Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tampa Bay Rays officials say MLB has lost faith in bay area

Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said Thursday that he wants to keep his team in the region, but “Major League Baseball at this point no longer believes in the Tampa Bay area.’‘

Five years of success on the field, coupled with five years of poor attendance, have taken their toll on his fellow owners, Sternberg said. Under baseball’s revenue sharing system, the Rays collect tens of millions of dollars from other teams, “and that gap is growing,’’ he said.

Sternberg’s comments came during a one-hour discussion at a Hillsborough County Commission meeting, where the Rays were invited to share their goals and a timetable for the new stadium that the Rays contend is necessary to sustain baseball in the long run.

Sternberg dodged any specifics about where he would like a stadium to be located or how soon construction would have to begin. He simply reiterated his contention that Tropicana Field is too far from the demographic and business center of the region.

Thanks to YMA.

Repoz Posted: January 24, 2013 at 05:09 PM | 68 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rays

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Derb Posted: January 24, 2013 at 05:23 PM (#4354355)
Why wouldn't they lose faith in Tampa? They've been a top 10 team for 5 years now (well, we'll say top 15 for 2009), yet they are routinely in last place in attendance. I don't think location of the stadium is a viable argument. One, wasn't it the owners decision to put the team in St. Pete? That's their own fault. Two, Tropicana Field is roughly 30 minutes from downtown Tampa. That's not exactly a huge hike. In Detroit, the Palace is an hour away from downtown Detroit, yet the Pistons always sold out while they were winning.

If Tampa fans aren't selling out the Trop now, they never will. I really don't think a new stadium is going to make much of a difference, either.
   2. Nasty Nate Posted: January 24, 2013 at 05:25 PM (#4354356)
from the article: If the team can begin exploring new stadium sites soon, he said, he thought that could generate enough new corporate support and fan excitement to convince other owners that baseball "can be here for another 50 or 100 years."

Why does the Rays owner have to be worried about what the other owners (or the nebulous entity 'Major League Baseball') think or believe about this situation? Is Sternberg laying the groundwork for a claim that he, of course, doesn't want to extort a free stadium for himself but it's those big meanies who run baseball who are actually pushing for him to get taxpayer money? Where were those other owners and powers-that-be when someone decided to sign that thousand-year (or however long) lease for that cat-walked dump they in?
   3. DA Baracus Posted: January 24, 2013 at 05:26 PM (#4354360)
One, wasn't it the owners decision to put the team in St. Pete?


Not the current owners.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2013 at 05:30 PM (#4354364)
Why does the Rays owner have to be worried about what the other owners (or the nebulous entity 'Major League Baseball') think or believe about this situation? Is Sternberg laying the groundwork for a claim that he, of course, doesn't want to extort a free stadium for himself but it's those big meanies who run baseball who are actually pushing for him to get taxpayer money?


Bingo.
   5. John Northey Posted: January 24, 2013 at 05:55 PM (#4354386)
Well, the owners of the Rays knew where the stadium was, that it had a 30 year lease (from 1998 to 2027 iirc) and that fan support wasn't the best. Now, I suspect they thought a winner would draw more in and somehow Tampa has become the 2nd team in my lifetime to show that isn't enough (Oakland A's of the early 70's is the other example).

From 1969 (moved to Oakland from KC in '68) through the 1976 season the A's were 1st or 2nd with 3 WS titles. They had Reggie, Catfish, and many other memorable players. They had an owner who would pull any stunt to get crowds in. Yet somehow they cracked 1 million just twice, barely, during that stretch. In '81 they made the playoffs and jumped to 4th in attendance and have been over 1 mil a year ever since, twice being 2nd in attendance (Canseco/McGwire years).

The Rays have yet to come within 7k per game of their first season. Have yet to crack 1.9 million outside of that first season and were in the top 10 in attendance in the AL exactly 3 times - first season (7th), 2nd season (10th), and 2010 (9th). Last year they were last again with a very competitive team. Put that same team in Montreal in the Big Owe and you'd get 2 million+ easily.
   6. Nasty Nate Posted: January 24, 2013 at 06:01 PM (#4354392)
From 1969 (moved to Oakland from KC in '68) through the 1976 season the A's were 1st or 2nd with 3 WS titles. They had Reggie, Catfish, and many other memorable players. They had an owner who would pull any stunt to get crowds in. Yet somehow they cracked 1 million just twice, barely, during that stretch. In '81 they made the playoffs and jumped to 4th in attendance and have been over 1 mil a year ever since, twice being 2nd in attendance (Canseco/McGwire years).


If the Rays follow a similar pattern, they don't need a new stadium, they need more time.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2013 at 06:10 PM (#4354398)

From 1969 (moved to Oakland from KC in '68) through the 1976 season the A's were 1st or 2nd with 3 WS titles. They had Reggie, Catfish, and many other memorable players. They had an owner who would pull any stunt to get crowds in. Yet somehow they cracked 1 million just twice, barely, during that stretch. In '81 they made the playoffs and jumped to 4th in attendance and have been over 1 mil a year ever since, twice being 2nd in attendance (Canseco/McGwire years).


