Field of Schemes
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July 24, 2004

Standing on the shoulders of Giants

Contra Costa Times columnist Eric Gilmore points out what we did yesterday about the giant funding hole in the A's latest stadium plan:

The price tag for a new stadium at this site is around $400 million. Even if Schott and Hofmann fork over $100 million, someone else will have to pay $300 million.
Where's that money going to come from? Oakland's schools are broke, sending out pink slips as if they were pieces of junk mail. The city has higher priorities: public safety, housing and education, to name three.

Gilmore's solution? "[A's owners] Schott and Hofmann should follow the Giants' lead and recruit an entire team of investors to own the A's and build a new stadium."

It's a tempting idea - and it's one reason why the Giants' self-financed ballpark gives Bud Selig fits - but it probably wouldn't work: the proposed Oakland stadium would be $100 million more expensive than the Giants' $306 million Pac Bell Park, for one thing. For another, the Giants didn't get "investors" in the team to fund their stadium; they sold $75 million in personal seat licenses (taking advantage of the dot-com money that was flooding the region in the late '90s), and took out loans for much of the rest, leaving the team with $18 million a year in mortgage payments for the next two decades.

If a new Oakland stadium can't bring in enough new revenue to pay off its construction costs - and almost no new stadiums do - bringing in extra investors to sink money into a losing proposition wouldn't help much, as the St. Louis Cardinals discovered last year. Has anyone thought of just paying off the Raiders to let them tear down Mount Davis?

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