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22 October 2009

LA stadium bill passes, your move teams

The barn door is officially open. Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB X3 81 today, allowing Ed Roski's stadium project to sidestep environmental laws by negating a citizen-initiated legal challenge. While the process is often tedious and wasteful, the idea of legislating a legal maneuver for a single, entirely local project doesn't sit well with me. It's emblematic of what's wrong with the state.

Majestic Realty veep John Semcken has been making the rounds with numerous media outlets in the leadup to bill passage. In doing so, he's revealed bits and pieces of Roski's demands for what a team needs to provide in order to move to the Industry stadium.

During an interview with ESPN 710 (mp3) in LA, Semcken noted that Roski would be okay with 40% of the team and non-controlling interest, which was surprising to me. Roski currently owns minority, non-controlling shares of both the Kings and Lakers, and he built Staples Center. You could infer the successful precedent as saying that he's comfortable with a particular business model, and he's fine with duplicating it. But like any incredibly rich man, Roski must have an ego. So you'd figure he'd be interested in a controlling interest in the crown jewel franchise. That he apparently doesn't is a sign of his willingness to get 'er done. It could also be interpreted as an unwillingness to put up a ton of cash for a team.

Other tidbits from the interview (which I haven't noticed in the regular media coverage):
  • A team's move to LA is being pitched as an overall revenue generator for the league, much like an A's move from Oakland to San Jose. Supposedly, this new revenue would more than offset a TV revenue loss. The NFL has spent $14 million "studying" SoCal.
  • Six teams are on the potential candidate list: Jaguars, Bills, Rams, Vikings, Chargers, and Raiders. The 49ers are off the list for the time being because they're going through the development process in Santa Clara. Only the Rams are outwardly for sale, as most of you who follow this stuff closely already know.
  • The stadium will have two home locker rooms and two visitor locker rooms. Just in case.
Should one of the non-California teams move, it could set in motion an odd set of realignment moves which will probably make several owners unhappy.
  • Jaguars: Strangely, this might create little upheaval. The Jags could conceivably stay in the AFC South while the AFC West stays intact. They'd be the only team in their division on the West Coast, but at least none of their rivals would be on the East Coast (I won't get into Indiana's completely schizophrenic time zone mess). Kansas City and the Jags could switch places as an alternative.
  • Bills: This would probably create some kind of domino effect in which multiple teams moved to different divisions. It would make the most sense for the Bills to move to the AFC West, pushing the Chiefs to the AFC South. Indianapolis, which is north of AFC North team Cincinnati, would join them in the division. The Jags would join Florida big brother Miami in the AFC East.
  • Rams: Easily the most frictionless option. The Rams already have history in LA and they have spent their entire post-merger existence in the NFC West.
  • Vikings: Moving the Vikes out of what Chris Berman affectionately calls the "NFC Norris Division" seems downright blasphemous. Could they stay there? I suppose so, since Tampa Bay was long the long distance, warm weather outsider in the old NFC Central for over two decades. It would make more sense to move the Vikes to the NFC West and the Rams to the NFC North, however.
As for the Chargers and Raiders, they've been written about plenty already. Let the mating dance begin.

42 comments:

Dan said...

Good bye Raiders. Between Al's history of being ok selling off minority stakes in his team, the Coliseum rapidly becoming obsolete and the ready made fan base for the Raiders in LA you can bet the Raiders will be one of the teams moving. I'd be shocked if they stay in Oakland one minute after the conclusion of the current Coliseum lease agreement.

Jeffrey said...

Might we see a return to the pre 1996 NFL landscape?

Without AL having to sell anything?

Roski buys the Rams, Al moves south?

Anonymous said...

Here's a good question: would the NFL prefer the Raiders to go back to LA or still share a Santa Clara stadium with the Niners?
What if the Santa Clara initiative fails? Your LA Raiders AND 49ers?
Interesting stuff ML.

Dan said...

It would be ironic if that's what goes down. Particularly because the main reason both the Rams and Raiders left LA was the lack of a new stadium. It would only have taken nearly 20 years and both teams detouring to other cities but both would get what they originally wanted, a new stadium in LA.

Anonymous said...

The Raiders are not moving, the Jaguars, Rams, or Chargers is much more a reality because in order for the 49ers to build the stadium it will have to be a model i.e. the Jets and Giants, Everyone needs to quite wishing because it isn't happening.

Dan said...

