07 September 2009

Can San Jose meet the demand?

Tonight's contribution comes from frequent commenter gojohn, who in a previous thread had some thoughts on the future makeup of a San Jose A's fanbase. I told him that it looked like he needed some room to flesh out the concept, so I gave him this post to do it. I'll add my own thoughts at the end of the post.
Thanks to Marine Layer for allowing me to do this guest post. Half of it was written while sporting my 1929 A’s hat at the game today. I didn’t want to be “that guy” with a laptop at the game, but I figured I was exempt since I was writing about the A’s. I was stuck in the Stomper Fun Zone most of the game anyway.

When I was looking over the San Jose Economic Impact Report the table below stood out to me. 

I was a bit surprised to see it estimated that 50% of the ballpark attendees would be coming from San Jose. So, I attempted to come up with my own number based upon the only data that I know of that is publically available. That would be the table below from the Fremont Economic Impact Report.

This table breaks down the advance ticket sales by county for the 2005 Oakland Athletics season. Ticket sales per county should vary mainly based on the population of that county and its distance from the Oakland Coliseum. Below is scatter plot of the % county population attending games by the distance of each county from the ballpark (I assumed only one game a person. Obviously not right, but I made that assumption for all counties so it shouldn’t affect the slope of the line).

Allow me to make a few observations from this graph before moving forward. First, Napa County loves the A’s. Those fans take the long haul to the park in numbers that far exceed expectations. If the A’s move south, Napa County might be the biggest losers. Second, Alameda County attendance is slightly above expected, but Santa Clara County is a bit lagging. Doesn’t really fit with the notion that the South Bay is deserving of a new ballpark more than Alameda County because the former will support the team more. Maybe they’re better Giants fans? Obviously, there are many issues unrelated to attendance alone that factor into the decision to move the team South, and the purpose of this post isn’t to reignite the Oakland vs. San Jose debate. I’m just sayin’, if you are going to talk the talk…

To estimate how the placement of the ballpark in San Jose might affect the relative attendance values from surrounding counties, I took the trendline formula from the scatter plot above and plugged in the distance of the counties from Diridon (I’m not a statistician, but I believe this is regression analysis). Using that formula, a Diridon ballpark would result in 433K less fans per year than the Coliseum, demonstrating that having a centrally located ballpark does have a significant positive affect on attendance. Keep in mind, this assumes no increase in fan interest from the 2005 values, it is only taking the ballpark from one location and putting it in another. I had to increase the y-intercept value (aka: the fan interest index) 34% to get an attendance value equal to the Coliseum numbers. In other words, a San Jose ballpark may indeed generate more interest than an Oakland one, but the interest needs to be ~34% higher to make up for the asymmetrical location of the ballpark in the Bay Area.

The graph below shows the percentage each county would be expected to contribute to Diridon ballpark attendance. To the right of the pie graph is a bar graph that breaks down each individual city in Santa Clara County.

The 18.6% value from “other California or out of state” is taken directly from the 2005 values in Oakland. Alameda County attendees would be expected to drop by ~160K fans, while Santa Clara county would be up 570K. Of note is San Jose, which I project to consist of only about a quarter of all ballpark attendees (470K fans/year). My number is half of the estimate stated in the San Jose economic report. I can’t quite reconcile how the two values are so far off. Perhaps the report relied more on figures from Sharks games and other MLB venues. Maybe they don’t think the relationship between attendance and distance from the ballpark is linear. It’s even possible they fudged a bit. It’s tough to say without knowing their method and having access to the numbers they do. I can only say my numbers seem reasonable and that’s good enough for me.

I would think that my numbers are much more encouraging to a future ballpark in San Jose than those outlined in the report. One million fans from San Jose may be difficult to achieve. However, since I think it is unlikely the report would want to come up with estimates that would suggest a ballpark is not feasible in San Jose, I can only assume they believe 1 million fans from San Jose is reasonable. Perhaps it would be driven by a huge influx of local corporate ticket sales. If 1 million fans truly end up coming from San Jose alone, based on my estimates, the Diridon ballpark is going to be a huge success. I realize I’m beating a dead horse here, but if I’m right I hope the demand for tickets will justify adding more seats to the venue sooner rather than later.
Ed.: My only criticism is of gojohn's acceptance of the 2005 distribution as a transferable system. The layout and population distribution of the Bay Area makes that difficult, just as it's hard for a newcomer to the area to understand our microclimates. A truly thorough analysis (which to his credit gojohn clearly says he is not doing) would go into at least city-based figures and at best ZIP code level granularity. To understand this complexity, I went to the USGS to get a recent Bay Area population density map (PDF map from 2000). I then overlaid 20-mile radius circles around the three locales: AT&T Park (orange), the Coliseum (yellow), and Diridon South (blue). Click on the map for a larger (1.5 MB) version.

