27 March 2009

MLB projects 5-10% attendance drop in '09

A Reuters piece projects that this season, MLB attendance will drop 5-10% from 2008. In the article is some information from Lew Wolff, which indicates how well/poorly the A's may do at the gate:

The A's, who cut ticket prices by an average of 5 percent, are at 87 percent of their targeted budget for season-ticket revenue, where normally they would have finished by now, Wolf (sic) said. The club budgeted for a 9 percent decline in attendance.

Of the paid attendance, there will be additionally high numbers of no-shows due to already prevailing factors or the economy. If the A's are way out of contention at the ASB, the expected fire sale, Holliday and all, will drive attendance down even further.

Get nervous satellite users

The Merc's John Ryan has an update on the DirecTV-CSNCA stalemate: No news is not good gnus. It's not an unfamiliar tale, as illustrated by the previously mentioned KJZZ-DirecTV tussle. Dish Network is also in the same situation. Sadly, the broadcasters and the distributors often have seen fit to turn these situations in long, draw out staring contests, pissing off customers in the process. Earlier this week, Ryan reported that Comcast may stop carrying the NFL Network after May 1. That's not such a big deal during the offseason, but as the young network continues to expand its game offerings, tensions will heat up.

Bring on a la carte programming, I say!

Lew: San Jose deserves a MLB team

I'll let the text from David Goll's SV/SJ Business Journal article speak for itself:

Lew Wolff, co-owner and managing partner of the Oakland Athletics, said Thursday San Jose should have a professional baseball franchise, but stopped short of saying his team would fill that role.

At a breakfast reception for the media at The Fairmont San Francisco hotel, which is owned by Wolff, the A's owner said he thinks the Bay Area's largest city "deserves" a Major League Baseball team.

That, folks, is news. A bunch of grousing by the chattering class? Not really news. That said, what happened to your moratorium on speaking about the ballpark situation, Lew?
Update: More articles. First, from CoCoTimes' John Simerman:
"I'm not blaming the community. Even if the market was there, we don't feel there's a physical opportunity for us," Wolff said. "The effort we put into finding a spot in Oakland was tremendous. They're still talking about sites we were studying in 2001. "... We're asking for direction from Major League Baseball. We tried in Oakland, despite the sound bites. Now we need some help."
Next, Eric Young of SF Business Times:
“We’re sort of in the hands of baseball now,” Wolff said Thursday during a breakfast meeting with reporters in San Francisco. The A’s search for a new home “is a baseball issue now more than an A’s issue… Ultimately it has to be determined by baseball, not by me.”
The Lodge works in mysterious ways. Also, Rich "Big Vinny" Lieberman appears to be upset that no one's taking his Coliseum parking lot idea seriously. CoCoTimes' Gary Peterson piles on because of Wolff's "piling on" of Oakland:

You could characterize that as willful ignorance of the economy. You could also portray it as disingenuous posturing in advance of a serious play for San Jose.

It also could be construed as piling on Oakland. For this, Wolff should be ashamed of himself, especially in the wake of the horrific slaying of four police officers that has left Oakland looking for all the feel-good it can get.

I struggled with making any mention of the tragic death of the four OPD officers, two of whom worked at the Coliseum and helped make it a far safer place than the unfair reputation it garnered. (I really didn't want the resulting comments thread to turn into yet another city bashfest.) But for Peterson to link their deaths to the business dealings of a baseball team and try to build a guilt trip - well, not even Mayor Dellums did that.

The Merc's Denis C. Theriault has the last word for the moment, including Wolff apparently shooting down any thoughts of moving to Las Vegas or Sacramento:
"If we want to stay in Northern California," Wolff said, "we don't want to get on a plane and go to another city" to attend games. "I won't name that city."
Wolff goes on to entertain a potential referendum if required in San Jose, or a sale of the team if San Jose Northern California doesn't work out.