Anon 3:20, it is irrelevant what the NFL needs or wants. If Al Davis wants to move to LA, he'll move to LA. If one things has been proven in the last 40 years its that what Al wants Al gets and the NFL is largely powerless to stop him. Besides neither team has said definitively that sharing a stadium in Santa Clara is something they'd like, want or need to do. Particularly since it would move the Raiders into an area they have nearly no fan base. LA by comparison is still Raider country. As for the Chargers, they're still investigating two sites in SD county for their stadium. The Jags are a possibility, however Orlando is equally as likely for a final location for them if they move. The Rams may also move back to LA, but that doesn't preclude the Raiders from moving as Roski has stated his stadium is being designed from the ground up for 2 teams. So it's hardly a fantasy that the Raiders would leave, not with Al being as old and impatient as he is and the Coliseum lease up in less than 2 years.

Ezra said...

I don't think LA cares at all if any NFL team comes. As long as Kobe is happy and the Lakers keep winning that's all they care about.

Although, speaking of the former Minneapolis Lakers... it would be amusing if the Vikings moved to LA.

Anonymous said...

I say let the Raiders move to LA. As an Oakland resident for life and as much as I like my football team, I would much rather keep the A's at home.

With the Raiders gone, that would pretty much open keep the A's in Oakland without all this San Jose nonsense. They can renovate the Coliseum and turn it back into the beautiful baseball ONLY ballpark it once was with the immediate demolition of Mt. Davis.

Dan said...

Anon 6:30, while I like your thinking, it's wishful thinking. Unlike the other "football team leaves renovate back to baseball" situation in Anaheim, the Coliseum is not a baseball stadium. Anaheim Stadium was built as a baseball only stadium so it was easy to convert it back to a baseball park. The Coliseum by comparison was a decent baseball yard during the 80's and early 90's, but by today's standards even if Mount Davis were eliminated it is woefully inadequate. The stands are just too far from the foul lines and the underlying bowl structure of the stadium would have to be radically altered to change this problem. And that ignores the fact the Coliseum is still located in a very undesirable industrial wasteland part of town. I too enjoyed the Coliseum in its heyday of the 80's when it was literally one of the best parks in baseball when everyone else was playing in astroturfed multipurpose monstrosities, but now that almost every other team is in a Camden derived park or a renovated baseball only stadium, even a renovated Coliseum would be among the worst parks in baseball.

bruno said...

so when are we going to know for sure if they A's are going to be able to move down to San Jose? i've gotten lost in all the nonsense i don't really remember. is it at this years winter meetings?

Anonymous said...

Dan...what a load

Jeffrey said...

One thing is for sure... this legislative end around is an interesting development and one I am not all that excited about.

Other interesting questions this whole saga presents---
Is LA actually going to have a team in the next few years or is NFL going to use LA as the new and improved version of what Tampa Bay was for baseball? I know the White Sox new stadium was partially a result of the threat to move to Tampa Bay, I seem to recall other teams using the same threat.

It may behoove the NFL to string this out...

Mike Headley said...

Taking a queue from the UFL, what if the Raiders played half their games in Oakland and half in LA? I doubt the stadium would be built if they were going to play half as many games there, but it's a fun idea that might help their sell-out issue.

Though I wonder how football-starved LA is. They might be able to sell out each week.

Gertrude Stein said...

The Coliseum was never a good baseball venue.
It was a bad one right out of the gate.
It wasn't even good within the category of round multipurpose stadiums.
Having good teams play there is not the same as having a goood baseball venue.

Jeffrey said...

I disagree. The Coliseum was never in the league of Fenway but it was better than a lot of stadiums.

The Kingdome sucked worse, the original home of the Rangers sucked worse, Memorial Stadium in Baltimore sucked worse, Candlestick Park sucked worse. This list could go on forever.

So in that time, it was better than most and thus, relatively good. No?

It sucks now. Mainly because while everyone else upgraded, the A's got a downgrade.

Anonymous said...

Rams back to LA, Raiders and Niners to a new shared Bay Area stadium. Perhaps the Chargers move up and share the new LA stadium with the Rams. That would be pretty idyllic. Massive football stadiums just don't have enough demand from other events. Two-team markets really need to have a shared venue.

Brian said...

From '82-'89:

Definitely worse: SF, Houston, Atlanta (almost as much foul territory and seats all the way around), Montreal, Philly, Seattle, Texas, Cleveland, Minnesota, Toronto. Total of 10

Probably worse: all the other circular stadiums with seats all the way around (they had less foul territory in the lower decks but just as much in the upper decks and with no view out of the stadium)-this covers Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, St. Louis. Since the Angels also had seats all the way around I'll add them here too. Also Baltimore also had a healthy amount of foul territory, plus obstructed views and was older so it wasn't as nice. Up to 15 by now.