They did draw really well in the late 80s with the Bash Brothers. In the early 00s they drew okay, although not as well as the late 80s.

What accounts for why Oaklanders came out to see Canseco and McGwire, but not the good teams of the 70s and 00s?

EDIT: Geez, I didn't know how bad it was in the 70s. The team won three straight championships, and only barely broke a million fans in one of those years. That's terrible. No wonder they almost fled to Denver.
   8. zonk Posted: January 24, 2013 at 06:22 PM (#4354411)
Move them to Chicago, rename them Cubs, move the Cubs to St Pete, rename the Rays, contracts the Rays, many issues solved.
   9. trtaylor6886 Posted: January 24, 2013 at 06:56 PM (#4354431)
It was not the currrent owners or the previous owners who decided to put the stadium in St. Pete. The city built the stadium with the hope of attracting a team back in the 80's.
   10. Tony S Posted: January 24, 2013 at 07:04 PM (#4354436)
What accounts for why Oaklanders came out to see Canseco and McGwire, but not the good teams of the 70s and 00s?


I've heard the absence of the Raiders during that timeframe had something to do with it. (The Orioles' attendance spiked up after the Colts left town, even with teams much inferior to those of Earl Weaver's heyday -- which didn't draw much better than the A's.) This never made much sense to me on the surface -- why would you be less of a baseball fan just because there's a football team in your city? But it does seem to happen.

As for the Rays, it's been decades since I've been in the Tampa area, but from what I understand the stadium location really IS an issue there -- for fans on the east side of the bay there's effectively only one (very congested) way to get there and back. But don't the Rays get really good TV ratings in the area? It doesn't seem like there's a lack of baseball interest.

Then there's the economy. As the middle class absorbs hit after hit, there's a concomitant decrease in discretionary spending...
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 24, 2013 at 07:16 PM (#4354450)
The Orioles' attendance spiked up after the Colts left town, even with teams much inferior to those of Earl Weaver's heyday -- which didn't draw much better than the A's.) This never made much sense to me on the surface -- why would you be less of a baseball fan just because there's a football team in your city? But it does seem to happen.

IMHO, It's not so much football fans going to baseball games after the NFL team left, but baseball fans supporting their team with increased attendance in hopes that would prevent the MLB team from leaving, too. I believe that was the case in Baltimore after Edward Bennett Williams (a noted Washingtonian) purchased the Orioles not long after the Colts abrupt departure. Oriole fans were well aware that non-support would likely result in a move to DC.
   12. zonk Posted: January 24, 2013 at 07:55 PM (#4354474)
It was not the currrent owners or the previous owners who decided to put the stadium in St. Pete. The city built the stadium with the hope of attracting a team back in the 80's.


So they're just an Asia reunion tour away from drawing well?
   13. DL from MN Posted: January 24, 2013 at 08:12 PM (#4354485)
don't the Rays get really good TV ratings in the area?


If that's true it is unlikely MLB leaves. TV is where the real money is and they've never really had a decent stadium experience. In 2027 they'll probably get the stadium and be a decent draw. Nobody expected Tampa to be a top drawing team.

What has the recession done to the Tampa / St. Pete demographics? Is the decline in attendance associated with a decline in the buying power of that market? If so, MLB might actually consider leaving.
   14. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 24, 2013 at 08:19 PM (#4354487)
Why does the Rays owner have to be worried about what the other owners (or the nebulous entity 'Major League Baseball') think or believe about this situation?

Those owners are not required to keep the current revenue sharing system in place.
   15. smileyy Posted: January 24, 2013 at 08:19 PM (#4354488)
In Detroit, the Palace is an hour away from downtown Detroit


Nobody lives (lived?) in Downtown Detroit.
   16. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: January 24, 2013 at 09:40 PM (#4354527)
EDIT: Geez, I didn't know how bad it was in the 70s. The team won three straight championships, and only barely broke a million fans in one of those years. That's terrible. No wonder they almost fled to Denver.
What the hell was going in Oakland anyway? In '71 they made it to the playoffs for the first time in Oakland. So in '72 attendance rises--though not much--and the team is up to 5th in the AL. And they win the World Series. So in '73 attendance rises again--but again, not much--but it must rise a bunch elsewhere and the A's drop to eighth. They win the World Series, again. Then in '74, coming off back-to-back WS titles, attendance drops nearly 2000 per game. WTF?
   17. Tony S Posted: January 24, 2013 at 09:56 PM (#4354543)
What the hell was going in Oakland anyway?


Never quite understood that myself. Charlie Finley was about as beloved then as Jeff Loria is today, so maybe the fans just didn't warm up to the franchise as much as they could have. And the early seventies were a down period for baseball attendance overall. Still, those were great teams, and Finley DID care about winning, so I would have assumed that would have made up for quite a lot...
   18. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 24, 2013 at 10:14 PM (#4354563)
What the hell was going in Oakland anyway?