Both the orange and yellow circles represent approximately 4 million residents. Within the blue circle there are 2 million residents. The overlap of the orange and yellow circles makes product centrally located within the Bay Area, yet also inefficient in its availability. Of the blue circle's 2 million residents, half are in San Jose. That's probably where the 50% comes from. That doesn't necessarily mean 50% of game attendees will naturally come from San Jose. I expect a lower percentage due to higher ticket prices and the greater affluence of nearby communities and likely higher corporate patronage, much of which is not in San Jose proper.

Note: I neglected to mention where the 20-mile radius came from. I had previously seen a presentation showing that the vast majority of ticket buyers for a future ballpark will come from within a 18-20 mile radius. The current Coliseum location defies this convention thanks in large part to BART.


Anonymous said...

very interesting work. Perhaps instead of San Jose they meant "metro San Jose," which is Santa Clara County? The county by county analysis is especially interesting, my interpretation of the Napa oversampling is that the the Bay Bridge becomes an obstacle for those not within BART range.

gojohn10 said...

Interesting that despite the overlap of the Oakland and SF circles, both counties have attendance values slightly above average. Especially San Francisco. I was expecting SF to have much lower numbers.

Mark said...

I think they were being conservative. The definition of the report of a San Jose resident is somebody that does most of their spending in San Jose. Going to an A's ballgame would take money that a San Jose resident probably would have spent on food and entertainment in San Jose anyway so there is less benefit to San Jose than somebody that comes from outside of San Jose. If you think of the cities closest to San Jose, all of them like Los Gatos, Campbell, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, and Milpitas have a lot of their own retail so drawing residents from those cities would be of more benefit to San Jose.

I think the report purposely overstated the percentage of the fans who would come from San Jose so as to to lower the expected benefits to San Jose. Why would San Jose do this? They want to claim that even with conservative estimates, the ballpark will still benefit San Jose

I think what San Jose has learned with the HP Pavilion is that having cheaper parking not too far away in the San Pedro Square area increases greatly the number of people that go to local restaurants. The area between the new A's ballpark, Diridon station and the HP Pavilion is planned to be filled with tall as they can build them (not too high because of the flight path) office buildings or condos with retail on the first floor. The part of the HP Pavilion parking lot west of the arena is designed to be the new parking garage for the train station and the HP Pavilion. That parking garage can be made taller or a parking garage can be put on the rest of the Pavilion parking lot to add parking for the new ballpark. I doubt that very much parking will be provided right next to the new ballpark. A lot of new restaurants will be opened between the new parking garage and the new ballpark which will encourage people to eat before or after the ballgame. This will also disperse the impact of people leaving if a lot of fans stop at places to eat and drink before going back to their cars.

Tony D. said...

Can San Jose meet the demand? For the long haul, yes! But intitially, you'll probably get the same dynamic that currently exists with the Giants. Most SF Giants fans travelling north from Peninsula/NW SCCo. into SF. For future SJ A's initially; fans from southern Alameda Co. and Tri-Valley area travelling south into SJ. In time however you'll see the A's take a greater hold on all of Santa Clara County/SJ and potentially southern Peninsula. And the same will probably happen with the Giants taking a greater hold on Napa Co/north bay and CoCo County.

By the way, anyone know what percentage of Giants fans at AT&T Park actually come out of SF?

Nice work GoJohn.

John P. said...

If we take the graph literally, it suggests that the best place for a new A's ballpark, from an attendance standpoint, would be Napa county.

gojohn10 said...

Mondavi Field! In between innings they could have glasses of merlot, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon race around the field.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I would like to see a comparison ticket /demand chart for the Giants. Good work.

Anonymous said...

There is another factor - team performance. There will be a buzz around the new stadium that will inflate attendance for a few years, but as the Giants have seen, once the novelty wears off, you need to put a winner on the field.

Of the top of my head, I'd say the A's attendance was better from 2001-2006 than it has been since, yes?

Oakland, CA

oldblue said...

I'll add plaudits for an excellent job, one which, unfortunately leads to some serious reservations.

I hate to be all negative here, but that estimated annual attendance of 1.9M kind of leaps out. We live in an era where many competitive MLB teams draw 3M attendance; they need that to make the money to sign the players. But there's Boston, you say. And how does Boston deal with the lower attendance dictated by ballpark size? Glad you asked. With the highest ticket prices (at least before the new Yankee palace) in baseball. And the Red Sox (Cubs, too) sell out every game, getting them over 2.5M attendance.