A wash: Milwaukee, the White Sox, and Detroit had older stadiums with obstructed views, despite seats that were closer to the field. The Mets had a stadium that was bigger and higher around, with less foul territory in the field seats but with the upper decks just as far away or more. San Diego also had lots of foul territory and an upper deck running all the way across left field. This brings us up to 20.

So the only ones that were clearly superior are KC, LA, the Cubs, Boston, and the Yankees.

LeAndre said...

These are the teams that are most likely to move to LA in order in my opinion...

1.Chargers: They've been looking for a new stadium longer than any other team I can think of and are already in So. California. Plus they're the only team I've seen so far that hasn't said publicly that they are committed to staying in SD.

2.Rams: They're for sale as of now and they really want a new stadium as of now.

3.Jaguars: Even though Wayne Weaver wants to stay in Jacksonville, the team has the worse fan base in the NFL and he has no family that wants to take over the team. He will be forced to sell to someone else.

4.Bills: It's either LA or Toronto for them...and LA is in the lead.

5.Raiders: I think the Raiders will share with the Niners way before this, plus I honestly think Al is too stubborn to move back to LA. He is way more focused on the team than the stadium. Which is ironic because the team isn't good, unfortunately. He's also said publicly that he actually likes the coliseum even though he understands its time for a serious upgrade.

6.Vikings: Twins are moving out which will ease the tension. They already lost the Lakers, this would be heartbreaking.

7.Saints: Their needs for a new stadium just isn't as necessary as the rest. I could see a renovation coming soon before a move.

Anonymous said...

Again there are more teams that need LA, the Raiders are not going anywhere, AL is too old to be moving and no way Dan they are building a stadium in Orlando the Jags will be going to LA, Florida can't support 3 teams nor do they need 3 teams with college football being so popular, the only reason the Raiders get blacked out is their performance, Davis and Trask are on record as saying they want to stay where they are and renovate the Coliseum when the A's move or t have not said they were opposed to a Santa Clara stadium because guess what the 49ers are not getting that stadium without the Raiders!There is no money left in the NFL's stadium fund that helped all these teams get their new stadiums.

Anonymous said...

One more thought the Raiders never sold out in LA even when they shrunk the L.A. Coliseums capacity to about 68,000, the Raiders could not even get a home Monday Night Football game in LA for several years before they left because the league couldn't afford a blackout in the second largest market in the country, not to mention LA never came through for the Raiders, They are not moving back!!

Bloke in Tokeland said...

Brian, you are really being much too hard on the Coliseum by saying that some ballparks were better.

It was the only MLB stadium with a BART stop. It was also the only one in the US that was directly on the 880 freeway. Not to mention that it was the one that witnessed more A's games than any other -- by far! It was one of only two baseball parks that was directly served by a major airport. (Candlestick was too far away to qualify.)

Plus, it had the biggest and best foul territory in the majors. (Talk about expansive territorial rights!) It's subtle shades of gray cement were very extheticly beautiful (and still are). You also neglected to mention all the primo grass that sprung up in the outfield after every Dead concert.

All in all, I'd say that objectively speaking, Oakland had the best MLB venue during the period you identified.

bartleby said...

Brian,

I agree with most of your assessment on the relative merits of MLB parks circa '82-89, but you're way off on Tiger Stadium. I went there several times.

Sure, there were a few obstructed-view seats, but same with Fenway. If you didn't have to sit in them (and the vast majority of the time you did not), it was a non-issue. Meanwhile, every single other seat in that place had better sight-lines than the Coli.

Plus, TS won hands down on tradition, history, and charm. TS is one the parks whose essence HOK is trying to capture in all the SOTA parks they're building today.

And how does Yankee Stadium rate higher than TS? Sure, it was historic, but all the charm was wrung out of that place during the '70s remodel. I'd say the Coli and Yankee Stadium were more of push than the Coli and TS.

Mike in MN said...

LeAndre,

Talking about Minnesota and the Vikings, a more recent example then the Lakers would be the Northstars. The owner moved the team for building- related issues, and we had to turn around and build a new arena anyway just to get a new NHL team.

I have a feeling the state remembers this lesson, and the Vikings will stay here.

John P. said...

Jeffrey and Brian:

Obviously, you've both seen games in the Coliseum many times.

I'm wondering how extensive your direct experience has been with the other 25 ballparks of the period. I'm also wondering how comprehensive your criteria for judgment are. Brian clearly doesn't like outfield seats, especially upper-deck ones. That seems to be his main yardstick of ballpark quality, but that strikes me more as a tic than as solid judgment.

Jeffrey says that the Kingdome sucked worse than the Coliseum. Looks like a no-brainer comparison, right?