Finley apparently made the fan experience terrible -- e.g. having like 2 gates open and 1 ticket window making lines interminably long. Also Oakland had a reputation for crime even worse than it does now.

What accounts for why Oaklanders came out to see Canseco and McGwire, but not the good teams of the 70s and 00s?

The 2000s were hurt by the stinginess of Schott and Hoffman who simply refused to re-sign the star players like Giambi (which they dispute) and Tejada (which they don't), the Giants opened a gorgeous park away from Candlestick and Mt Davis was built. The entire Beane strategy of emphasizing value over winning pales next to the Giants' strategy of trying to be the best at everything -- team, stadium, fan experience, etc.

   19. Maury Brown Posted: January 24, 2013 at 10:41 PM (#4354583)
There's several issues with the Rays. Yes, they knew what they were getting. Yes, one would think they would draw better, or at the very least, be able to draw when they are nearing playoff contention. The venue is terrible. It's in a bad location.

But, the matter is a mayor who is at loggerheads with Stu Sternberg about looking for greener pastures within their territory. What's been interesting with both the Rays and A's that you didn't see in 2001 when the Expos were up for relocation is throwing relo outside of the broadcast or physical territory.

Living off the public teet is becoming more and more difficult, and to that I say, thank goodness. As to the region and how the Rays and Marlins wound up there in the first place, I always remember my conversation with Fay Vincent in 2005:
BizBall: Florida is currently struggling to get a new facility. While at the same time, Tampa Bay has had a continued run of poor attendance. There is the perception, real or otherwise, that expansion was done to offset the losses incurred over collusion in the ‘80s. What is your perception of that issue?

Vincent: Well, I think it’s absolutely correct. Indeed, I don’t think there’s any doubt about it. Look, each owner had a $10 million bill and there were about 26 clubs before expansion and 30 at the moment, then $280 million, let’s say $10 million a club – they didn’t have the money. So they did what most would business do, they sold stock, they sold interest in the clubs, in the expansion clubs. In my day two of them - Miami and Denver. And that money, which was vital, paid off their collusion debt. Without it I think baseball would have had a very serious time. Indeed some of the clubs had had a serious time financially, a number of them were in tough shape. I remember we had to subsidize Detroit, which was going under, I think after I left, baseball helped Tampa Bay and I think in Phoenix, and probably other places where I think clubs were in tough shape financially. So there’s no doubt about that, I was there. I suggested that instead of expanding, we move two clubs, one to Denver and one to Miami. Seattle was weak and I thought Houston was another one. There were a number of candidates. We could’ve moved those clubs. I’m glad we didn’t because Seattle turned out to be a great franchise and Houston is all right. I remember one of the owners said, “That’s the single dumbest idea I’ve ever heard!” But what he was really saying is, “We need the money to pay off the union because we colluded.”
   20. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2013 at 11:10 PM (#4354596)
I thought expansion was also done in part to prevent Vince Naimoli from suing MLB after they prevented him from buying and relocating the SF Giants. I think it was about that time that Al Davis successfully sued the NFL to relocate the Raiders back to Oakland and I think MLB did not want to risk losing control of franchise location.

The Rays used to be a really good draw on TV in 2009-2010 IIRC, but viewership fell off pretty sharply last year I believe.
   21. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 24, 2013 at 11:15 PM (#4354598)
The "lost faith in the market" thing has been heard elsewhere, and seems to be part of the standard M.O. when seeking a new facility. But in Tampa's case, it seems to have particular relevance. I've never been a big fan of Tampa as a sport market, but I used to believe that a stadium in downtown Tampa would cure most of the Rays' attendance ills. But seeing Tampa Bay come in at No. 31 in NFL attendance this year — with a relatively new, easily accessible stadium — makes me wonder about the entire market.
   22. DKDC Posted: January 24, 2013 at 11:23 PM (#4354601)
If the other owners are so tired of writing checks to the Rays every year, why don't they save up and buy a new stadium for the Rays themselves? Especially since so many of them are already printing money thanks to the largesse of their own local and state governments.
   23. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: January 24, 2013 at 11:23 PM (#4354602)
I believe I read (here and elsewhere) how various income/disposable income rates/measures for TB metro area are such that the city simply doesn't have enough affluence to support the sports dollar, to the tune of 3 franchises.
   24. Xander Posted: January 24, 2013 at 11:32 PM (#4354606)
Doesn't help that Tampa socialites are dropping like flies.
   25. Dan Posted: January 24, 2013 at 11:40 PM (#4354610)
If the other owners are so tired of writing checks to the Rays every year, why don't they save up and buy a new stadium for the Rays themselves? Especially since so many of them are already printing money thanks to the largesse of their own local and state governments.


The other owners should make a pool and buy the Rays a stadium in Brooklyn. They'd have to pay out less revenue sharing and it would hurt the Yankees. That's win-win for 28 of the owners!
   26. Dag Nabbit is part of the zombie horde Posted: January 24, 2013 at 11:47 PM (#4354616)
One, wasn't it the owners decision to put the team in St. Pete? That's their own fault. Two, Tropicana Field is roughly 30 minutes from downtown Tampa.

