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Oakland is going to have to choose between the A’s and the Raiders

Sep 4, 2014, 9:46 AM EDT

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Mark Purdy of the Mercury News has a good, detailed story that cuts through a lot of the fog about the future of the Athletics in Oakland. Which, he notes, is inextricably tied up with the Raiders’ future in Oakland. Put simply, the city can have one team, but not the other for a lot of complicated but, ultimately, compelling reasons.

The A’s, it seems, are going to build a new stadium on the site of the Coliseum or they’re going to play in a different city. There seems no escaping that fact. Major League Baseball, therefore, needs to be sure that there is a city that it and every other owner can get behind if the Raiders get what they want before the A’s get what they want.


  1. jrs45 - Sep 4, 2014 at 9:50 AM

    That’s a shame. I’m sure they’ll choose the Raiders. I hope the A’s can win won!

    • pillaging4fun - Sep 6, 2014 at 11:20 AM

      they already choosed the A’s, 81 games vs 10 games makes it easy to choose. The Raiders are gone

  2. jkcalhoun - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    Oakland will probably chose the Raiders, but the odds aren’t all that good that the Raiders will choose Oakland.

    • historiophiliac - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      Ooooh, a love triangle.

    • clydeserra - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:22 AM

      this is a false choice that Purdy outlines. Nothing is going to happen unless there is funding from outside the city.

      That is not happening. Not now, not in the near future.

  3. rawdog2013 - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:09 AM

    I’m a fan of both teams and sick of all this. Make a decision and get on with it.

  4. clydeserra - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    The A’s and raiders will be playing in the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum this week, and this time in 2024.

    And that is OK by me.

    • historiophiliac - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      But, it would still be funny if Selig showed up for a game there and they trolled him with “Do You Know The Way To San Jose.”

      • 22yearsagotoday - Sep 4, 2014 at 7:07 PM

        La La La La La La La La La!

  5. echech88 - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    I bet the new commissioner accomplishes more on the A’s to San Jose front in a year than Bud Selig did in the past decade.

    Giants territory or not, you have a Northern Californian city that is waiting for this team with open arms and wants to facilitate a brand new stadium.

    This is a no-brainer. If the Raiders force MLB’s hand just set up a safer, shorter-term arrangement like what the Orioles & Nats have to make it work for everyone financially. A state of the art ballpark for the A’s helps MLB’s brand more than constant stories of the team being flooded by sewage.

    • jkcalhoun - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      I’ll bet he doesn’t.

      It’s the owners who decide, and they chose to uphold the portion of the MLB constitution that grants the rights to San Jose to the Giants.

      Of course we don’t know exactly why they did that, but the speculation is that they don’t want to undermine the value of their own territorial rights.

      If you’re looking for a different outcome, you’re banking on a serious threat to the antitrust exemption that makes all this exclusivity possible. Which the next commissioner is going to do everything in his power to undermine, not encourage.

      • Paper Lions - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:42 AM

        Exactly. The only way a commissioner ever gets anything done is by getting the majority of owners to agree on the idea. The commissioner doesn’t even get a vote and he certainly cannot unilaterally make decisions. Good luck getting the required number of owners to sign off on giving away a region considered SF territory. No owner will do that for fear that the same thing could happen to them….no matter how unfair that may be to the city in question.

      • Craig Calcaterra - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:46 AM

        More like two-thirds, actually. It may be 75% for issues this big. Not 100% sure. It’s not a majority, though.

    • jkcalhoun - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:22 PM

      A state of the art ballpark for the A’s helps MLB’s brand more

      This argument is frequently made here, so let me try to explain why I think the owners didn’t buy it.

      I think it comes down to the owners’ overriding concern for their own regional brands. The Giants argued successfully that a significant portion of the value of their franchise, and (more importantly to the other owners) any franchise, is derived from the stability of its territorial rights.

      For example, when teams negotiate with regional networks to license the rights to its games, rights that lately have been offered and agreed to for periods of up to 20 years, it’s assumed that the value of those rights over the period of the contract won’t be diluted by the availability of competing games played by an additional team in the same region.

      Even more to the point, as an investment ownership of a major league franchise is lucrative much less for the annual revenues it generates than for the rate at which its resale value increases over time. (Just ask the Glass family, who will profit very handsomely when they finally let the Royals loose.) But how much is a team really worth? Whatever you can get someone to pay, of course, and what a prospective buyer will pay will be reduced if the likelihood of a relocation or expansion into the franchise’s territory is increased.

      So the owners were ultimately reluctant to set a precedent that signals that they are willing to resolve problems with franchises, when they arise, by modifying the territorial rights of other franchises.