Yes, it had an ugly concrete exterior. Even uglier than the Coliseum's ugly concrete exterior.

And outdoors is always better than indoors. But is it? Seattle's early- and late-season weather can be frigid, especially at night, and in those cases, being indoors was better for fans and for the quality of play on the field.

Despite its huge capacity, the Kingdome's seats were close to the action. Downstairs, foul territory was tight, while Oakland's is huge and badly shaped. Upstairs, the dome's seats were closer to the field than any other park built since the 1950s, and maybe even since the 1930s.
This was true behind the plate, and was even more dramatically the case halfway down the lines in foul territory, where the dome was 60 or 70 feet closer that the Coli.

The Coli's huge foul territory (the worst in any post-1914 park) made it the home of the most exciting play in baseball -- the caught foul pop-up.

The environs of both parks couldn't have been more different. The Coli sits in a pedestrian-unfriendly suburban world of huge parking lots and freeways, with nothing of any human interest nearby. The dome had smaller parking lots, and was within a block or so of the city's historic district, a place full of great buildings, restaurants, bars, art galleries, bookstores, and other retail. It was also an easy walk from the edge of downtown, and from the International District (the city's Chinatown and Japantown) which was also full of restaurants and retail.

There was quite a bit of free parking within walking distance of the dome -- is there any at the Coli?

One park encouraged home runs, while the other encourages foul outs. Which would you rather see?

Bartleby's comments about Tiger Stadium were spot on. This was probably the most underrated of the classic parks, and it was one of the best of any period. Seeing multiple games there, as Bartleby did, is an advantage in formulating comparisons.

To call Tiger Stadium a wash with the Coliseum is like saying that Kirby Puckett and Randy Johnson are similar in appearance, and calls into question any credibility on the subject.

Jeffrey said...

John P.-

I only mentioned stadiums I have been too. Of those out of state, the Kingdome was the one I visited the most (probably as many times as Candlestick, like about 15 times each). It was like watching a baseball game in a high school gym.

I never went to Detroit, though I wish I had. It looked very cool on TV.

I don't know if I agree that the Coliseum used to be top 5, but it was better than those stadiums I had the privilege of visiting back in the late 80's early 90's.

For sure.... the pop foul is not one of the things I want to see very often in another stadium.

Anonymous said...

Why would this LA stadium need two visitors locker rooms? Couldn't visiting teams share one locker room every Sunday? Just curious.

Brian said...

Tiger Stadium, although I was never privileged to visit it, is my favorite stadium of all time (at least from pictures). Certainly Tiger Stadium's seating was better than the Coliseum's. But the age, lack of parking, lousier neighborhood than Oakland's, and cramped concourses count against it.

Re: the Kingdome's foul territory, it looks pretty big in this picture (you have to ignore the diagram super-imposed on top of it, but you should get the idea):
http://www.carmelproducts.com/images/seattle%20kingdome.jpg

bartleby said...

Brian,

Why count age, cramped concourses, and lack of parking against Tiger Stadium but not Wrigley Field, Fenway, or Yankee Stadium? All of those venues suffer from these same problems, yet you have rated them "clearly superior" to the Coli while TS only rates "a wash."

For that matter, I'm not sure where "lack of parking" is coming from. As a city which has shrunk from 2 million people than less than one million, there is no shortage of empty lots in Detroit. I don't recall any problem parking the three times I visited Tiger Stadium; on one occasion I parked for free on the street right in front of the ballpark.

I also have to question "cramped concourses" and "lousier neighborhood" as differentiating factors. The Coli's concourses are plenty crampled, and the area around it is plenty lousy. I don't have comparative crime statistics, but from a "feeling of personal security" standpoint I'd rate TS and the Coli about the same. That is, safe enough on game night, but you probably wouldn't want to be hanging around on a night where there's nothing going on. And yes, I did go there at night (and by myself). TS also had the advantage of actually having a a few neighborhood bars nearby, unlike the Coli.

Again, not to nitpick, and I agree with most of your comments, but I do feel TS belongs in the "clearly superior" category.

John P. said...

Re: the Kingdome's foul territory, it looks pretty big in this picture (you have to ignore the diagram super-imposed on top of it, but you should get the idea):
http://www.carmelproducts.com/images/seattle%


What you are seeing there is severe geometric distortion caused by a very wide angle lens.

Check out this diagram:
http://www.andrewclem.com/Baseball/Kingdome.html#diag

Click on "baseball: 1991" to see the final configuration. Fair territory a little beyond the bases is about 55'. At the coliseum, it's about 85'.

Marine Layer said...