People covered the first one already, but in The Extra 2%, Jonah Keri noted that fewer people live within a half-hour drive of the stadium than any other park in MLB. It's on the wrong damn side of the Bay. Tampa isn't too far but all those bridges are bottlenecks. And most people on the Tampa side of the Bay live further from St. Pete than downtown Tampa is. It's hard not to, unless you live on a house boat.

This just goes back to the horrible location of the stadium. The people of St. Petersburg wanted a big league sports team to prove that they weren't a junior partner in the metro area. Way to confuse symptom w/ disease, guys. You don't prove you're the more important city by having a team. You prove you're the more important part by .... being the more important city. Industry. Citizens. Tax base. Stuff like that. Big league teams ususally go there because the bigger places typically make the bigger deals. St. Petersburg did it backwards - and then MLB went to the stadium.
   27. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 24, 2013 at 11:48 PM (#4354617)
It's a win for the Yankees too, those territorial rights won't come cheap. Lord knows the Mets could use the money too.
   28. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 24, 2013 at 11:52 PM (#4354620)
The Orioles' attendance spiked up after the Colts left town, even with teams much inferior to those of Earl Weaver's heyday -- which didn't draw much better than the A's.) This never made much sense to me on the surface -- why would you be less of a baseball fan just because there's a football team in your city? But it does seem to happen.


IMHO, It's not so much football fans going to baseball games after the NFL team left, but baseball fans supporting their team with increased attendance in hopes that would prevent the MLB team from leaving, too. I believe that was the case in Baltimore after Edward Bennett Williams (a noted Washingtonian) purchased the Orioles not long after the Colts abrupt departure. Oriole fans were well aware that non-support would likely result in a move to DC.

The fear of losing the Orioles was certainly one big factor in the attendance spike---after EBW bought the Orioles, the Washington Post was openly inviting him to move them to DC, and being the lawyer that he was, he was always making his promises to keep the team in Baltimore conditional upon the attendance.

But an even bigger factor was that after having been stuck in a second place groove for the past four years, the '79 team put on one of those "miracle" seasons, with comeback after comeback and heroic after heroic. They also switched their flagship radio station from WBAL to a station with a much younger demographic that put a lot more effort into promoting the team. I don't think it's an understatement to say that the 1979-83 teams were the most genuinely beloved Orioles teams of them all, and the increasing attendance reflected that.
   29. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 25, 2013 at 12:02 AM (#4354625)
What the hell was going in Oakland anyway? In '71 they made it to the playoffs for the first time in Oakland. So in '72 attendance rises--though not much--and the team is up to 5th in the AL. And they win the World Series. So in '73 attendance rises again--but again, not much--but it must rise a bunch elsewhere and the A's drop to eighth. They win the World Series, again. Then in '74, coming off back-to-back WS titles, attendance drops nearly 2000 per game. WTF?

I was living in Berkeley in the summer of 1969 and again in the summer of 1971, and went to a ton of A's games. Of the nearly 30 Major League ballparks I've been in over the years, that was far and away the least fan-friendly in every respect. In 1971, in spite of the fact that they were averaging about 11,000 a game, the A's ticket prices were about 25% higher than the Yankees, and you had to buy a yearbook in order to get a simple scorecard. Finley had a reputation as an "innovator", and he put together some great teams, but he put no money or effort whatever in trying to build Oakland's attendance base. If the A's hadn't been one of the two or three most exciting teams in baseball, they could've easily wound up under half a million.
   30. SoSH U at work Posted: January 25, 2013 at 12:13 AM (#4354634)
The Rays used to be a really good draw on TV in 2009-2010 IIRC, but viewership fell off pretty sharply last year I believe.


They were very good in 2010, fell off considerably in 2011 to what seems like mid-pack levels* (perhaps a result of the widespread preseason belief that the Rays were going to decline), then bounced back to what looks like it should be around Top 10 in 2012.

* I only could find Top 5 and Bottom 5 TV rankings, so those are just estimates.

   31. vortex of dissipation Posted: January 25, 2013 at 12:22 AM (#4354640)
In 1973, when I was in high school, my parents and I took a vacation to the Bay Area. They took me to three baseball games, two Giants games and one A's game. One of the Giants games was an 11 inning win over the Dodgers, in front of 26,000 excited fans. I remember the atmosphere as being electric. The A's game was against the Twins, and looking at BR, the attendance was 5,218. I remember at the time being struck by the difference in the atmosphere at the ball parks, despite the fact that the A's were the defending World Series champions. Oakland was just dead compared to Candlestick...
   32. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:50 AM (#4354667)
It's a win for the Yankees too, those territorial rights won't come cheap. Lord knows the Mets could use the money too.

