buys only one, that is still a far better location for the team.

And if you're making the argument for private companies (whose financials conveniently cannot be verified), I'll see your one Oakland company and raise you all the filthy rich venture capital firms on Sand Hill Road, right on the border with Santa Clara county.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:49, you just made it clear to answer your own question. The problem isn't with Oakland and the East Bay fans. It's with the venue...the Coliseum. I've been saying it for awhile now that the fans are there, they would just rather watch games from the comfort of their homes on HD because the Coliseum sucks, especially for the "casual" fans.

If they build a new stadium whether it's for the Raiders or the A's somewhere in Oakland, then you better believe they'll sell out their premium seats without a doubt. The location also makes a difference, but in the end it's the inside of the venues that count. That's why I think building a new ballpark for the A's in the Coliseum lot although isn't the most ideal location, once it's state of the art and family friendly for kids, then all that won't matter.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:10--season ticket holder here---if they build another ballpark in the parking lot of the existing Colisieum than I will cease to be a season ticket holder---location matters--and I am tired of a lousy stadium, poor location and horrible atmosphere--give me a park in a downtown urban environment--otherwise it will be time to focus my dollars on other entertainment options---so contrary to your sentiment---from my perspective, location and atmosphere matter alot---regardless of the product on the field--

thisplanetsux said...

"Sux,
Having lots of big companies is far better than having one monolithic, ginormous company
...
if each of the smaller companies buys only one, that is still a far better location for the team."

It's quite a speculative leap you take there, getting a box from every small company. You've got information that Xilinx and Spansion, et al are all on-board for suites at a new San Jose ballpark, and not on-board for a new Oakland ballpark?

But regardless, I'll play along as if you do.

First, off we're not talking about one big company in the downtown Oakland area. I previously posted a list of 8 from the Fortune 500, that are packed inside an 8-mile radius of a potential downtown Oakland ballpark. That list completely ignores ALL other companies in the East Bay or north peninsula that are not inside this tiny area, even though that excludes many of the Bay Area's largest companies for no great reason other than being 9-27 miles away. But, two additional, huge privately-held companies, Kaiser-Permanente (roughly equivalent to Intel in revenues), and Bechtel (roughly equivalent to Google in revenues) make at least 10 giant companies (minimum 5 billion in revenues), right there, EFFECTIVELY IN WALKING DISTANCE TO A DOWNTOWN OAKLAND BALLPARK.

This is how that works, for the SF/Oakland metro transit impaired:

You ride the elevator down from your office on the 43rd floor of, let's say, 101 California Street, and walk a block to the Embarcadero BART station. You pass through the gates and ride an escalator down to the trains, and after waiting typically 2 or 3 minutes, board a train that runs 80 MPH under the Bay and gets you to the West Oakland BART station in under 10 minutes. If the ballpark is near there, you saunter over. If the ballpark is at JLS, you spend a couple more minutes riding to the next stop, then you take a leisurely 10 to 20 minute stroll down Broadway, depending on the exact location of the new park.

That final walk is likely to be quite similar to the distance you'd walk from your starting point in downtown SF to get to AT&T Park. If you happen to ride BART to the East Bay anyway to get home, the 10 - 15 minutes on the train doesn't add anything to your journey, you're that much closer to home anyways.

Alternatively, you could just drive, or car pool, or take a 20 dollar cab ride, and be there in 15/20 minutes with minimal walking. Or you could ride AC Trasit from the Transbay Terminal at 1st and Mission and get there, with possible bus schedule waits in 20/25 minutes, minimal walking. Maybe some transit agency or entrepreneur or even the A's could run special direct shuttles for the 6 mile drive across the bay and from more distant parts of Oakland.

These are gigantic companies that fill up skyscrapers, and armies of their employees live in the East Bay. They just don't currently want to entangle themselves with the Coliseum because it's old, it's not at all trendy, it's farther away, it's in a crap neighborhood with no amenities or style, the current ownership is trying to leave, etc.

thisplanetsux said...

"Thisplanetsux... you sure do a lot of reacting and not much in the way of anything else."

Now here is a hilarious example of the pot calling the kettle black. If you're so anti-conversational that "reacting" bothers you, quit "reacting" to what I write.

"So how is Kaiser doing right now supporting the A's? How much signage? How many luxury boxes?"

Honestly? Who cares? Besides advertising during A's TV and Radio broadcasts and having ballpark signs, I wouldn't know. We're talking about the options for a NEW stadium.

You've made assertions about the "superior" South Bay economy, and it's likely support for a NEW San Jose ballpark. And you've done this in a way that conveniently pretends Kaiser-Permanente doesn't even exist. Now, you want to focus on their corporate support at the OLD ballpark in a crappy, industrial part of town, instead of their potential support for a NEW ballpark, possibly down the street from their corporate headquarters. I just have to shake my head in disbelief.

bartleby said...

Sux,

You've made a lot of effort to convince us that Oakland/SF combined doesn't have half the corporate base of Silicon Valley, it actually has 3/4 the corporate base. This is a silly argument, since at the end of the day it still basically concedes that Santa Clara County is the superior market. And it still makes no sense to argue for two teams in the lesser market and zero in the superior market. Still, I applaud your effort.

However, let's not lose sight of the fact that almost all the companies you are pointing to are in San Francisco, not Oakland. So, you've got me convinced: San Francisco has enough corporate base to support an MLB team. Oh, wait, they already have an MLB team.

The corporations in your target area who want to buy premium seating at an MLB park are likely already doing so. You haven't offered any persuasive reason why the Giants existing customers will abandon the Giants to go buy seats in a new yard in Oakland. The argument "with BART, downtown Oakland is just as convenient as AT&T park" is not good enough.

First, it's debatable whether it's true. Big companies entertaining important clients aren't loading them onto BART trains, they're loading them into cabs or limos. There's no way a ride over the Bay Bridge during rush hour takes less time than a ride to SOMA.

Second, even if it were true, it doesn't give anyone a reason to switch. "Just as good" isn't good enough.

A park in San Jose gives Silicon Valley companies currently supporting the Giants two good reasons to switch. First, dramatically improved proximity. Second, civic pride. Not to mention expanding the market for sales of premium seating to companies not currently buying because of convenience factors.

Conversely, a new park in Oakland offers San Francisco companies no reasons to switch. At best, using your optimistic assumptions, proximity is a push (and that's assuming companies want to load their important clients onto public transit). And the civic pride factor cuts the other way.

You state that many of the San Francisco companies employees live in the East Bay. Maybe so, but my bet is that most of the CEOs and senior executives making the actual decisions on multi-year, multimillion dollar commitments to corporate suites live in places like Pacific Heights, Hillsborough, and Marin County. These guys will make decisions based on their own convenience, not that of their employees.