There is your future, San Jose fans. In order for the A's to make their nut, make extortion payments to the Giants and bring in enough revenue to sign the players to be competitive, they're going to have to make some serious $$. I'd say you can forget about those nice prices you've paid at the Coliseum.

The A's have already demonstrated that they can draw well over 1.9M in attendance with a competitive team—right there in the old nasty Oakland Coliseum. I'd say why bother going thorough all of the rigmarole associated with moving if the best they're going to get is an attendance figure in the bottom half of MLB. Is 1.9M conservative? Maybe, but the fact is that figure can't grow more than 600K, given the (IMO) unwise insistence on a park holding only 32K. That puts you into Fenway territory, but there will be a tremendous difference in overhead costs, with the A's paying a lot more.

Some years ago, Marine Layer provided a link to a business journal article addressing just how expensive it is to run an MLB team as opposed to the other sports. As I recall, the only metropolitan areas in the nation that were a slam dunk for another team to actually make money were NYC and L.A. San Jose was not in the mix.

If I ran the A's and wanted to make money, I'd move to the San Fernando Valley. More people there than in San Jose. None of that territorial rights nonsense, either.

Or I'd stay in Oakland and work on the Pittsburgh Pirates' new sports record for futility. Interestingly, the Pirates have done the past few years in what's arguably the finest stadium in MLB, one that's far better than anything that will be built in San Jose. Come to think of it, the A's could work on the Pirates' record in San Jose. As I recall, the Pirates had 13K attendance on Labor Day.

gojohn10 said...

Two things:

1) I would also like to see a comparison with Giants season tickets. Unfortunately, the Giants keep those numbers under lock and key.

2) Baseball Prospectus has a recent post questioning whether a move to SJ by the A's makes much sense economically.

Moon Unit Zappa said...

If I ran the A's and wanted to make money, I'd move to the San Fernando Valley. More people there than in San Jose. None of that territorial rights nonsense, either.

Actually, there would be lots of that territorial rights nonsense. Not only is the SF Valley in the same county as Los Angeles, it's actually within LA city limits.

John P. said...

Yikes! My P.S. went through, but not my main post.
GoJohn, it's important to know if your regression chart rises to the level of statistical significance -- what's the R-square value?

I'm also wondering about the validity of the concept, since there is such wide variation in the population of those counties.
Santa Clara has about 1300% of Napa's population, but they both get equal weight on the chart and in the determination of the trend line. What would the chart look like if it plotted actual fan count (not percent of county population) against distance?

Finally, how was distance computed for the Diridon location? Was it air miles from the population centroid of each county? Driving distance? Something else?
It seems ro me that the most informative way to do this would be by using realistic game-time driving times from multiple population centers in each county (weighted by population), but admittedly that would be a lot of work.

Tony D. said...


You're more than entitled to your sour-grapes opinion. But one part of it is fatally flawed.

"As I recall, the only metropolitan areas in the nation that were slam dunk for another team to actually make money were NYC and L.A. San Jose was not in the mix."

Two reasons why SJ "not in the mix."

1) The studies assumed a THIRD team in the NY or LA metro areas. Assuming MLB teams in SF and Oak, no way in hell does a THIRD team make it in SJ (or the Bay Area for that matter). Remember oldblue, the Bay Area is currently a TWO-TEAM market. The A's moving to San Jose is merely a movement of one team within the market.

2) San Jose was always assumed to be a firm part of Giants territory; thus no team would be allowed to move there anyway; why include it in a study?

By the way, EXTORTION PAYMENTS TO THE GIANTS!? Says who? How much did the Giants pay for SCCo. back in 92? I'll give you a hint...ZERO DOLLARS! Yes, the Giants will "get their pound of flesh," but don't think for a minute they're going to rob the A's/MLB blind.


It's Neil's job to play the role of ultra-stadium skeptic; I'm sure you're familiar with his Field of Schemes site. That being said...AN A'S BALLPARK IN SJ COSTING A HALF A BILLION DOLLARS!?

Reminds me of a friend from High School whose folks bought a 5-br home in the Evergreen district of SJ for a whopping $250,000 back in 89. He couldn't, and wouldn't, stop bragging that he lived in a house worth A QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS!

Come on Neil!

gojohn10 said...

John P.,

From one John to another, you're really driving it home that I am not a statistician. I had to look up the R-squared on wikipedia because I thought it was used mainly for correlation coefficients. I think I am somewhat right. I can't calculate an R-squared until the ballpark is built. Only then could we compare the actual values with the ones I predicted and calculate the R-squared. If that's wrong, let me know.