Absolutely. They could start with just waiving the revenue sharing and luxury tax bills for a period of time...or at least raising the luxury tax threshold for the Yankees and Mets by $50M above everyone else or something like that. The problem would be getting NYC to build a 3rd stadium with city funds as part of the equation. Maybe next time Goldman Sachs et al need a bailout they could screw them and build a stadium in Brooklyn instead.
   33. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 25, 2013 at 03:05 AM (#4354685)
Teams shouldn't receive revenue sharing in perpetuity. Put in a time limit - perhaps 5 years out of any 10, or 10 of 20. Think of it as a "financial relegation" or a process that weeds out the incompetent owners by giving them an incentive to sell.
   34. Squash Posted: January 25, 2013 at 03:08 AM (#4354687)
The entire Beane strategy of emphasizing value over winning pales next to the Giants' strategy of trying to be the best at everything -- team, stadium, fan experience, etc.

The A's have been trying to get a new stadium for 10 years. For better or worse part of that is "proving" how bad the stadium is. Candlestick was a dump for years and the Giants didn't spend a dime to improve it, in fact they spent most of the time talking about how terrible it was. They did the same thing the A's did - try like hell to get a new stadium.

The only time the team drew well was 88-92, when they were essentially media ground zero of MLB due to the Bash Brothers and such, and as pointed out above when the Raiders were in LA. Those days were an outlier. The problem has always been that the East Bay is small and not wealthy, yet trying to support three major sports teams (A's, Raiders, Warriors), and have two very popular and successful major teams right next door (Giants, 49ers).
   35. Bhaakon Posted: January 25, 2013 at 07:51 AM (#4354708)
The A's have been trying to get a new stadium for 10 years. For better or worse part of that is "proving" how bad the stadium is. Candlestick was a dump for years and the Giants didn't spend a dime to improve it, in fact they spent most of the time talking about how terrible it was. They did the same thing the A's did - try like hell to get a new stadium.


The Giants ownership spent some money to improve Candlestick after purchasing the team in 1993. They moved the left field bleachers closer to the field of play, replaced the jinky chain link outfield fence with a properly padded one, brought in new concessions, new scoreboard, etc. Did they complain about the venue? Sure, but they still spent on improvements because they needed to attract investors for the privately-funded park, and a shrinking fan-base would not have helped with that.

The problem has always been that the East Bay is small and not wealthy,


That's simply not true. There are 2.5M people in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, all of it is well connected by an excellent public transit system, and both are among the 100 highest income counties in the US. The East Bay alone is comparable to the Denver metro area, and larger/more affluent than places like Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh, and Kansas City. In terms of population, access, and per-capita income, it's debatable whether the South Bay is markedly better (it largely comes down to where you want to draw the borders), and the fact that the A's are planning one of the smallest capacity MLB venues attests to that.

The real benefit to moving South is advertising and luxury box sales from tech companies, both in funding the park and in long-term revenue. They could still attract that money with a new venue in the East Bay, but moving south would give them a proximity advantage over the Giants.
   36. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 25, 2013 at 08:28 AM (#4354713)
In 1973, when I was in high school, my parents and I took a vacation to the Bay Area. They took me to three baseball games, two Giants games and one A's game. One of the Giants games was an 11 inning win over the Dodgers, in front of 26,000 excited fans. I remember the atmosphere as being electric. The A's game was against the Twins, and looking at BR, the attendance was 5,218. I remember at the time being struck by the difference in the atmosphere at the ball parks, despite the fact that the A's were the defending World Series champions. Oakland was just dead compared to Candlestick...

Yeah, but that was only because they were playing the Dodgers, who accounted for about 200,000 of the 834,000 fans the Giants drew that year. The A's outdrew them for the year by nearly 25%.
   37. depletion Posted: January 25, 2013 at 09:33 AM (#4354728)
It's a bit off the point, but the early '70's were pre "Silicon Valley". While Oakland is some distance from San Jose, a lot of tech industry workers live on the east side of the bay. It's understandable that fewer people had disposible income for baseball in that area, until the Si industry started flourishing in, perhaps, the early '80's.

Does it make sense to build an open stadium in Tampa, or does it have to be retractible dome? Wouldn't it be great to have view of the ocean and get the breezes off the water though?
   38. just plain joe Posted: January 25, 2013 at 09:43 AM (#4354733)
Yeah, but that was only because they were playing the Dodgers, who accounted for about 200,000 of the 834,000 fans the Giants drew that year. The A's outdrew them for the year by nearly 25%.