More fundamentally, companies may distribute tickets to employees for recognition or other purposes, but a key reason any company buys these premium seats is to entertain clients. Those clients often come from out of town, and they want to see glamorous San Francisco. A company based in San Francisco, whose client is already physically in San Francisco and whose hotel is almost certainly in San Francisco, is not is going to say to that client, "Great news! We're taking you to a game in Oakland tonight. It's only a short BART ride away!"

Anonymous said...

Barltely,

I work for a pretty decent size company in downtown San Francisco near the Ferry Building in which the owner is an Oakland resident and loves the A's. My office has been in San Francisco for quite some time now, but I do know that there are still plenty of buisness' and corporations who would love to buy luxury suites in a new ballpark in Downtown Oakland.

I don't know where you're seeing fans arriving at games in limos etc, but I don't ever see that happening even at AT&T park. There are plenty of fans who make good money in SF and go home to the East Bay after work and I see plenty of them going to the Coliseum via BART for an A's game. Those number of fans would also drastically increase when Oakland decides to build a new ballpark downtown by the water. Corporate dollars can come from anywhere in the Bay Area including SF, SC and CC Counties. They might not being doing it now for the Coliseum for obvious reasons, but they will for a brand new ballpark downtown by JLS that will rival AT&T. It's all about the marketing and strategy plans being used by the A's organization. It's up to them to go out and try to bring them in and the A's haven't been doing that since the owner sucks and could care less about Oakland and it's corporate base.

thisplanetsux said...

"Sux,
You've made a lot of effort to convince us that Oakland/SF combined doesn't have half the corporate base of Silicon Valley, it actually has 3/4 the corporate base. This is a silly argument, since at the end of the day it still basically concedes that Santa Clara County is the superior market."

I've made almost no effort at all to compare a tiny 10 minute radius at the heart of the SF Bay Area to all of Santa Clara County. I'm not actually an Oakland-or-bust partisan. I live in San Mateo County and would love to see the park in San Jose, or anywhere else in the Bay Area as long as it's a good park in a nice area.

All I really wanted to do was reveal how completely shallow and partisan all these claims I kept reading that screamed about 10-1 superiority in businesses, way more than double the companies, Oakland has no economic base, blah blah blah really are.

Why is it that there are instantly a bunch personal insults and a stream of faked, exaggerated, and deceptive "facts" thrown at anyone expressing an awareness that Oakland is a busy, wealthy city with world class infrastructure and transportation in the center of one of the largest metro areas in the United States? If 2+ million fans will go to a crap place like Hegenberger Road to watch a game in a football mausoleum, only a useless lame brain should be working overtime to "prove" with bogus demographics that you can't get anyone to a shiny new park near Jack London Square.

bartleby said...

"I work for a pretty decent size company in downtown San Francisco near the Ferry Building in which the owner is an Oakland resident and loves the A's."

That's great, but one anecdotal case does not a market make.

"My office has been in San Francisco for quite some time now, but I do know that there are still plenty of buisness' and corporations who would love to buy luxury suites in a new ballpark in Downtown Oakland."

Exactly how do you know that? And whether it is true or not, logic, geography, demographics, competitive factors and simple math tell us there are many, many more companies that would buy suites in downtown SJ.

"I don't know where you're seeing fans arriving at games in limos etc, but I don't ever see that happening even at AT&T park."

By limo I don't mean "ostentatious stretch limo," I mean any private car service or cab. Plenty of people arrive to AT&T park this way, especially from the corporate clientele.

"There are plenty of fans who make good money in SF and go home to the East Bay after work and I see plenty of them going to the Coliseum via BART for an A's game."

My post wasn't about individual buyers (although I would point out that there are many more people who make good money in Silicon Valley than in San Francisco, both from Silicon Valley itself and from the East Bay). Most of the buyers of full-season suites and club seats are not individual buyers, they are companies. There are few big companies in Oakland proper and little reason for the ones in San Francisco to choose Oakland over SF.

"Those number of fans would also drastically increase when Oakland decides to build a new ballpark downtown by the water."

Any new park built anywhere will tend to increase attendance, but there is little reason to think it will increase enough in Oakland or support enough premium seat sales to justify the debt service on a privately-funded park. Making the numbers pencil-out on a privately-financed park is difficult in any market, but murderous in a two-team market like the Bay Area. Optimal location is key. If the owners of the Pittsburgh Pirates had relied on this "build it and they will come" theory to justify private financing, they would be bankrupt right now.

"Corporate dollars can come from anywhere in the Bay Area including SF, SC and CC Counties."

In theory they can, but in reality they mostly don't. About half of all MLB games are played on weeknights. There is a natural limit to how often anyone based in the South Bay is going to make this trip on a weeknight; you need to allow 2 hours for the trip up. Geography and distance are critically important factors. A new yard doesn't magically make a trip to Oakland on a weeknight an attractive proposition.

Anyway, it still doesn't make it make sense to have two teams fighting it out for corporate dollars in basically the same location, while ignoring the much larger corporate base in the South Bay.

"They might not being doing it now for the Coliseum for obvious reasons, but they will for a brand new ballpark downtown by JLS that will rival AT&T. It's all about the marketing and strategy plans being used by the A's organization."

That's a great leap of faith for you to take with someone else's money. It didn't happen in Pittsburgh. It hasn't happened for the Raiders, despite an almost complete absence of competition for premium seating dollars from the Niners. And if you're wrong, oh well, the ballpark is already built, right? What do you care if Wolff and Fisher lose their shirts?

Jeffrey said...

sux,

You have come across on this particular topic as a flag bearer of the Oakland only crowd. I agree this whole "black and white" argument is pretty lame.

As a resident of Alameda County, it would probably be most convenient for me as a fan to watch games in Oakland. As a fan of the A's I don't really care if it (a new stadium) is in Oakland or San Jose as long as there is an "it."

If you break down MLB revenue streams, the local market creates three of them. Media revenue, Stadium revenue and Corporate revenue.

Oakland and San Jose are nearly identical from a potential market perspective on two of the three. Stadium revenue (Oakland is more dense and closer to more people/ San Jose is closer to more people with a lot of money) and Media revenue (the two cities share a media market so the potential is the same).

Corporate revenue is one where they are not nearly identical. It makes you seem rather "partisan" to state that they are somehow equivalent because San Francisco and Marin County have businesses that might choose to support a team in Oakland (that they could support now but don't).

It seems more reasonable to me, to say that "proximity matters." And if you have two MLB teams it would be better to separate them by 45 miles in the heart of two separate corporate bases (San Francisco and Silicon Valley). In my opinion (which isn't really worth much) with the Corporate revenue being the only real difference between the two markets, it would make sense to use that as the determining factor of where to push for a new stadium.