      Of course the MLB brand is somewhat tarnished whenever the plumbing backs up in Oakland. But the owners have decided that they’ll take steps to resolve those issues without burdening the brand of the Yankees, the Dodgers, and all the others, including the Giants.

      • hackerjay - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:44 PM

        Obviously though, the A’s moving to San Jose wouldn’t really affect the Giants’ TV profitability. It’s not like the A’s games aren’t already being broadcast in the same area as the Giants. An A’s move to San Jose would maybe have a slight negative effect on Giants’ attendance, but even then, people in San Jose that are Giants fans aren’t going to switch allegiances because the A’s moved 35 miles south.
        This isn’t an issue like the Nationals/Orioles where a team was being moved in from hundreds of miles away.

      • jkcalhoun - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:56 PM

        the A’s moving to San Jose wouldn’t really affect the Giants’ TV profitability

        The Giants claim the opposite, but I wasn’t making a point about the Giants’ revenues in any case. The main point is about the effect of the potential for instability of territorial rights on franchise values and licensing values — for any franchise.

        In other words, to make sense of the outcome here, you have to stop looking at San Jose and start looking at New Jersey.

      • blabidibla - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:55 PM

        As a long time resident of San Jose, I would disagree Hackerjay. San Jose has long sought out their own identity separate from San Francisco. People in the south bay tend to be fans of both teams, not one or the other. If the A’s moved into San Jose, they would fully embrace the team as their own. They would likely still cheer on the Giants, but merchandise and tickets from south bay fans would largely go to the A’s.

      • clydeserra - Sep 4, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        this is pretty spot on. the Yankees/Mets/Phillies can’t be too fond of the rays up and moving to New jersey. They are protecting their interest.

        And to Hakerjays’ point, I bet the long term TV revenues are more of an issue for the Giants than attendance. The A’s are on the third tier sports in most cable/satellite packages. moving them up means more money to the A’s and less allocated for when the Giants deal is allocated.

        A move to a larger, more affluent area would probably coincide with a new cable deal for the A’s (i think they are up after 2016 or 17). That money has to come from somewhere, and I don’t think the cable industry has much wiggle room with consumer price.

    • simon94022 - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      The O’s-Nats settlement makes it almost impossible for MLB to let the A’s have San Jose. The Nats moved into an area where the O’s had only broadcast rights, not territorial rights. The O’s had no veto and were not contractually entitled to compensation. Nonetheless, Selig decided to compensate them anyway with the MASN deal, which was possible because of all the new money DC taxpayers were funneling into the league.

      Fast forward 9 years: MASN is a disaster and the Orioles are litigating in Federal court against MLB and the Nats. Meanwhile, San Jose involves the Giants’ actual geographic territory (fair or unfair, and how that came about under prior owners is irrelevant). If Baltimore got a big payoff for the Nats moving to a nearby region that was NOT within their territory, the Giants are going to get at least a comparable payoff for given up part of their actual territory).

      Problems: (1). San Jose unlike DC will not pay for an A’s stadium. Where does the money come from to buy off the Giants? (2) nobody in baseball wants to repeat the MASN fiasco. Better to leave territorial rights untouched.

  6. gbart22 - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:52 AM

    Well Oakland already announced a stadium deal with the raiders so it would appear they’ve made their choice. also let’s be real about this if you had to choose between the nfl or baseball the nfl would always win based on popularity alone.

    • Paper Lions - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      That’s because the Raiders are more willing to foot the bill to build a stadium than the A’s are.

      • simon94022 - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:25 PM

        No. The A’s are only asking for development rights to the Colisseum land. The Raiders are looking for the public sector to foot most of the bill for their stadium via development rights, payoff of existing stadium and arena debt, and infrastructure spending to the tune of $1 billion or more.

        Oakland probably favors the Raider plan, but it’s hard to believe Alameda County taxpayers are that stupid. And nothing happens without County approval.

      • APBA Guy - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:33 PM

        Exactly right, Simon. The A’s are willing to pay all the remaining debt on the Mausoleum and the basketball Arena. The Raiders want the taxpayers to eat that, plus pony up another $ 550M in infrastructure and $ 200-400M in purchase costs of privately held land.

        The A’s would require a much smaller infrastructure investment, and no land repurchase.

    • misterschmo - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:03 PM

      Query: Is a partially filled stadium 81 times at MLB prices better or worse than a full stadium 10 times at NFL prices?

      • clydeserra - Sep 4, 2014 at 2:31 PM

        because the raiders sell out?

        that is news!

    • pillaging4fun - Sep 6, 2014 at 11:23 AM

      the Raiders are gone. think about it> 81 games vs 10 games. the obvious choice is the A’s. what u hear is alot of smoke.

