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May 24, 2011

Why won't the Giants negotiate an A's stadium solution?

Great piece at on the likely options for San Francisco Giants owner Bill Neukom in his never-ending standoff with Oakland A's owner Lew Wolff over the A's future home. As site proprietor Marine Layer writes, Neukom can basically go three ways:

  • Refuse to bargain over territorial rights to San Jose, and hope the A's move out of town. He asserts that Neukom would then be forced to compensate Wolff for the territorial rights to the East Bay; I'm less certain that that's part of MLB bylaws, but I'm sure that Wolff would attempt to work that into any deal to relocate.
  • Refuse to bargain, and keep paying revenue sharing to the A's while the team stays put in Oakland.
  • Take a payoff from Wolff to allow the A's to move to San Jose. estimates the cost to the Giants as maybe $12.5 million a year in lost revenues, which would mean an up-front payment in the $100-150m range should be enough to make it worth Neukom's while (caution: extremely back-of-the-envelope math at work here). The question, as I've raised here before, is whether that kind of price tag would be worth Wolff's while — presumably not, or else the A's wouldn't be stuck in this holding pattern.

Marine Layer concludes that "No matter what Neukom decides, it looks like he’ll have to pay," which is a bit harsh: He'd get benefits from each scenario as well, don't forget (sole rights to the Bay Area, a continued monopoly on all the rich bits of the region, or a pile of territorial rights cash, respectively). But clearly Neukom doesn't see Door #3 as a preferred option, at least not at the price Wolff is willing to pay. Of such decision matrices is gridlock made.


Unfortunately for Marine Layer and the rest of Athletics Nation, option (b) is probably going to be how it's going to be.

Neukom and the Giants may have the perfect foil in Lew Wolff, who would rather stay in an inferior park using short-term leases rather than to make a strong move (San Jose-Diridon or Victory Court) and force the issue. Perhaps his experience at Fremont so soured him on putting his finances out there that he's now too risk-averse to taking another chance.

The longer this goes, the stronger the Giants get as a franchise (at least financially), and if the A's remain permanently weakened and on MLB life support, so much the better for Neukom and the Giants.

MLB and Wolff had also better realize that the window for getting the San Jose stadium started is rapidly closing, as the mayor and political leadership down in San Jose is about to face a financial crapstorm of their own with police and fire budget cuts, and there may no longer be the political will in the city to build out the SJ-Diridon stadium.

Posted by SierraSpartan on May 24, 2011 10:51 AM

here we go again, billy "bow tie" and his 800 lb. giants elephant in a small room a.k.a. the bay area have no good reason to move the process along.
let's face it, the giants own the market and the a's (as in daze) are an afterthought, on a weak f.m. radio station and the 3rd choice on the local sports cable tv monopoly.
it's not a strong 2 franchise market like ny, chi or la are.
there's never been a time when both franchises were strong at the same time for any extended time period.
the a's are stuck between a rock (giants) and a hard place (commish bud-dy's reticence to deal with the bow tie").
looks like it's gonna be the "luckiest city since hiroshima" - oakland - for the a's for a long time to come.

Posted by Paul W. on May 24, 2011 07:50 PM

Some other things at play. Jerry Brown is continuing his push to phase out local redevelopment agencies so this may make the process of assembling that last parcel of land pretty hard. (Gov. Brown's proposals here make me wonder what the folks in Sacramento will come up with for a new Kings arena.) On top of that, and also Bud Selig has his hands full with the financial difficulties of the owners of the Mets and Dodgers, respectively. Although the A's are in a tough spot, they appear to at least be a more solvent entity than the A's and Dodgers. I'm guessing the A's will be in the (or whatever it will be called) Coliseum for the foreseeable future.

Posted by jjo916 on May 25, 2011 02:46 AM

Actually the A's aren't on a weak station anymore. They're now on the Bay Area's first strong sports alternative station to long time competitor and Giants mouthpiece KNBR. It's the first step in the right direction for the A's in a long time when it comes to exposure.

Posted by Dan on May 25, 2011 12:12 PM

the coverage area f.m. station mentioned fades out in hilly areas in the south bay and s.f. city. try driving around the bay area and you'll experience this for yourself.
judging by the a's attendance this year, it's not drawing customers to the coliseum.

Posted by Paul W. on May 26, 2011 02:47 PM

The Bay Area is a two-team market but the problem is the 2-teams play 12 miles apart. Bad placement..

San Jose is in fact a different Metro area than SF-Oakland.

Therefore MLB is ignoring the richest and corporate filled part of the Bay Area by letting the Giants control it.

The A's want to move 50 miles away from the Giants in the same general market. The East Bay is owned by the Giants because those fans have a choice since both teams are so close to them.

In the South Bay both teams are too far and the Giants only get 20% of their season ticket holder base from their. They get far more from the East Bay or the heart of the A's territory...Go figure.

In the end it does not make sense to build in Oakland as if that was possible you would see the Giants negotiate San Jose real fast to the A's.

The Giants want the A's to rot and get contracted or move away.

12.5 Million is terrible math. The South Bay is not that valuable to the Giants as people assume. Those 8,000 season ticket holders are not going to give up their tix because the A's are there.

Those fans are hardcore and drive up 1 hour each way because they are just that...hardcore.

Most people including myself (Lifelong Giants fan) won't make that trip on a consistent basis. It is like driving from Orange County to Los Angeles...too far for a baseball game.

It is too bad because in San Jose the A's would have a larger payroll than the Giants. That is what the Giants fear....once again being second fiddle as they were years ago when they played in Candlestick.

Selfishness and greed...Only a lawsuit from the City of San Jose can get the A's there....That is coming soon unless Selig does something by end of this year.

San Jose is shovel ready and funding is in place...

Posted by Sid on June 1, 2011 07:28 PM

Only 25% of Silicon Valley corporations do biz with the Giants and that will not change with a San Jose team.

That other 75% is untapped because of the distance and that would make the A's a powerhouse revenue wise that would propel their payroll over the Giants.

If 12.5M was accurate why not adjust their revenue sharing amount? They pay 40M a year now...Why not just simply tell them to pay 25M and its settled.

This is not hard math to figure out...

Posted by Sid on June 1, 2011 07:32 PM

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