I was in the Air Force and stationed near the Bay Area from the summer of 1975 thru the end of 1978. During that time I went to 35-40 Giants games and a handful of games in Oakland. As was brought out above, the only time the Giants of this era drew large crowds was for games against the Dodgers; we didn't buy tickets in advance and the only time we ended up in the upper deck was an LA game. For other opponents a weekend crowd would be in the neighborhood of 12,000-15,000. The thing I most remember about Candlestick Park was how miserably cold and windy it could be during a night game; day games weren't as bad, provided you could be in the sun. Games at Oakland were almost surreal, I can remember going to a Yankees game and the place was not even half full. One promotion the A's did offer was cheap tickets ($1.00 on some occasions) for military personnel. I guess they figured they would make up the difference in beer sales. They were correct too, the Coliseum used to sell draft beer in 32 ounce cups (less standing in line). One more thing, the outer reaches of the parking lots for both Candlestick and the Coliseum were free form drug emporiums in those days. It is likely that a good percentage of the attendance was righteously messed up on something.
   39. BDC Posted: January 25, 2013 at 09:47 AM (#4354737)
why would you be less of a baseball fan just because there's a football team in your city? But it does seem to happen

You might not be less of a fan, but even Phil Mickelson's on a budget these days, and you have to pick which games to attend. With the football season edging backwards into the latter months of baseball, there's true competition. I've gone to Rangers games when the Cowboys have been playing at the same time across the street. Bilocation is not an option, and even if you "stagger" start times so that attending both games is possible, it's a long and expensive day of sports.
   40. Gamingboy Posted: January 25, 2013 at 09:52 AM (#4354739)
Florida: Great pro baseball state in March. Bad at almost every other time.
   41. DA Baracus Posted: January 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM (#4354746)
The Giants ownership spent some money to improve Candlestick after purchasing the team in 1993. They moved the left field bleachers closer to the field of play, replaced the jinky chain link outfield fence with a properly padded one, brought in new concessions, new scoreboard, etc.


New Rays ownership did too. They pumped a few million in renovations in and gave fans free parking for a year.
   42. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 25, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4354768)
San Francisco is just a cooler city than Oakland, nicer in most ways (well San Franciscans can be ... um ... arrogant about their city; Oakland has the bluecollar thing which appeals to some), and the respective sports teams have to deal with that. Even among SF haters it is "The City" in the Bay Area, even when you are in Oakland or San Jose.

Everything else being equal SF teams will do better than Oakland teams, fair or not.

No idea what the heck is wrong with Tampa Bay, other than what others have said above.
   43. Tom Nawrocki Posted: January 25, 2013 at 10:58 AM (#4354778)
why would you be less of a baseball fan just because there's a football team in your city? But it does seem to happen


I would guess the biggest factor is that a popular football team tends to suck all the oxygen and attention from the area's sports media, and people just stop thinking about the baseball team. Here in Colorado, the Broncos are on the front page of the sports section every day as soon as their training camp opens. By the time the NFL season starts, if the Rockies aren't in contention, you have hunt to find the game stories in the paper. (I assume something similar happens with sports-talk radio, but I don't listen to that.)

Serious fans are still going to know what's going on with the Rockies, but casual sports fans could go a week or two without even hearing the score of a game. By mid-September, they're probably not thinking about baseball as a sporting option at all.

I imagine that's what happened with the A's in 1988-1992. Bay Area sports fans focused on the team constantly, 12 months a year, which made them far more visible than they were when the Raiders were around.
   44. JRVJ Posted: January 25, 2013 at 11:03 AM (#4354781)
I have very little to comment about Tampa as a baseball market, as my only experience in the Tampa area was last September, when I visited Busch Gardens with my wife and kids (though I did find out that the University of Central Florida is based in the Tampa area).

Since we were coming from Orlando, I didn't exactly get to see the Bay area.
   45. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: January 25, 2013 at 11:50 AM (#4354824)
I have very little to comment about Tampa as a baseball market, as my only experience in the Tampa area was last September, when I visited Busch Gardens with my wife and kids (though I did find out that the University of Central Florida is based in the Tampa area).


USF. UCF is in Orlando. How did you like the Cheetah Hunt? Best Roller Coaster I've ever been on.
   46. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 25, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4354835)
I visited Tampa for the first time last year. Really nice city, but yes, those bridges are bottlenecks, so I can see how it would be difficult for Tampa residents to get to St. Pete for a game. The stadium is also kinda in a weird location in that it seems like a neighborhood.

Also, we were struck by just how many foreclosures signs there were. Just everywhere. And the local news was dominated by coverage about foreclosures.

I didn't get the sense that sports were that important other than college football. I think we went in August when the Rays were still in it, the Bucs were in training camp, yet all I heard about was the Gators.
   47. Danny Posted: January 25, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4354856)
The 2000s were hurt by the stinginess of Schott and Hoffman who simply refused to re-sign the star players like Giambi (which they dispute) and Tejada (which they don't), the Giants opened a gorgeous park away from Candlestick and Mt Davis was built. The entire Beane strategy of emphasizing value over winning pales next to the Giants' strategy of trying to be the best at everything -- team, stadium, fan experience, etc.

I like how the Giants strategy of publicly trashing their stadium, doing everything they could to move to Florida, and then building a new privately funded park in a better location is far superior to the A's strategy of publicly trashing their stadium and then building a new privately funded park in a better location. The only differences are that the A's didn't try to leave the Bay Area or block the Giants from moving to either Santa Clara or the China Basin. The only thing currently preventing the A's from having a better stadium and overall fan experience is the Giants.

And you really think it was Beane's "strategy" was to spend less money than was available to him?