As for the distance/population issue, the whole idea was to gauge fan interest based on location from the park. Right or wrong, I then used those numbers to predict fan outcome for a SJ ballpark. I had to normalize for population do this properly. I'm not trying to suggest Napa really deserves a ballpark, I'm just saying, "hey, they are big A's fans there!"

Lastly, you're right, the most informative way of calculating distance would be a lot of work.

John P. said...

... I am not a statistician. I had to look up the R-squared on wikipedia because I thought it was used mainly for correlation coefficients. I think I am somewhat right. I can't calculate an R-squared until the ballpark is built. Only then could we compare the actual values with the ones I predicted and calculate the R-squared. If that's wrong, let me know.

That's OK, John, I'm not a statistician either. But I have recently gotten into using regressions to analyze (historic) attendance data, have invested in a used statistics textbook and have been picking the brains of an actual statistician who's in SABR. It's turning out to be more fun than expected.

The nice thing about R-squared is that it tells you whether a graphed relationship is strong, moderate, weak, or nonexistent.
In this case, it has nothing to do with waiting for the ballpark to be built -- it will tell you whether the relationship you plotted between distance and fans is statistically significant or not, right now. Your graphing software ought to generate R-squared for you. If you can't find that function or figure out how it works, just give me your data points and I'll be happy to do it.

As for the distance/population issue, the whole idea was to gauge fan interest based on location from the park.

A worthy inquiry. But I'm not sure that your method really acomplishes that, especially since you are mum about defining distance and explaining how it's determined. R-squared will probably give us a clue of how well this method has succeded.

Right or wrong, I then used those numbers to predict fan outcome for a SJ ballpark.

I agree with ML that the A's old data may not be transferrable from one ballpark location to another.

I'm not trying to suggest Napa really deserves a ballpark, I'm just saying, "hey, they are big A's fans there!"

Of course you're not saying that, but your graph is suggesting that very strongly. To me, that's a sign that the methodology may need more work.

To me, it doesn't say that there are big A's fans in Napa; instead it tells me that Napa's tiny population makes that data point suspect. Is it more significant to say that about 34% of Napa county's population and about 12.5% of Santa Clara county's population attended A's games in 2005, or is it more significant to say that about 42K of the A's attendance came from Napa compared to about 222K from Santa Clara? Plotting both relationships and then running R-squares might answer that

Jeffrey said...

Neil deMause says that it won't work? No way?!?!!?

In his original post on the subject, he used the erroneous figure of 23 acres (because it was included in the EIR) and estimated that the park would provide a net value of $65 million.

Isn't it odd, that two days later, after one of the driving forces for that $65 million number was reduced by about 40 per cent (14 acres instead of 23) that he finds the park is still ONLY (I'd like to have ONLY $65 million by the way) worth $65 million to the San Jose economy.

I understand what his role is. That's great and he is very good at what he does, but his is just one opinion and it always comes with a negative bias towards any stadium project.

gojohn10 said...

John P.

Shoot me an email and I'll send you my data. My gmail address is the same as my username. I'm more interested in getting good numbers than defending my method, so if you have a better way, have at it. I should warn you that my wife is ready to give birth at any moment (I was hoping for a 090909 Bday, but I don't think it's going to happen). So if I don't get back to right away, that is why.

BTW, the distance for each city in Santa Clara county was determined plugging the city name into the "start" location in google maps and diridon station into the destination. For the counties, the start location wasn't working for me so used the location of the county courthouse for into the start location.

As for the whole %pop vs. absolute attendance figures question, I don't think the graph suggests Napa deserves a ballpark for the very reason you say. Absolute population does make a difference. That is why it is important to read the axis so you know what the graph is telling you. Perhaps a better graph would had a third dimension where the size of the point corresponded to the county population. Then we would both be happy.

gojohn10 said...

Check this out John P. I never know how to add the third dimension scatterplot on Excel. Turns out it is real easy -- bubble chart. Who knew? Anyway, here it is and it looks a hell of a lot better than the previous graph. As I said in the previous post, the size of the bubbles correspond to the county population.

Also, when I was messing around I saw underneath the trendline the option to display the R-squared. Hot damn! The correlation isn't so hot, but it's better than no correlation. I think low r-squared reflects ML's comment that numbers from one location can't be easily transferred to another.

bbison said...

Old Blue-

It's 2009. Fenway holds over 38,000 now, after several rounds of expansions. Wrigley holds over 41,000 after the winter 2005 expansion. Barring a bunch of cancellations due to rainouts, both teams will easily draw 3,000,000--just as they did in 2008.