But I will go to the same amount of games whether it is in Oakland or San Jose.

thisplanetsux said...

"Corporate revenue is one where they are not nearly identical. It makes you seem rather "partisan" to state that they are somehow equivalent
...
It seems more reasonable to me, to say that "proximity matters." And if you have two MLB teams it would be better to separate them by 45 miles in the heart of two separate corporate bases"

Jeffrey, proximity does matter, but I don't think you are applying the concept wisely. Of course I sound "partisan" to you because I reject the fallacious claims you and others keep making about the Bay Area's economy.

You seem to believe that by drawing a line East-West through the Bay Area at about a foot north of Oracle's Redwood Shores campus, You've now got two neat and tidy and equal territories, one to the north for the Giants and one to the south for the A's. Well, as I've stated several times in this conversation, the portion to the north of that line has more than twice as many people as the part to the south, and it has more than twice the economy (gross product), and it has more than twice the personal income, and it has significantly better regional transit systems to exploit all that. So now the A's have geographically painted themselves into a corner, and handed over more than 2/3 of the Bay Area's population and wealth to the Giants. They're abandoning their superior central location, not to mention the infrastructure and transportation superiority that has built up in the central Bay Area over the past century.

This Fortune 1000 gimmick is a farce. You're relying on a product of Wall Street hucksterism, that exists for brokers, analysts and clowns on CNBC to hype publicly traded securities. Maybe this is an area and investment style Wolff is comfortable with, but it's not a valid tool to identify and understand the real economy of a region.

In my opinion (yup, worth about a negative dime, I know) the correct strategy to pursue is to share the region physically with the Giants, just like the two teams do on the airwaves, maintain a central position, build an equal or better facility there, and market the team throughout the entire Bay Area, competing for fans on the basis of quality baseball, a family friendly facility, and greatest access for the largest possible number of people in the region. The arrival of BART to San Jose would do more for a team in Oakland than San Jose. A BART trip up from San Jose to Oakland will be much more reasonable than a BART trip down from Concord to San Jose, but by that time, you'd mostly have Giants fans in Concord anyway.

Anonymous said...

An interesting point you make TPS. I think the arguments are valid and you definitely have a case. The fact is that anyway you look at it, and the more people want to talk about it both cities have their positives and both cities have their negatives as well. I don't blame San Jose for wanting the A's and being an Oakland resident you can't blaming me for wanting to keep them either.

Jeffrey said...

So, to beat a dead horse... sux is right. Fortune 1000 (though a metric use day MLB in the search for an Expos new home) is an imperfect measure. Like I have written on here a bozillion times... Oakland and San Jose are equally appealing to me.

There are four things to consider- 1. Stadium revenue (by this I mean how much money can the A's get from regular joe's and jane's like us at the stadium), 2. Media revenue (this is not really much different Oakland v. San Jose), 3. Corporate revenue (which we can agree to disagree on, I think objective data clearly shows Silicon Valley is superior to the East Bay, but it is an art form not a science as you point out with the drawing a line creating neatly fictional markets).

The fourth most important hing here is funding... it will be interesting to see any sort of funding plans between Oakland and San Jose.

Anonymous said...

"You seem to believe that by drawing a line East-West through the Bay Area at about a foot north of Oracle's Redwood Shores campus, You've now got two neat and tidy and equal territories, one to the north for the Giants and one to the south for the A's."

Jeffrey's line was admittedly somewhat arbitrary. It could just as easily have been drawn across the San Mateo bridge, or somewhere like that.

But as ML has posted previously, studies indicate the key radius for a ballpark is about 21 miles. That "ground zero" area is most important when comparing the theoretical two markets.

"Well, as I've stated several times in this conversation, the portion to the north of that line has more than twice as many people as the part to the south,"

As noted above, the line is arbitrary. There are plenty of people in San Mateo and Alameda counties who will be as close, or closer, to a San Jose yard as an Oakland yard. But again: 21 miles.

"and it has more than twice the economy (gross product),"

Boy, even though you didn't make up Jeffrey's line, you're sure not above exploiting it for misleading reductio ad absurbum arguments to advance your point, huh? Even based on this arbitrary line, your assertion seems highly unlikely. Cite your source, Mr. Fact Check.

"and it has more than twice the personal income,"

Again, I call shenanigans. Cite your source.

"and it has significantly better regional transit systems to exploit all that."

Debatable. Caltrain and light rail give the South Bay comparable access to a San Jose yard as BART provides the East Bay to an Oakland yard. And the A's aren't getting much of the San Francisco market regardless.

"So now the A's have geographically painted themselves into a corner, and handed over more than 2/3 of the Bay Area's population and wealth to the Giants. They're abandoning their superior central location, not to mention the infrastructure and transportation superiority that has built up in the central Bay Area over the past century."

This is absurd. Look, there's a reason why the Giants would LOVE to see the A's in a downtown Oakland yard, but howl like stuck pigs over the prospect of an Oakland yard. They know the A's in Oakland pose little threat to the Giants San Francisco base, and if distance is a push, pose little threat to the Giants South Bay fan base either.

The Giants know the MLB potential of the San Francisco market better than anyone, including, you may be surprised to believe, you. All your pollyannaish predictions about San Francisco corporations lining up to buy suites in Oakland notwithstanding, the fact the Giants are not scared of a downtown Oakland yard right in their back yard but are terrified of a downtown San Jose yard 50 miles away should tell you something.

"In my opinion (yup, worth about a negative dime, I know)"

That seems a fair valuation.

"the correct strategy to pursue is to share the region physically with the Giants,"

They would do this anywhere they located in the Bay Area

"just like the two teams do on the airwaves, maintain a central position, build an equal or better facility there, and market the team throughout the entire Bay Area, competing for fans on the basis of quality baseball, a family friendly facility, and greatest access for the largest possible number of people in the region."

The greatest access for the largest possible number of people in the region means putting the greatest possible number of them within around twenty miles of a ballpark. Your argument that it is better to give folks in Richmond and Martinez easy access to two ballparks and folks in Palo Alto and Cupertino zero defies logic.

Others have pointed this out before, but it bears repeating: You currently need to allow two hours to get to the Coli from the South Bay on a weeknight or you risk missing first pitch. About half of MLB games are played on weeknights. It makes no sense to all but rule out 2.5 million of the regions most affluent citizens from attending weeknight games.

"The arrival of BART to San Jose would do more for a team in Oakland than San Jose. A BART trip up from San Jose to Oakland will be much more reasonable than a BART trip down from Concord to San Jose, but by that time, you'd mostly have Giants fans in Concord anyway."