8:52: Ideally they'd only need one visiting locker room. But as is often the case with new facilities, the bowels are thoroughly overplanned and overbuilt. You may find 4-5 locker rooms, a half dozen dressing rooms, and now clubs and other fan amenities.

I don't really have anything to say about ballpark vs. ballpark, BTW.

Jeffrey said...

wasn't the chamber of commerce Earthquake event yesterday? Anything newsworthy come of it?

Marine Layer said...

Nope. It was basically a meet-and-greet.

Anonymous said...

This idea of teams sharing stadiums in LA and Santa Clara makes a great deal of sense. Has anyone explored the possibility of creating a NEW stadium in Oakland for the A's and Raiders to share?

Is it beyond the scope of modern architects to create such a stadium hat would suit both sports and be aesthetically pleasing? And in Downtown Oakland??

Marine Layer said...

The Raiders would prefer that a shared stadium be located in Oakland, not Santa Clara. They haven't been as vocal about it as the 49ers.

It's beyond the scope of modern architects, it's just prohibitively expensive to do it. Putting in something like a partial roof would add $100 million and many would balk, think a roof is mere ornamentation.

Downtown Oakland? No, unless someone can figure out how to pay for business relocations and many parking garages. There are many in Oakland who want a new convention center. Package a new stadium with a convention center and garages and you might have something similar to what was done with Qwest Field in Seattle. It could cost $2 billion.

John P. said...

Is it beyond the scope of modern architects to create such a stadium hat would suit both sports and be aesthetically pleasing?

It's not an architectural issue -- it's a client issue. Teams want venues optimized for their sport, not the other guy's sport. And on top of that, they want mega-doses of club seats, suites, super-premium field level seats, restaurants, bars, and back-of-the-house spaces for players, training, etc. Check out the new $1.5 billion Yankee Stadium.

Anonymous said...

Building a sate of the art Raiders/Niners stadium at the Coliseum sight would make sense. Transportation and parking already exist at a perfectly central location for both teams.

In such a deal I wonder if the potential economic benefit for Oakland would offset losing the A's.

Dan said...

Only issue is hell will freeze over before the Niners would move to Oakland, particularly the Coliseum area of the city. Transportation is about the only advantage it has over where Candlestick Park is now, and you're still left with the problem of who will pay for it. I can't see any sports team voluntarily paying for a stadium at the Coliseum site with their own money which means Oakland would have to cough up the full $800 million to build a stadium at the Coliseum site.

Tony D. said...

Dan 9:42,
Respectfully disagree with you on that one. I think the Coliseum would make for an excellent fallback plan for both the Raiders and Niners in the event the Santa Clara intitiative were to fail. As R.M. demonstrated I believe earlier this year, once the A's leave you could totally renovate the western portion of the Coliseum with another "Mt. Davis West." And because 1) there are only 8 games per year and 2) because the name of the NFL game is "drive to, tailgate, watch game, drive from," the surrounding area isn't as much of a concern as it would be for a "take in a downtown meal/drink, walk to game, watch game, take in a downtown meal/drink, 81 times per year" MLB game.

Dan said...

Tony, I agree it's feasible, IF the renovations are paid in full by the public. But I would not count on Al Davis, the Yorks, or any other private entities to pitch in to support building a more permanent stadium solution in the industrial wasteland of south Oakland. If it happens Oakland and Alameda Co will be footing the bill (which we all know will never happen).

Anonymous said...

I agree. The Jets/Giants model with the Meadowlands is a great example. And it seems a similar model is in the works for LA.

Raiders fans won't go to Niners games and vice versa, what's the big issue? The Niners will have a BART accessible stadium that inner city SF fans can easily reach, Santa Clara might as well be LA for most SF residents as far as public transit goes...

funding is obviously tricky but with two teams, two cities and the NFL involved I can't see how this idea would be ignored.

Dan said...

Looks like San Diego has fallen down the list of potential teams that will move. After almost 3 years of their search in San Diego being stalled the city and team are negotiating again and the city of SD is supporting and pushing a downtown stadium site to the east of PETCO Park. The move "front runner" may be off the table if SD can get this done, and the LA stadium is having what the NFL undoubtedly wanted as a side effect of prompting threatened markets to make progress.

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/nov/10/chargers-city-are-discussing-downtown/

Es Lubbis said...

A local Oakland business group has been spearheading a movement to keep Raiders, A's and Warriors in Oakland at existing Coliseum/Arena site. Designs include demolishing Coliseum to allow for both a Raider(and maybe 49er) stadium and a baseball focused park. Concept would include connecting with Coliseum BART and new Oakland Airport Connector(OAC).

If anyone has an interest to help support or contribute time to this very tall effort, please let me know.