I'll leave the rest of your ramblings for the others to pick at.

Neil said...

Jeffrey: The reason I said a new stadium would still be worth only $65 million to San Jose after correcting the acreage (from 23 to 14 acres) is that that figure is independent of the acreage: It's right there in the report, if you subtract the net fiscal impact of the alternative development ($35m) from the net fiscal impact of a stadium ($100m). I did correct the cost-per-acre that would make it worth it to San Jose, from $2m/acre to $4m/acre.

I should probably make it clear that I have no rooting interest here in where the A's end up, aside from some vague warm fuzzy memories of a bunch of games I saw at the pre-Mount Davis Coliseum when I was briefly a student at UC-Berkeley. (Hint: Joe Morgan was still playing. Sort of.) I'd actually love to see some team pull off a privately funded stadium, if only to prove that Pac Bell wasn't a complete aberration. But I know how hard it is to make a stadium pay its own way — yes, especially when it costs HALF A BILLION DOLLARS — so color me skeptical until Wolff actually lays all his financial cards on the table.

Jeepers said...

bbison, you realize you actually just reinforced his point, don't you?

Dittohead said...

I was just about to say what Jeepers just did.

The A's are between Alum Rock and a hard place. Paying for the park privately means that it has to be small and (relatively) inexpensive, but that limits potential attendance. With the smallest park in MLB in the last 50 years, plus the new expense of paying off a stadium, and no ballpark village development to create ancillary income, A's tickets will have to be much more expensive in SJ than in Oakland.

Anonymous said...

Dittohead and Jeepers--no doubt that having a privately financed ballpark will require those that use it to pay a higher cost--doesn't matter if that "new" ballpark is in San Jose or Oakland---so to say A's tix will be much more expensive in SJ than Oakland is absolutely false--unless your advocating staying put in a rundown ballpark where you only average 17,000 fans--and have the worst or second worst ballpark in all of MLB---

Bottom line---no city/county will provide a substantial amount of public funding---so kudos to LW to work towards figuring out a solution--and quite honestly--I understand the impact to me as a fan and a season tix holder but I also understand that not many taxpayers want to subsidize my passion for baseball--and I won't remain a season tix holder much longer unless a plan is in place to get a new ballpark built near term.

Dittohead. said...

Anon 9:16, I wasn't referring to a new ballpark in Oakland.
I was referring to the current one, and that should have been obvious from the context of the statement.

Is there some tangible evidence that leads you to think that there's any realistic chance of a new ballpark in Oakland?

Anonymous said...

The maps and charts prove without a doubt that Oakland is by far the best and most central location to the majority of the Bay Area population. As I've said many times it makes no sense to take the Oakland A's from the very geographic and population center of the Bay Area and tuck them into a corner in San Jose. It's absolutely mind boggling to even entertain an idea like that unless Lew Wolff wants to commit financial suicide. Napa County wont be in the house, San Francisco County wont be in the house, most of Alameda and Contra Costa counties certainly wont be in the house. Investing 500 million for a ballpark in San Jose is very shortsighted.

Jeffrey said...

Hardly. The maps and charts don't really prove anything.

If anything I would say the map almost proves the opposite... that currently you have two franchises competing for a nearly identical group of fans and that separating the two teams more evenly splits the market for ticket buyers/stadium advertisers while maintaining the current media market.

The charts don't seem to really show anything statistically significant about San Jose. Considering the r square conversation above and all.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:31,

Then perhaps all the Silicon Valley company's should relocate to Oakland, since it's the center of the universe, and all those people in Alameda and Co Co County aren't commuting to job-rich Silicon Valley because it's tucked in a corner of the Bay Area, which nobody will ever drive to, bla bla bla...

Anonymous said...

4:31, if you want to water your front yard, do you put a bunch of sprinklers in the middle of the lawn?

John P. said...

Jeffrey wrote:
The maps and charts don't really prove anything.

I agree with most of what Jeffrey said, but I think there's some value to GoJohn's graph of distance and A's attendance in 2005. He hasn't responded to a recent email, so I expect that he's now busy with his wife's childbirth.

If anything I would say the map almost proves the opposite... that currently you have two franchises competing for a nearly identical group of fans and that separating the two teams more evenly splits the market for ticket buyers/stadium advertisers while maintaining the current media market.

That would be ML's map with the three 20-mile circles, two of which overlap considerably. It makes an important point graphically. I don't know where ML read that MLB thinks a 20-mile radius is where the bulk of fans come from, but if that's the case, I would never have gone to A Giants or A's game, since, living in central San Jose, I'm way outside both circles.