I question your premise, but in any event, who cares? Concord fans would still have convenient access to a baseball team. The point is expanding the market for MLB overall and giving convenient access to at least one team for the most people.

thisplanetsux said...

"Again, I call shenanigans. Cite your source."

anon 12:23, I'm surprised you're asking. Haven't you done ANY research yet? Oh well, with regard to gross product, the Bureau of Economic Affairs breaks out the US GDP by region. They have a nifty web form at their site (www.bea.gov) to extract this data. Their latest figures are for 2006, and they show the SF/Oakland region at 292B, with the San Jose region at 135B.

Now, there is the problem in that the southern tips of San Mateo and Alameda counties are unfairly grouped only into the SF/Oakland figures. I'm too lazy to try and figure out how to calc that precisely, but I ballparked it by assuming that problem was washed out by the absence of Napa, Sonoma, and Solano counties (and the entire wine country economy, plus the hectic Bay Area -> Sacto corridor), which are in the North Bay Area, but are _not_ included in the BEA's SF/Oakland region. And I feel perfectly justified, even if that were to slightly overstate the true difference in gross product (which would surprise me), because A) Oracle is closer to AT&T Park than to Diridon and B) Fremont has the same county government as Oakland and has been served by BART since 1973. Hardly worth quibbling over this borderline area.

The personal income is easy. The Census Bureau per capita income and population figures are multiplied to produce the total income for a county. I used the latest 2005-2007 3 year average estimate they have on their web site:

Marin: 12.8B
Napa: 4.3B
Sonoma: 6.1B
Solano: 11B
San Francisco: 32.6B
Contra Costa: 36.9B
Alameda: 47.1B
San Mateo: 29.3B
------------------------
sub 180.1B

Santa Clara: 66.3B

Again, similar issue with the southern tips of San Mateo and Alameda counties, but easier to fix. I guesstimate the population of those areas at around 350,000, and giving them the per capita income of SC county where we want to include them... you need to shift 13.4B... and you end up with:

North: 166.7B
South: 79.7B

thisplanetsux said...

"The Giants know the MLB potential of the San Francisco market better than anyone, including, you may be surprised to believe, you. All your pollyannaish predictions about San Francisco corporations lining up to buy suites in Oakland notwithstanding, the fact the Giants are not scared of a downtown Oakland yard right in their back yard but are terrified of a downtown San Jose yard 50 miles away should tell you something."

Well, the fact is, the Giants and I agree the A's should stay in the East Bay, and not move to San Jose. So, it's you that's open to the critique of not knowing as much as them. You want everyone to believe the Giants don't "fear the A's" in the East Bay, but ignore the possibility that, as an MLB franchise in a revenue-sharing system, they could simply disagree with A's ownership on how best the two teams can exploit the region for mutual benefit. The Giants have been doing pretty well for themselves lately (and consequently doing well for the A's and the other 28 teams), while the current A's ownership seems befuddled by just about every aspect of ownership (except perhaps squeezing down expenses to pull a tidy profit out of the system).

Jeffrey said...

So Sux,

I was starting to sort of respect a lot fo your opinions, but this one about the Giants ownership is completely off base. The Giants ownership specifically wants the A's out of San Jose because they fear losing the lucrative market. That can't be any clearer.

thisplanetsux said...

"I was starting to sort of respect a lot fo your opinions, but this one about the Giants ownership is completely off base. The Giants ownership specifically wants the A's out of San Jose because they fear losing the lucrative market. That can't be any clearer."

I don't want your respect, I'd prefer coherency from you. It does not actually matter what the Giants' true motivation is (as if you really knew). One team is a net payer into revenue-sharing, the other is a net receiver. It only stands to reason that the net payer is both well-aware of how to generate revenues, and highly motivated to see the other team start carrying it's own weight.

Yes or no?

Marine Layer said...

TPS, I'd agree with you if the playing field were even for both teams. It clearly isn't. The Giants have territorial and radio hegemony. Only recently were the A's able to grab a more lucrative piece of the TV pie (they were contractually stuck until this season).

We should keep any appraisal of management effectiveness in perspective. It took over 4 years for Magowan to get the China Basin deal done and for groundbreaking to begin. Wolff has just completed his 4th year and is trying to get something done in a less hospitable economic climate, with T-rights tying one hand behind his back.

Here's the paradox. If properly leveraging the East Bay requires poaching San Francisco businesses and residents as customers, how is that different from doing the same with San Jose? And what does that say about the East Bay?

thisplanetsux said...

"If properly leveraging the East Bay requires poaching San Francisco businesses and residents as customers, how is that different from doing the same with San Jose? And what does that say about the East Bay?"

ML, I'm not sure what you're asking by this. If you're wondering why the San Jose A's can't "poach" fans from SF as well as a downtown Oakland A's could, then I'd just point you to my "EFFECTIVELY IN WALKING DISTANCE POST" which explains how drawing from SF is a bit more realistic in Oakland than SJ.

Otherwise, I can only respond by saying all teams "poach" the surrounding region to the fullest extent possible. I think doing a better job of drawing from further away can mean a lot of different things, like how well the team is playing, how well the Marketing Dept. is doing, how new or cool the ballpark is, how easy is the access for distant fans, etc.

Here is the information from the A's and Giants web pages (both sets of data compiled by the same company) showing the county of residence for fans attending the two teams' home games:

Giants fans are from:
---------------------------
Santa Clara - 20.4%
San Francisco - 17.2%
Alameda - 16.4%
San Mateo - 15.8%
Contra Costa - 12.6%
Sonoma - 6.7%
Marin - 5.9%
Solano - 2.3%
Napa - 1.8%

Giants data is from 2007, attendance is down a good deal since. I wonder where the biggest drop comes from?

A's fans are from:
---------------------------
Alameda - 31%
Contra Costa - 20%
Santa Clara - 18%
San Francisco - 8%
San Mateo - 7% (thats' me!)
Solano - 6%
Sonoma - 5%
Marin - 2%

A's data is from 2008.

Maybe looking at that can help you re-phrase your question in some way easier for me to understand?

Marine Layer said...

I'm looking at this from the perspective of those who wish to uphold the current territorial rights situation, namely the Giants and some Oakland partisans - strange bedfellows that they are.

On one hand, the Giants are fiercely protective of their assigned territories, especially Santa Clara County. However, they don't mind poaching the East Bay for fans and corporate support, and they don't outwardly show displeasure with the A's for reaching across the bay in kind. If this kind of relationship has been in existence for the last 41 years, what is the point of being so protective?

On the other hand, Oakland partisans claim that somewhere in Oakland is absolutely best from a regional standpoint to get fans, but will also tout the strength of the East Bay economically, as if it can stand on its own. So which is it? Is SF necessary or not?