Did they complain about the venue? Sure, but they still spent on improvements because they needed to attract investors for the privately-funded park, and a shrinking fan-base would not have helped with that.

The A's don't need to attract investors to build a stadium in San Jose.
   48. Danny Posted: January 25, 2013 at 12:19 PM (#4354860)
I imagine that's what happened with the A's in 1988-1992. Bay Area sports fans focused on the team constantly, 12 months a year, which made them far more visible than they were when the Raiders were around.

The absence of the Raiders may have helped the A's (building Mt. Davis to bring them back certainly didn't help), but the Bay Area had another pretty successful football team from 1988-1992.
   49. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: January 25, 2013 at 12:48 PM (#4354899)
Absolutely. They could start with just waiving the revenue sharing and luxury tax bills for a period of time..


Well that chicanery needs to be disposed of entirely, it's become little more than a boondoggle of graft and cronyism designed to punish success and artificially depress player compensation on behalf of the poormouth plutocrats who chafe at seeing "their" money go to the wrong sort of people. Baseball players have such a small window to earn a living in the sport and deserve to make whatever they can negotiate from the market, I have no sympathy for the oligarch owners who extol the virtues of their own success and then turn their pockets inside out and shrug, teary-eyed, when some poor Dominican kid wants his one big chance at a windfall. Jeffrey Loria can sit on his pasty butt collectiing welfare checks and any other revenue steams he can sink his ragged claws into until he's so old he makes Young Mr. Grace look like an amphetamine freak, players don't have that luxury.

No, just the usual market compensation, as the Nationals gave the Orioles, should be adequate. Since the other owners would be footing the cost of the stadium I don't see any reason why they should be further penalized with one-sided confiscatory money grabs on behalf of whatever gilded member of the barrel-and-suspenders club member cries for it.

   50. Bitter Mouse Posted: January 25, 2013 at 12:56 PM (#4354911)
Yes the poor Yankees, how will they ever compete? Their plight is a warning to all future revenue sharing schemes in the future. Sigh.

Since the other owners would be footing the cost of the stadium I don't see any reason why they should be further penalized with one-sided confiscatory money grabs on behalf of whatever gilded member of the barrel-and-suspenders club member cries for it.


It is in the best interest of the league to maintain competitive balance and also to not have player salaries escalate due to bidding wars. Combined with the fact they have to negotiate with the PA on such things means the luxury tax is a semi-reasonable thing, though clearly not ideal.

Or it is evil, because when it suits them the Wealthy would rather pretend they don't need the rest of the league to make such huge amounts of money.
   51. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: January 25, 2013 at 01:52 PM (#4354960)
Really the only time the A's drew large crowds was when there were no Raiders and the Giants were in Candlestick. Once the Giants moved to ATT and the Raiders came back, the A's became the 4th and sometimes the 5th most important team in the Bay Area.
   52. Squash Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:08 PM (#4354973)
That's simply not true. There are 2.5M people in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, all of it is well connected by an excellent public transit system, and both are among the 100 highest income counties in the US. The East Bay alone is comparable to the Denver metro area, and larger/more affluent than places like Cincinnati, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh, and Kansas City.

It's absolutely true if you actually delve into the real dynamics and not the most macro, top-down demographics. The A's draw the vast majority of their fanbase from the Richmond-Fremont corridor, the prominent cities being Richmond, Albany/Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward/San Leandro, and Fremont. None of those are wealthy cities (they all have nice areas, though every city in the world does), and are mostly lower middle class to middle class. Some of them are outright destitute (Richmond, lots of Oakland). And they're pretty small - Oakland is by far the biggest city in there at around 400,000 people, Fremont around 215,000, Richmond is 100,000. The A's split the little wealthy cities that "matter" in Contra Costa county along the BART corridor with the Giants and always have, and now that Pac Bell/AT&T is right on the BART line (i.e. the people who live there are now equidistant to the Oakland Coliseum and San Francisco), those small wealthy towns that always associated themselves with "The City" anyway now do even more so - they're big-time Giants country now. Many of the people living there were already commuting to SF and think of themselves as living in the suburbs of San Francisco, so they root Giants/49ers rather than A's/Raiders.

The Bay Area is a huge, incredibly wealthy area. But just saying that doesn't mean that all the teams there are drawing from a huge, wealthy fanbase. The way rooting lines have broken down the Giants, because of geography, their association with San Francisco, and the new ballpark, currently draw from the "best" demographics - San Francisco of course, Marin County, the Peninsula, San Jose, and for the cherry on top splitting the wealthy part Contra Costa county because of the BART line.

The Giants ownership spent some money to improve Candlestick after purchasing the team in 1993. They moved the left field bleachers closer to the field of play, replaced the jinky chain link outfield fence with a properly padded one, brought in new concessions, new scoreboard, etc.