Obviously, in the real world, there are concentric circles of various sizes corresponding to zones of higher and lower probability of attendance. Circles are convenient, but also oversimplifications. I think a much better set of zones would be irregular boundaries representing different driving distances to the ballparks, or, better yet, driving times to the ballparks. Say, 30 minutes for high probability, and 60 minutes for moderate probability.

BTW, I've done this with graphs rather than maps, plugging in GoJohn's 2005 A's numbers, altering and correcting many of the distances, plotting by time, and trying several different trend lines and curves. This shows that there's a moderate correlation in the graph he posted (R-squared = .45), and a better score of .533 using a logarithmic curve. Using actual attendance instead of % of county population gives much better results (linear = .641; logarithmic = .788).
Then I calculated my own distances to various multiple points in each county, which actually lowered the scores a bit, but I think that the data is better even if the fit isn't. Using driving time rather than distance gave a higher R-squared of 0.71. Conclusion -- in 2005, there was a reasonably good correlation between driving time and A's attendance. In each case other than GoJohn's graph, Santa Clara county exceeded the prediction curve figure by quite a bit (between about 85% and 115%), reflecting its high population, and suggesting that it is good territory for the A's.

The charts don't seem to really show anything statistically significant about San Jose. Considering the r square conversation above and all.

GoJohn's first chart shows low-moderate significance, but can be tweaked into something reasonably significant. His second graphic, the color pie chart and bar graph, needs further explanation. It can't be analyzed by regression methods as presented. Right now, I doubt that it has much validity, but maybe when he gets time to rejoin the discussion, he'll surprise us.

Sorry that so much of this is so technical, but that's the way analysis works. I wonder how the A's have been doing their own internal market research for Fremont and now Diridon -- lots of numbers crunching, heavy intuition, or a combination of the two.
I'm sure that they have better numbers to work with than what we've seen publicly.

Anonymous said...

Fan base is one element of revenue for a team--although I would assume a smaller one than corporate sponsorship or tv revenues---I would expect a 32,000 ballpark in downtown SJ would have no problem being sold out on a regular basis--assuming a reasonable product is on the field--no different than the Sharks and their solid support--where SJ begins to separate itself is on the potential for corporate support--no different than the '9ers wanting to be down in the Silly Valley---this is where the corporate dollars are--

Marine Layer said...

The way I remember the presentation, the A's were using the 20-mile rule as a trend based on the other MLB parks. Obviously it's not a hard-and-fast rule, as numerous other factors can come into play. The A's most certainly have sophisticated models predicting sales by ZIP code and demographic.

gojohn10 said...

Yesterday was the due date, but no baby yet. John P., I responded to your email yesterday. I just resent it. If there was another email from you I didn't get it.

From your r-squared values it's pretty obvious that your models work better than mine. At this point I would say my final pie chart, which was modeled after the initial graph, should be tossed and remade with your logarithmic model to increase the confidence in the predicted outcome. Quite frankly, I always thought a logarithmic model was a better fit, but i didn't know how to do it (dammit my shift key is on the fritz). I really need to find my statistics book. I lost it in a recent move.

Neil said...

FYI, the ticket-price hikes at new stadiums don't have much correlation with how much the team spent on building them - Cardinals ticket prices only rose modestly in 2006, for example, though New Busch had the second-highest team share of costs after the Giants. They're charging what the market will bear - the only difference is whether the money goes into paying off stadium bonds or into the team owner's pockets.

Smaller capacity is going to mean higher ticket prices, but that'd be true in any location, and no matter who paid for it.

Marine Layer said...

Neil - The difference, as far as we know at this point, is that Wolff is not pursuing seat licenses wherever the ballpark is built, even though the climate could be more hospitable for them in San Jose than Oakland. The Cards could only nickel-and-dime so much thanks to their use of PSL's.

The incremental cost of adding 8-10,000 seats would be north of $100 million. That's $8 million per year at 7% for 30 years. Eschew those seats and it's a smaller mortgage.

Jeffrey said...

A few things-

GoJohn... as a father of 3 congrats! And I wasn't trying to disparage your effort. This is awesome and more than I would have done.

Second... Neil deMause is posting to the forum! I feel like I am in the virtual presence of royalty or something.

Last... this is one of the best discussions I have witnessed on this blog... hooray!

Anonymous said...

This analysis confirms that moving the A's into downtown Oakland, near a ferry-landing site, would be vastly preferable to sending them down to Diridon.

How anyone could miss this is shocking.

Where is the data on San Jose MLB fans in general? TV ratings? Attendance to Giants and A's? There are a lot of assumptions based on population here but if the region is full of people who don't care for baseball, you're screwed.