The numbers thrown around within this thread by all commenters are meant to pretty up their arguments, so I'm not going to get into those. I believe that the East Bay and South Bay are nearly fungible when you add everything up. Frankly, delving too much into numbers obscures a simple fact that your statistics clearly shows: both teams have regionally diverse fanbases. I doubt that moving the A's south will make their fanbase significantly less diverse. We live in the Bay Area. Most of us drive everywhere. We will continue to go to games whenever and however we can. So why have artificial restrictions? Why not allow the A's to see if they can make hay?

I'll have to disagree with you about your observations about the "net payer" and "net receiver." Both are acutely aware of why they are performing the way they are. Some of it is their doing. Some of it is circumstance. For instance, the A's have almost no ability to rope companies into 10-year suite leases or sponsorships. Much of what they do is year-to-year. They have a terrible negotiating position which will only be solved by a new ballpark. Not even a World Series win can significantly change that (see: Florida Marlins). What then, are the A's doing wrong in that regard?

thisplanetsux said...

"I'm looking at this from the perspective of those who wish to uphold the current territorial rights situation, namely the Giants and some Oakland partisans - strange bedfellows that they are."

I'm not on-board with the territorial rights issue, I'm just looking for the best possible ballpark/location. As far as the Giants strange position, I can only speculate that maybe they are using the TR issue to allow them to assert a point of view that would be difficult/impossible to express otherwise. Are there not rules against management of one team from publicly criticizing another team's business decisions?

I mean, you point out how odd/illogical their public position is. Usually, when otherwise intelligent people say things that don't add up, it's because they have alterior motives (a point of view or strategy you're not privy to).

"What then, are the A's doing wrong in that regard?"

Nothing! Mapquest tells me they're leaning in the right direction:

Driving directions to Diridon Station
39.9 mi - about 46 mins

Driving directions to Jack London Square
41.4 mi - about 48 mins

Marine Layer said...

I sure hope that the Gigantes aren't merely trying to express a point-of-view in their defense of T-rights. MLB as a whole has millions of $ at stake in the Bay Area, PoV doesn't exactly translate into increased $.

Teams can criticize each other though you don't here it that often. Schott was quite vocal about his disdain for T-rights back in 2002. He wasn't forced out, I don't even recall any kind of reprimand. There are rules regarding teams' ability to take action against one another. Dialogue can occur during any of the owners meetings of conference calls that occur throughout the year.

I appreciate what you're saying, TPS. I just don't think location, from a city-to-city level, is that high on the priority list. Especially if there are so many other factors that play an equal or greater role in whether or not something gets built.

As far as ulterior motives go, conspiracy theory is not a one way street. Guy Saperstein certainly believes in such things.

thisplanetsux said...

"I sure hope that the Gigantes aren't merely trying to express a point-of-view in their defense of T-rights. MLB as a whole has millions of $ at stake in the Bay Area, PoV doesn't exactly translate into increased $."

When I mention a Giants "point of view" I'm referring to a potential difference of opionion with A's ownership over how to exploit the Bay Area market.

I'm suggesting TR might be a more politically correct or tactful way to indirectly argue with the A's. After all, whether it's Schott criticizing the TR, or Neukom defending it, neither is attacking the other team directly, but focusing the conversation on an MLB ruling.

This is all speculation, I'm only suggesting an open-minded approach to analyzing the different positions the teams are taking here. It just seems odd to me the knee jerk assumption from some people, attributing negative IQ to Giants management on the topic of what's best for MLB, while giving every benefit of the doubt to A's managment on that score.

Anonymous said...

"It just seems odd to me the knee jerk assumption from some people, attributing negative IQ to Giants management on the topic of what's best for MLB, while giving every benefit of the doubt to A's managment on that score."

No one is attributing negative IQ to either team on what's best for MLB, or for themselves. The issue is that what's best for MLB may not be what's best for the Giants. If there's a conflict between the two, the Giants are going to look out for themselves.

An A's ballpark in San Jose would clearly expand the overall market for MLB in the Bay Area beyond what could be achieved with two parks bunched up right next to each other. A much higher number of people would have easy access to at least one ballpark. However, the Giants believe they will suffer a net loss in corporate support if that happens, so they oppose it. It's not rocket science.

Both teams realize that the East Bay has minimal corporate base compared with either San Francisco or Silicon Valley. In terms of overall attendance, the Giants might actually benefit from an A's move to San Jose, or at least break even. There are a lot of fans in the East Bay for whom AT&T Park would become the most convenient option. However, the East Bay does not have enough corporate base to make up for what the Giant believe they'd lose from the South Bay.

Thus, the anomaly of the Giants preferring a competitor 10 miles away than 50 miles away. They know the A's will not be able to make significant inroads into the San Francisco corporate base, even with the benefit of proximity. And they know that as long as it is equally inconvenient to get to either an Oakland park or AT&T Park from the South Bay, the A's will not be able to make inroads there, either. The Giants have the advantage of historic support and the more glamorous location. If the A's don't build closer, they're not giving anyone in the South Bay incentive to change their current patterns of support.

thisplanetsux said...

anon 5:19, Where will all the destitute East Bay fans sit at AT&T Park? Maybe the Giants could build an extension in right field, a la Mt. Davis? No more splash hits, but at least there's room for the poor ragamuffins coming over from Berkeley and Walnut Creek!You're shrinking down to 1 ballpark in an area that's been drawing well over 5 million to two parks the past decade. You just disabled close to 1/3 of the region's market potential by relocating off to the fringe, beyond rapid transit.

Anonymous said...

"anon 5:19, Where will all the destitute East Bay fans sit at AT&T Park? Maybe the Giants could build an extension in right field, a la Mt. Davis? No more splash hits, but at least there's room for the poor ragamuffins coming over from Berkeley and Walnut Creek!You're shrinking down to 1 ballpark in an area that's been drawing well over 5 million to two parks the past decade."

Oh, please. The sarcasm I can appreciate. The disingenousness, not so much.

AT&T Park can accommodate 3 1/2 million fans. When the park was new and Bonds was chasing Aaron, seating was at a premium. Now, not so much.

The Giants are not likely to sell out a whole season, for various reasons. One, the novelty and Bonds are gone. Two, if a park is built in San Jose, it will have the novelty/glamour factor for a period of time. Three, the 5 million in combined attendance you're talking about already included substantial numbers of South Bay fans in both parks, substantial numbers of East Bay fans in AT&T, and at least some San Francisco fans in Oakland. Those fans will continue to be accommodated. Four, you ignore the millions of seats that sat unsold in Oakland. Finally, you choose to ignore the fact that many East Bay fans will continue to go to games in San Jose. The ones in North Contra Costa will go to fewer games, sure. But there are lots of fans in the East Bay for whom San Jose and Oakland are a push.