  7. RonKarate - Sep 4, 2014 at 10:58 AM

    Move the Raiders to Los Angeles already. There are more Raiders decals on cars in L.A. than there are for the Dodgers and Angels combined. They’ve got a huge fanbase.

    • Dogsweat - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:34 PM

      Exactly, the Raiders can get a sweet deal in L.A. This deal the owner has to pay for the majority of the stadium. L.A. has already offered them everything.

      • gloccamorra - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:27 PM

        The Raiders (and Rams) left L.A. because it was the first city to say no to public financing. There are no sweet deals to be had there, just entrepreneurs trying to incorporate a stadium into development plans, often on city land that won’t have city cash included.

      • Dogsweat - Oct 14, 2014 at 5:46 PM

        It’s always a pleasure to talk to a toothless Raider on a bike collecting cans.

  8. milleb3 - Sep 4, 2014 at 11:01 AM

    Reblogged this on brookemiller23 and commented:
    I feel like the A’s should move cities. They’re starting to play really well and they don’t have a great fanbase there, so they have nothing to lose.

    • hookersdontsnuggle - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      Obviously you’ve never been to an A’s game. Your assessment of the A’s fan base couldn’t be more wrong.

      • blabidibla - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:59 PM

        Then why can’t they sell tickets? They consistently contend all year long and yet attendance is consistently near the bottom of the league.

    • clydeserra - Sep 4, 2014 at 2:40 PM

      yeah, you are wrong. and Bladibdla is not using useful information.

      Currently the A’s are at about 24 out of 30 in attendance. But they have had something like 14 sell outs in 68 games this year. (also there was one “true” double header that only had one attendance figure counted).

      If you look at percentage of capacity, they are at 71% which is about 14th in the majors, right in the middle.

      What is happening here is the A’s limited capacity of the stadium by tarping off most of the upper deck. they do not open it. If they would for games that would sell out, they would be much higher on the list.

      Further, season ticket sales drive most of the attendance figures and those lag behind success a couple of years.

      • blabidibla - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        Ridiculous. You’re cherry picking.

        They tarp the upper section because THEY DON”T SELL OUT. Tarping that section inflates that 71% capacity rating. If they took it off for all the non sell outs as well, they would be right back in the 24-27 range for attendance percentage – if not lower. They average 25,004 per game. The Giants average 41,606.

        14 sell outs in 68 home games this year is hardly something to brag about for a team that has been a top 5 team all season long. The A’s are looking at their 3rd straight playoff appearance. These numbers are UP from a few seasons ago, so I don’t understand your final point regarding season tix sales lagging behind success. This is success for them in OAK!

      • clydeserra - Sep 4, 2014 at 9:35 PM

        when you want to discuss this civilly, let me know. I am not cherry picking anything. I am demonstrating that you were not using full information.

        Don’t make this into a giants/A’s pissing match. this is about business, not about what team is better or which fan base is cooler.

      • blabidibla - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:00 AM

        Not making it a pissing match, and you are cherry picking. You are trying to manipulate stats into a positive that simply doesn’t exist. I posted the Giants numbers because they are in nearly the same market and are supported by their fan base.

        If I have 1 scoop of ice cream in a bowl, it doesn’t somehow become 2 scoops when I put it in a smaller bowl. It just looks bigger by comparison. It’s still one scoop. By your analysis, the A’s should tarp off more of the stadium. Then they would have more sell outs and increase that 71% of capacity – that is meaningless as far as business is concerned. The attendance numbers are what they are – bad. The A’s consistently fail to draw large crowds in OAK, even in successful years.

        FWIW, I’m a San Jose native, who has long been a fan for both teams. OAK has not supported this team. It’s time to move.

      • clydeserra - Sep 5, 2014 at 12:20 AM

        what are you talking about? I am not spinning this for the A’s.

        what is cherry picked?

        if they take off the tarps they have less sell outs and less percentage capacity. BUT for sell out games like the giants, the red sox, the yankees, fireworks and other special events, they get 12,000 more tickets sold per those games. that is 160,000 more tickets sold so far this year.

        Its not that they won’t only sell 16,000 or less on a wednesday night with the royals, its that they would have greater totals for the year and would rank higher if they maximized the stadium for premium games.

        Lew wolff and Fisher have purposefully suppressed the attendance figures with this strategy.

        The reason the giants had 41000 every game was the season ticket sales. in 2013 the seats were about 60% filled. One time when I was there after Renel gleefully announced the X number sell out in a row to 16,000 empty seats, the 15 people in my section started laughing. Giants fans.

        You have to remember the history. Before the renovations and the new park, the Colisium out drew candlestick. the Coliseum is an inferior venue and location. (that I love). Its not “Oakland.” Its the entire situation.

        I live in SF. I do not hate the giants. The A’s are my team, though.