John P. said...

This analysis confirms that moving the A's into downtown Oakland, near a ferry-landing site, would be vastly preferable to sending them down to Diridon.

Please explain this baffling pronouncement.
How is that sentiment confirmed by any analyis in this thread?

Anonymous said...

Simple, Oakland is at the geographic center of the Bay Area thereby giving anyone in the Bay Area the opportunity to get to the ballpark with much less hassle than it would take to get to San Jose.

Also, a ballpark in Jack London Square puts the A's within ten miles of many San Francisco corporations (with most employees living in the 2.5 million strong East Bay) while retaining the corporations in Oakland, Walnut Creek/Concord, and the Tri Valley.

And,a ballpark at Jack London Square provides an element which doesn't exist in San Jose. Jack London Square provides a beautiful waterfront setting which would make the ballpark a destination in itself. There is no such allure for a ballpark in downtown San Jose. No one is going to go to the ballpark because it's situated in downtown San Jose, while many people would go to a ballpark in a beautiful waterfront setting in centrally located and transportation friendly Oakland.

Marine Layer said...

The problem with that conclusion is that AT&T Park is just as centrally-located as a possible JLS ballpark. You run into the "Subway franchise" problem, in which non-competing locations end up too close to each other and thus, competing. By keeping the status quo, you're effective limiting the baseball audience to 4 million residents, with everyone else making only occasional trips.

It would seem that the best way to capture all of the Bay Area to arrange both franchises so that either is within a reasonably short driving distance or public transit ride away. That's not really possible with an Oakland/SF situation. It works with SF/SJ, or Oakland/SJ. Either of those two would cover 6 million residents.

Jeffrey said...

ML... you can't talk about facts with Navigator. You shouldn't try.

Navigator said...

The problem is the the A's are the ones on the side of the Bay with the largest population. The A's right now are accessible to anyone in the entire Bay Area including San Jose. It just happens that a majority of San Jose residents chose to go and support a San Francisco baseball franchise instead of heading 40 miles north to Oakland. So in effect San Jose and it's corporations have decided to identify with "glamorous" San Francisco, instead of blue collar "gritty" Oakland. This is why the Giants consider San Jose their territory. They get much of their support from the Peninsula and South Bay. The market has already been set. It's unfortunate that Lew Wolff chooses to covet the South Bay instead of cultivating his superior central location to all seven million Bay Area residents who would be predisposed to being Oakland A's fans.

A move to San Jose is illogical and does not benefit the Oakland A's historic and potential fanbase in Alameda, San Francisco, Contra Costa, and Marin Counties. The Oakland A's are in an inviable location and yet they deal from a position of meekness willing to hand over at least 3/4 of the Bay Area to the SF Giants. This makes no sense!

Marine Layer said...

Nav - It makes a ton of sense if the goal is to attract as many fans as possible within a short distance. Yes, it is surrendering the East and North Bay, yet the Giants are objecting. The status quo is such that the Giants can restrain the A's from the South Bay while siphoning fans from the East and North Bay. That's called having your cake and eating it too.

This isn't about Oakland or San Jose. It's about trying to make the smallest two-team market in MLB work for both teams and MLB as well.

Navigator said...


The Giants are in a win win situation precisely because of the self destructive policies of Lew Wolff and A's ownership. Lew Wolff has alienated so many fans in the East Bay, that he's already handing over a large part of the area even while he's still physically located in Oakland.

If Wolff does get his coveted ballpark in San Jose, the Giants don't necessarily lose all their fans and corporations in the South Bay while gaining many disgruntled Oakland A's fans who will never support a Lew Wolff ball club in San Jose.

Wolff has handled this situation very badly and has alienated many fans in the process. The A's are now second to last in attendance in all of MLB. A Giant fan in San Jose may still be a Giant fan, when, or if, the A's arrive. On the other hand, an Oakland A's fan whose been kicked in the teeth by Wolff and Co, probably wont be too keen to fight his way through traffic just so he can have the pleasure of handing Wolff his hard earned money to see his former hometown team playing in San Jose.

Lew Wolff better do a lot better cultivating fans in a small corner of the Bay Area then he did when he had access to the whole enchilada. Lew Wolff needs to convert a whole lot of Giant fans in the South Bay, or else, can you say Pittsburgh Pirates.

Marine Layer said...

Nav - I don't think you need to worry about the South Bay's ability to rally around a team. They've shown time and time again how well they support teams in their backyard. A good number of South Bay folks are even going to A's games now when they weren't a few years ago. Some were Giants fans, some are casual fans, some found Oakland inconvenient. Whatever the case, it's building and gaining momentum.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that Navigator points out SJ companies' allegiance to the Giants and then banks on SF companies NOT going to AT&T, but rather this hypothetical ballpark in Oakland's version of Santana Row.