But if, theoretically, the Giants were able to sell out the whole season: That's a good thing; that's the goal. It's the Red Sox model. Its not that fans can't get to games; it's that they can't get tickets to that Saturday night Dodger game and so buy tickets to the Wednesday night Pirates game instead.

There's a reason Wolff is only trying to build a 32,000 seat ballpark. He's figured out that the upper deck is one of the most expensive parts of a ballpark to build, but generates a lot less revenue than other parts. The seats up there command the lowest prices, and are the most likely to sit empty. On the other hand, you build a small park and your season ticket base goes up. And a lot of demand for the glamour games spills over to the non-glamour games.

"You just disabled close to 1/3 of the region's market potential by relocating off to the fringe, beyond rapid transit."

Blah, blah, blah. Bullshit. South Bay has rapid transit, and is getting lots more. And as ML has posted repeatedly, only about 15% of A's fans currently ride BART to the games. To try to make it out like 1/3 of the market just got blocked from baseball is just an outright lie. They'll continue to have great access to AT&T. And many of them will have similar or better access to San Jose that they now have to Oakland.

Some, yes, will find it less convenient to get to A's games. But that is the situation 2.5 million people in the South Bay have endured for years. They'll probably continue to go to weekend games and skip the weeknight games, like most of us down here do. I think they'll live.

thisplanetsux said...

"To try to make it out like 1/3 of the market just got blocked from baseball is just an outright lie."

Wiping off the slobber, let's once again re-orient ourselves to reality.

I never said fans were blocked from baseball. The implication is that a move to the southern end of the Bay Area totally screws over your ability to serve/exploit the opposite end of the region. This should be axiomatic to anyone with a sliver of objectivity.

[You can stop reading at this point, because I'm just going to discuss some demographic facts you refuse to accept, and I wouldn't want your head to explode]

The following counties line the northern Bay Area and have decent access to either Oakland or SF, but not good access to San Jose: Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa. There are about 2.3 million affluent people living in those areas. That's just about 1/3 of the population of the Bay Area, and according to the two teams, very nearly 1/3 of the current ballpark population. This is indicative of how well-located the two parks are. They draw a well-balanced fanbase from all directions.

But, reducing coverage to one ballpark north of San Jose, where the Bay Area's urban core populuation of 2.9 million people are packed in and competing for seats with the 2.3 million from the north, you've left yourself with a really large piece of market dangling, and no good way to exploit it.

Let's review: the SF Bay Area is somewhat stratified north to south, like a tall, slender, upside down food group pyramid (I live in meats and proteins), with 2.3 million people in the 5 northern most counties, 2.9 million people in the 3 central counties, and 1.7 million people in the southern most county. It makes little sense to locate a ballpark in that southern most county if your objective is to best serve/exploit the region's entire population. Your argument I think is best summed up as, "38 miles to JLS and 40 miles to AT&T is unacceptable you moron!"

Anonymous said...

"I never said fans were blocked from baseball. The implication is that a move to the southern end of the Bay Area totally screws over your ability to serve/exploit the opposite end of the region. This should be axiomatic to anyone with a sliver of objectivity."

That's crap. Anyone with a sliver of objectivity will notice that almost all of that corner of the Bay Area you are claiming will be bereft will remain within about a thirty mile radius of AT&T Park (we in the South Bay should be so lucky). And with BART, a quick and easy ride to the ballpark even during rush hour.

Anyone with a sliver of objectivity will also notice that putting a park in San Jose and a Park in San Francisco maximizes the number of people within a twenty-one mile radius of a ballpark, which ML has posted is the key radius for ballpark patronage. (Not surprising, considering the number of weeknight games).

And anyone with a sliver of objectivity will notice that your preferred configuration does exactly what you're complaining about - leaves about 2.3 million people with poor access to a ballpark (Santa Clara County, south Fremont, south San Mateo County, and Santa Cruz County). It just doesn't happen to be your favored corner.

"The following counties line the northern Bay Area and have decent access to either Oakland or SF, but not good access to San Jose: Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa. There are about 2.3 million affluent people living in those areas. That's just about 1/3 of the population of the Bay Area, and according to the two teams, very nearly 1/3 of the current ballpark population."

As noted above, 2.3 million is comparable to the population of the South Bay as designated by you in your previous posts (Santa Clara county, south San Mateo county, south Fremont, ans Santa Cruz county).

"This is indicative of how well-located the two parks are. They draw a well-balanced fanbase from all directions."

They aren't well located, as evidenced by the fact that the Coliseum has had disappointing attendance through it's entire existence. In one of your previous posts, you actually attributed Coli attendance to "poor location." Make up your mind.

And if the A's move to downtown Oakland, the problem gets worse. Now you've got two ballparks practically right next to each other serving basically the same geographic region. And you have about 2.3 million affluent fans in the South Bay who are going to skip going to the game because you have to allow upwards of two hours to get there.

"But, reducing coverage to one ballpark north of San Jose, where the Bay Area's urban core populuation of 2.9 million people are packed in and competing for seats with the 2.3 million from the north, you've left yourself with a really large piece of market dangling, and no good way to exploit it."

Again, bullshit. Even using your self-serving apportionment of Bay Area population (which ignores the fact that for places like Livermore, Pleasanton, and Dublin, Oakland vs. San Jose is basically a push), plenty of metro areas of 4 million and up survive with only one MLB team. Dallas, Philly, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, Detroit, Phoenix and Boston, to name a few. With the exception of the tiny park in Boston, none of those areas suffer from capacity shortage.

"Let's review: the SF Bay Area is somewhat stratified north to south, like a tall, slender, upside down food group pyramid (I live in meats and proteins), with 2.3 million people in the 5 northern most counties, 2.9 million people in the 3 central counties, and 1.7 million people in the southern most county."

I love how when you're arguing for Oakland, you consistently lump several counties together, and when you're talking about the South Bay, it's only one county. As if Santa Clara county were not next to Alameda, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz counties, and comparably convenient to parts of Contra Costa county as Oakland.

"It makes little sense to locate a ballpark in that southern most county if your objective is to best serve/exploit the region's entire population."

The Bay Area is basically like a triangle with a major city at each point. If you drew a circle of around thirty miles radius around the tip of each point, you would have more than two million people in that radius. (Of course, the top two points are awfully close together, so their radius winds up being almost the same). It bears pointing out, of those three points, one has virtually no corporate base and a lousy history of supporting baseball.