      • blabidibla - Sep 5, 2014 at 10:50 AM

        Your 71% percentage of capacity number was what I was referring to as cherry picked. It’s a meaningless statistic.

        I hear you on how they would increase total attendance if they removed the tarps, but I think you are making a large assumption if you believe that they would fill all 12,000 more seats for those games. The reason it’s tarped is they can’t sell those seats, even for the big games.

        Let’s assume your estimate of 16,000 empty seats during the Giants game you attended is correct. Taking that number off the top of the 41,606 average sold brings us to roughly 25,000 in attendance. That’s the same as tickets sold for the A’s. How many empty sold seats do we discount the A’s fan base now?

        Sorry if I came across as aggressive, but your claim that somehow total attendance is not as useful as percentage of capacity was pretty silly. I disagree with your point that if they removed the tarp they would be much higher on the total attendance figures. Even with your estimate of another 160,000 tickets sold, they move up only 2 spots on the list.

  9. pandorasdadca - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    It isn’t like there isn’t local precedence for this. The 49ers play and practice in Santa Clara. The new stadium sits about 200 feet from the San Jose city limits. People will drive 30 min down 880 to see the A’s play in a new stadium. Let the A’s go south, built a football only stadium in Oakland and lets move on already.

  10. kcrobert10 - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:21 PM

    Oh the wayward franchise will have to move again. Left Philadelphia for kc the kc for Oakland. Now Oakland for?? Got to believe san Antonio, las Vegas, or Portland have to be lining up to see Oakland’s ownership groups. One or two of these cities will get one of those two franchises cuase I just don’t believe given current economic conditions in California that they will ever get a publicly funded stadium deal done.

  11. thebadguyswon - Sep 4, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    They’ll pick the NFL I’m sure. Time for the A’s to start looking around. Portland?

    • sometimesimisscandlestick - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:32 PM

      The Hillsboro Hops play in a beautiful stadium, much nicer than you would think for a short single A league. The A’s could expand that.

  12. ud1951 - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    Come to San Antonio, then the AL West will have three teams in Texas…..

  13. Dogsweat - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    Portland A’s 2016.

    • jwbiii - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:25 PM

      More than you probably want to know about Portland as a relocation site.

      • Dogsweat - Sep 4, 2014 at 7:22 PM

        Yea, No matter where a team relocates there is always going to be another franchise in that region.

        It means nothing, loyalties will switch with winning. One team is going to have to leave(they both will not share a venue) and IMO it should be the Athletics due to their faithful and loyalty to the area. Portland was a suggestion, and a good one, because people in the deep Northern part of the state can still follow the Athletics.

    • jwbiii - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:26 PM

  14. Dogsweat - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:37 PM

    It is a shame the A’s are being bullied and are the underdog— and all they have done is beenfaithful to the area.

    • jkcalhoun - Sep 4, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      I feel bad for the A’s fans who have been ill served by the ownership of that franchise since the Haas family sold it.

      But I can’t feel bad for the A’s.

      Let me give you an idea of who we’re talking about. The A’s ownership up until recently claimed that no plans for a new stadium in Oakland were feasible, that a move to San Jose, requiring a modification of the MLB constitution, was the only viable choice.

      Well, the other owners didn’t cave in to that ultimatum, and good for them. Subsequently, guess what suddenly became feasible for the A’s to consider?

      • clydeserra - Sep 4, 2014 at 9:30 PM

        We have been skeptical of Mr. Wolff since the tarps. The Fremont experience did nothing for him, and then the SJ gambit was just awful. bad mouthing the stadium, the fans and the City.

        I give him credit for attending games, he goes to a lot. He has 3 seats, a suite, directly behind home plate, and behind the A’s dugout. he is behind the plate or the dugout for many many games. Maybe even a majority. Not bad for a guy that lives in LA.

  15. gloccamorra - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:39 PM

    There’s plenty of room for a baseball park and football stadium in Oakland, the former in the northeast corner of the lot and the latter in the southeast corner, turning the current stadium into shared parking in front of the Oracle.

    The problem is MONEY. The city of Oakland doesn’t have any, and the Raiders not only won’t contribute, they want the $120 million they owe from the last Coliseum remodel taken off their hands.

    Complicating everything is the City of Oakland is politically dysfunctional as well as broke. People keep hoping the state will step in, but Governor Jerry Brown is a former Oakland mayor, and knows better than to jump in that tar pit.

    • clydeserra - Sep 4, 2014 at 9:23 PM

      well, Mayor brown is kinda the reason we are here. the uptown stadium would have been funded, but Mayor Brown got a different project done there that he preferred.

      Oakland Uber Alles

  16. 22yearsagotoday - Sep 4, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    Giants and Jets don’t even play in New York. So Portland is a possibility.

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