Oh, I forgot it looks out onto a slough across from Alameda industrial wasteland, not the wide-open bay. Odd how he chooses the "waterfront" euphemism, isn't it?

Navigator said...

There's no reason why San Francisco corporations wouldn't invest in a destination Oakland ballpark featuring an exciting successful team. We need to realize that most of the employees of these "San Francisco" corporations live in the East Bay. It's perfectly logical to have these corporations investing in tickets for a team situated near where their employees reside. As a matter of fact during the Haas championship years, many SF companies did invest in the Oakland A's by purchasing blocks of tickets, luxury boxes, and advertising space.

I really don't see who benefits from a ballpark in downtown San Jose.

Marine Layer said...

There is a very good reason: AT&T Park. Nav, you are sadly, willfully blind to the simple fact that things have changed significantly over the last 20 years.

There's no point in debating this further.

Anonymous said...

Navigator's inability to think critically leads me to believe he's either a troll or a bot. All he does is spew out buzz words like "central location" or "waterfront" and scan every SFGate article about San Jose so he can leave a negative comment. It's quite pathetic.

If San Francisco has so many companies willing to spend money on the A's, the Giants would not be forcing the team to stay in Oakland. Neukom and Baer are not comfortable on SF business alone for one team, let alone two.

Honestly, if an Oakland stadium is to be dependent upon San Francisco, then Oaklanders should just adopt the Giants. Major league sports are not a charity.

John P. said...

This thread started off in a refreshingly factual and specific way and continued in that vein for quite a while, but now it's turning into a steaming heap of fantasy and nonsense. Are Navigator and Anonymous 4:31 et al. the same person?

How was it determined that Oakland is the geographic center of the Bay Area? Does that term have any real meaning, given the complex and fragmented geography of the region?

What we really need to Know is not the location of the geographic center, but the center of population. More accurately, the population center weighted by per-capita income and earning power.

And even more accurately than that, the question is that, given the fact that the Giants are settled and won't be moving for several decades, what is the best location for the A's in terms of capturing the largest possible individual and corporate market share outside of the Giants' core market area?

Hint: It's not their present location, which is too close to the Giants and doesn't have the best local economics. It's somewhere well to the south, and Lew Wolff knew that when he tried (twice!) to locate the A's in Fremont (further from SF, better per-capita income than Oakland).

Now that he's been shut out of Fremont, going even further south is the only sensible move other than leaving Northern California. SJ provides the highest county population in the Bay Area, better individual incomes, better corporate sponsorship market, a local government more capable than Oakland or Fremont in terms of being able to make the project happen, and more physical seperation from the thriving competition.

John Pastier said...

I've just learned that I had an overly aggressive spam filter running, and have found your emails. But my spreadsheet porogram (Lotus 1-2-3) won't let me open either of the attachments.

Let's assume that there are no unanswered questions about your first chart based on 2005 A's data by county -- I think I understand its strengths and weaknesses.

But the colored pie and bar charts need elaboration. They don't show a process, the way the first graph did. They are just pictorial displays of numbers that were generated in a so-far unexplained way. What was your specific method for arriving at those numbers?

Anonymous said...

Proximity to downtown SF is NOT a problem for the A's. Show me anything that can support that. San Francisco has many A's fans, as is shown in the posted statistic. Note that the A's do zero marketing in San Francisco. If the entire Bay Area were set as "shared territory" than you would see the A's increase their fanbase in SF. This would be great for the A's, who would be the White Sox to the giants' Cubs. Except in a good stadium.

I know you say "don't worry" about SJ baseball fans, Marine Layer, but I want to see statistics. From what I know about San Jose I wouldn't expect to see high MLB TV ratings coming out of that market. I know these numbers are availble but I can't find them today. I've previously seen them in the context of the MLB-Portland effort, which used them to show that Portland had better TV ratings for MLB than 18 actual major league markets. Something MLB ignored, hence the league-trailing TV ratings for the Nationals in DC.

Marine Layer said...

There are no statistics on SJ as a media market because it's considered part of the greater Bay Area market (SF-OAK-SJ DMA). SJ has been separated for census purposes.

Again, proximity to downtown SF is not a problem. Proximity to the Giants, who are based in downtown SF, is.

Anonymous said...

It's funny how these guys are convinced that the Giants' home city can't wait to become A's fans, yet a city 50 miles south is so hopelessly married to the Giants that no one will watch the A's if they build a stadium there.