In both of our configurations, two of the three cities get a team and the third does not. Your argument is, it's better to locate the second team in the corner where there is no corporate base, poor attendance history, and which is already saturated with professional sports (even though most of the people in the immediate radius will be double-served by two MLB teams) and force the residents of the third city to fight their way through hours of rush hour traffic if they want to go to a weeknight game. My argument is, it's better to put the second team in the corner which has the biggest corporate base, the most affluent population, which is currently starved for professional sports, and which has a history of supporting even niche sports like the NHL and Arena Football. The people in the East Bay still remain well served by baseball; those in the north go to San Francisco, those in the south to San Jose.

Your configuration does not "best serve/exploit the region's entire population." It gives the residents of your northern counties two reasonable options to get to a game and those in the South Bay zero. What have the citizens of Vallejo done to deserve such favor?

"Your argument I think is best summed up as, "38 miles to JLS and 40 miles to AT&T is unacceptable you moron!"

You can put it that way, but the reality is if I don't leave my office in Palo Alto by 5pm sharp on a weeknight I risk missing first pitch for a 7pm game in Oakland. Sure, you can get lucky on the traffic and do better than this, but you can't count on it. I've done this many, many times, and I've missed a lot of first pitches, so I know what I'm talking about. And in places like Los Gatos, Saratoga, and South San Jose, the situation is far worse.

I'm more motivated than most, so I do it anyway. But most people down here simply write off any question of going to a weeknight game. Certainly if they have kids.

The reality is, the South Bay is currently an underexploited market for Major League Baseball. There's a reason why everyone who actually knows the business and has a financial stake (e.g. Giants and A's past and present ownership) favors the South Bay, and only Red Bull fueled bloggers with sentimental attachments are arguing it makes any kind of economic sense to locate a second team in Oakland.

thisplanetsux said...

"What have the citizens of Vallejo done to deserve such favor?"

Why pick on Vallejo? They've been coming further than you the past 40+ years:

Driving directions to McAfee Coliseum
34.4 mi – about 39 mins (up to 50 mins in traffic)
[from]
Vallejo Ferry
1440 Marin St
Vallejo, CA 94590
I saw you previously whining about preferential treatment for Martinez too:
Driving directions to McAfee Coliseum
34.5 mi – about 37 mins (up to 50 mins in traffic)
[from]
John Muir Natl Historic Site
4202 Alhambra Ave
Martinez, CA 94553
And here we have your hellish drive in to the game:
Driving directions to McAfee Coliseum
30.4 mi – about 36 mins (up to 50 mins in traffic)
[from]
Hewlett-Packard Co
3000 Hanover St
Palo Alto, CA 94304
MY DRIVE is further than any of the above. And it's not all that different than yours, though it never takes more than about an hour and 10 minutes. Traffic must be messed up where you at dude.

Still, though, I don't think you're quite grasping what I mean by the Bay Area's triangle shape.

this is the upper left cornerthis is the upper right cornerthis is the botton corner.

And the drive in to the A's new San Jose ballpark from the 5th largest city in the SF Bay Area:
Driving directions to Diridon Station
100 mi – about 1 hour 44 mins (up to 2 hours 20 mins in traffic)
[from]
Luther Burbank Home & Gardens
204 Santa Rosa Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
And just for the heck of it, here are some comparisons of your "push" communities via public transit to downtown Oakland vs. Diridon Station (this will improve someday? maybe this info isn't right, i dunno, i just aksed the cunputer):

Google Maps, Get Directions: by public transit (time of fastest route shown)

Fremont BART to
-Lake Merritt BART: 33 min
-Diridon Station: 52 min

Pleasonton BART to
-Lake Merritt BART: 38 min
-Diridon Station: 1 hr 55 min

Anonymous said...

"Why pick on Vallejo? They've been coming further than you the past 40+ years"

Dude, there's distance, and then there's drive time. I'll admit, I've never done the drive from Vallejo during rush hour. However, they have the counter commute. They also have Richmond BART as an option.

However, I've done the drive from Palo Alto many, many times. I know in your fantasy land we have no more corporations than downtown Oakland, but if you ever actually come down here you'll discover the whole Page Mill Road area is just jammed with giant corporate campuses. At 5pm, just fighting your way up Oregon Expressway tp 101 can take twenty minutes. Then, the 101 is frequently a mess. To get to the Dumbarton, you must fight congested surface streets and lights through East Palo Alto. It often takes about an hour just to get to Fremont.

Then, if you're taking BART, you've got an additional 15 minutes to get from 880 to the BART station, however long you wait for the train, a twenty minute train ride, then the walk over the bridge.

Or, if you're driving all the way, you can fight your way up 880 and hope Hegenberger exit isn't too congested. If the game is sold out and/or there is something at the Arena, I've had it take 45 minutes just to get from 880 to parked. (I usually take BART because, although it often is slower, at least it's predictable, and less stressful).

Bottom line: If you're taking BART, anything less than 90 minutes is flatly impossible, and 105 minutes is typical. If you drive, and everything goes perfectly, you can potentially get there in 75 to 90 minutes, but it's a gamble, and the downside is much worse than that.

Anyway, you still haven't answered the fundamental question why Vallejo deserves two convenient ballpark options and San Jose zero.

"MY DRIVE is further than any of the above. And it's not all that different than yours, though it never takes more than about an hour and 10 minutes. Traffic must be messed up where you at dude."

Yah, I had a buddy who lived in San Mateo, I've driven from there many times, and it's not too bad. Access to the bridge is much better than Dumbarton, and once you're on it usually flows. If I lived there, I might be talking through my ass about things I don't know about, too.

"Still, though, I don't think you're quite grasping what I mean by the Bay Area's triangle shape."

No, I grasp. But Santa Rosa, Vacaville, and Gilroy are fringe areas that are not going to make or break anyone's attendance. Santa Rosa is closest to SF, Vacaville to Oakland, and Gilroy to SJ. So what's your point?

"And the drive in to the A's new San Jose ballpark from the 5th largest city in the SF Bay Area: [100 miles]"

Oh, please. No one is claiming a San Jose yard is going to draw from Santa Rosa. But "5th largest Bay Area city" blather aside, Santa Rosa is only slightly larger than Sunnyvale. They'll still be only 49 miles from AT&T park (which is still significantly closer than the theoretical downtown Oakland park which they'll continue to ignore).

No matter where you build a new park, you're not getting big numbers from Santa Rosa. If that's your best argument, you're grasping at straws.

"And just for the heck of it, here are some comparisons of your "push" communities via public transit to downtown Oakland vs. Diridon Station"

First of all, it is reasonable to expect that if a Diridon park is built they will run express buses from Fremont station, making the statistics you cite moot. Second of all, eventually BART will go to San Jose and the numbers will even up.

Most importantly, you persistently ignore the fact that 85% of people coming to games don't take BART now, making this statistic all but irrelevant even today. So a small number of people from Pleasanton who might have taken BART will drive instead, at least until the BART connector is built. So what?

thisplanetsux said...

I can't understand why you don't get on 280, go right at San Mateo, left at Hayward. There's construction now at the 92/880 interchange in Hayward that should make this route even better than it already is.

BART is already at or near capacity to the Coliseum every game. The trains and platforms are full for even weeknights vs. the Royals. A lot of people don't take BART only because it's too crowded. I know, because I sometimes take BART to weeknight games from Colma or Daly City, and it always fills up with A's fans through the city, and by the time it gets under the bay, there's usually only standing room for the East Bay fans. A destination in downtown Oakland would allow people to come via different lines and arrive at different stations then walk to the park, significantly increasing the number of fans who can safely and comfortably use BART. It would also shorten the trip for people coming from 3 of the 4 directions.

I don't see how Vallejo is getting any special treatment. It's 30+ miles from the center of the Bay Area, like Palo Alto or Milpitas. And their drive time commute into SF on 80 through west Contra Costa is ranked the #1 worst traffic in the Bay Area, year after year. They're passing through two bridge toll plazas to get to SF. Richmond BART is nowhere near 80, farther than Fremont BART is to 880, and in one of the Bay Area's toughest neighborhoods to boot. They're not getting any special luxury treatment. And like Palo Alto, they're at the tip of their county's access to the rest of the Bay Area. Fairfield, Benicia, Vacaville have it much worse.

The point about Santa Rosa, Vacaville, Vallejo, Martinez, etc. is that they and many other cities in the north bay are at or beyond the 30 mile "easy access" radius to either ballpark you keep claiming they are inside. Throw out Marin County as well as the close-in parts of West Contra Costa county, and you've still got as many people as SC county, and every one of them is as far, and in some cases MUCH FARTHER, away. They're already making a long haul, just like San Jose fans.

One other thing I find curious is how new ballparks have gone up in recent years in Chicago and New York, yet the Cubs/White Sox and Mets/Yankess continue to play less than 10 miles apart. Idiots.

Anonymous said...

"I can't understand why you don't get on 280, go right at San Mateo, left at Hayward. There's construction now at the 92/880 interchange in Hayward that should make this route even better than it already is."

I've done this. First of all, you have the same problem getting to 280 from as you do the 101 - Page Mill completely backs up during rush hour. Once you get on 280, traffic does flow much better than going the other way. However, this route adds considerably to the distance (about 15 miles) so it doesn't wind up being a time savings.

Usually, if I am going alone or with just one buddy I just take BART from Union City. It's not fast, but it's more predictable, and I hate fighting parking lot traffic after the game.

"BART is already at or near capacity to the Coliseum every game. The trains and platforms are full for even weeknights vs. the Royals. A lot of people don't take BART only because it's too crowded."

This will always be the case because they assign a number of cars based on ridership projections. They want full cars; they don't want half-empty cars, as they lose money that way.

"A destination in downtown Oakland would allow people to come via different lines and arrive at different stations then walk to the park, significantly increasing the number of fans who can safely and comfortably use BART."

This is a specious argument. They don't need "dispersal" to accommodate fans; they can simply add more cars. They size the trains based on projected demand and their desire to fill the trains; this will continue to be the case.

Also, the main downtown site apparently under consideration is 3/4 mile to 1 mile from any BART station. It's hard to see how this will increase ridership.

"It would also shorten the trip for people coming from 3 of the 4 directions."

For the 15% of people actually taking BART to the games from those directions, it would shave maybe five minutes off the trip. For the 85% of the people coming from the South Bay who are driving to the games, it could add fifteen minutes or more to the already torturous journey I previously describe. Great idea; that'll really help the A's develop that Silicon Valley corporate base they covet.

"I don't see how Vallejo is getting any special treatment."

Sigh. If I could type this slowly so it would register, I would. It's because your whole argument centers on the idea that it is somehow more important to give people in the North Bay access to two MLB ballparks than to give people in Silicon Valley reasonable access to one. The team moving to San Jose does not materially change North Bay access to Major League Baseball; for most of them, AT&T Park is already closest.

And has been pointed out repeatedly but you choose to ignore, it is more important to the team to serve Palo Alto, Sunnyvale Santa Clara, and Cupertino than it is to serve Vallejo, Martinez, Napa and Santa Rosa. For obvious reasons.

"The point about Santa Rosa, Vacaville, Vallejo, Martinez, etc. is that they and many other cities in the north bay are at or beyond the 30 mile "easy access" radius to either ballpark you keep claiming they are inside."

Vallejo is 26 miles from AT&T Park.
Martinez, 21 miles.

Vacaville and Santa Rosa are further, but no proposal on the table will make a significant difference. AT&T Park will continue to be the closest ballpark to Santa Rosa no matter where the A's go. Vacaville would be slightly closer if a downtown Oakland park were built, but not enough to materially influence decisions on going to games. I seriously doubt many people from either city go to many weeknight games.

You keep ignoring the fact that ALL OF THESE AREAS WILL HAVE SIMILAR ACCESS TO MLB TO WHAT THEY HAVE NOW WHETHER THE A'S STAY IN OAKLAND OR GO TO SAN JOSE, BECAUSE AT&T PARK ISN'T GOING ANYWHERE. (Sorry about the all caps; I can't figure out how to make the italics work). Anyway, a business strategy that puts double access for the North Bay ahead of single access for the economic engine of the region is a dumb business strategy.

"One other thing I find curious is how new ballparks have gone up in recent years in Chicago and New York, yet the Cubs/White Sox and Mets/Yankess continue to play less than 10 miles apart. Idiots."

You are just the king of irrelevant, apples-to-oranges comparisons. Metro Chicago has about 10 million people; New York, 19 million. Chicago is almost twice as dense as Oakland, at 12,000 per sq mile; New York, four times as dense at 27,000 or so. They have a lot more latitude with where they site their ballparks. On the other hand, if you're the smallest market with two teams, good siting is critically important.

Also, I don't know about Chicago, but at least in New York's case the distance is deceiving. First of all, the highways from Citifield to Yankee Stadium are a notorious parking lot during commute hours. You couldn't pay me to drive it, and I seriously doubt you'd make it in less than a hour (notwithstanding what Google Maps says).

Second, huge numbers of people in New York City don't even own cars, making transit times key. By Subway, it's at least an hour between the two ballparks.

Tellingly, the New York fanbases skew geographically despite the seeming proximity of the two yards. The Yankees draw a lot more from Jersey, Westchester, and Connecticut; the Mets draw largely from Long Island. I understand the situation is similar in Chicago (though I'm much less familiar with that area).