And the A's have spent money too - on pretty much all those same things over the last 10-15 years. It wasn't meant to be a 100% literal statement - rather that the amount of money actually spent to really improve/retrofit both stadiums for baseball by both teams has been minimal - and why wouldn't it be? Both teams want/wanted out. The difference is that the Giants were awarded a sweet new site in 1996. The A's for all the reasons cited ad nauseum still have not.
   53. cmd600 Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:19 PM (#4354978)
Even for YR, that was ludicrous.

You're right, anyone extended even an invitation to come to NY should feel overwhelmed with joy and show deference to all the success of the locals, which was only earned through hard work and genius innovation. Is it the same thing in the water that makes your pizza and bagels the best the world has ever seen that also makes your people the best in the world too?
   54. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: January 25, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4354985)
It is in the best interest of the league to maintain competitive balance and also to not have player salaries escalate due to bidding wars.

Of course -- it's always in the best interest of business to be able to fix prices and divide exclusive territories.

That's why the Sherman Antitrust Act was enacted 120 years ago.

It's simply amazing how many people have become mouthpieces and lackeys for predatory business. Is that some kind of badge of honor or something? Is it somehow displaying one's knowingness?
   55. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 25, 2013 at 06:38 PM (#4355153)
Or it is evil, because when it suits them the Wealthy would rather pretend they don't need the rest of the league to make such huge amounts of money.

Ask the Dodgers. They seem to be working pretty hard to avoid their revenue sharing obligations. Where is the outrage?
   56. beer on a stick Posted: January 25, 2013 at 11:51 PM (#4355291)
Nobody lives (lived?) in Downtown Detroit.


I lived downtown for several years during the 1990's, about a block from where Comerica Park now stands.

There were probably few thousand of us down there then, in renovated hotels, warehouse lofts, etc. It was fun and there was all kinds of nightlife going on, if you knew where to look. Cheap digs, great bars with great bands, Greektown or Lafayette Coney Island at 4am, Belle Isle in the summertime. And a quick bike ride down to Michigan and Trumbull for a few innings on a Tuesday night.

Ah, to be young again.

   57. BeanoCook Posted: January 26, 2013 at 01:20 AM (#4355321)
If that's true it is unlikely MLB leaves. TV is where the real money is and they've never really had a decent stadium experience.


Stadium revenue, tickets, etc is still larger for most teams than tv money. The NFL is way overweighted in media v ticket revenue, not MLB. Yet NFL teams have moved much more frequently than MLB clubs in the past 25 years. And we are talking mostly national media $ too for the NFL. It's amazing to think so many NFL teams moved over such relatively small amounts of money, mostly stadium rev, which is a tiny share of NFL team revenue.
   58. BeanoCook Posted: January 26, 2013 at 01:37 AM (#4355323)
MLB failed in Tampa, it is going to move that franchise sooner than later. It's time the NFL admit failure in Florida too (Jacksonville, Tampa). It failed. Usf v Florida state played in the Bucs stadium the same weekend as an NFL game. The college game sold out, the NFL game was 25% empty.

It embarrassing the NFL can't figure out how to get a team into LA.
   59. Bhaakon Posted: January 26, 2013 at 06:51 AM (#4355357)
I like how the Giants strategy of publicly trashing their stadium, doing everything they could to move to Florida, and then building a new privately funded park in a better location is far superior to the A's strategy of publicly trashing their stadium and then building a new privately funded park in a better location.


It's tough to call that a strategy on the Giant's part when there was an ownership change mid-stream, and the second ownership group was assembled specifically to prevent the team from moving, thereby negating the threat of carpetbagging.

It's absolutely true if you actually delve into the real dynamics and not the most macro, top-down demographics. The A's draw the vast majority of their fanbase from the Richmond-Fremont corridor, the prominent cities being Richmond, Albany/Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward/San Leandro, and Fremont. None of those are wealthy cities (they all have nice areas, though every city in the world does), and are mostly lower middle class to middle class.


The averages don't lie. Richmond and parts of Oakland are quite slummy--as are parts of the south bay--but there are enough affluent and middle class people in the area to raise the average income.

MLB failed in Tampa, it is going to move that franchise sooner than later. It's time the NFL admit failure in Florida too (Jacksonville, Tampa). It failed. Usf v Florida state played in the Bucs stadium the same weekend as an NFL game. The college game sold out, the NFL game was 25% empty.

It embarrassing the NFL can't figure out how to get a team into LA.


Unfortunately, MLB already has two teams in LA. Barring contraction or some kind of court ruling that completely negates territorial rights, I don't see the Florida teams going anywhere. There just aren't any viable markets.
   60. Flynn Posted: January 26, 2013 at 07:28 AM (#4355360)
Montreal has a bigger corporate base than any other non-MLB market (and bigger than several MLB markets). It's a bigger city, in fact. It's also not your typical Sun Belt city where half the residents come from somewhere else and root for their childhood team. Considering the struggles Sun Belt teams have across markets, unless they've been established before the recent wave of sports expansion, that is a major positive in Montreal's favor. It has an MLB-ready facility which no other aspiring market even comes close to having. It has a fairly strong economy, is located in a country which is projecting to match America economically well into the future. Canada and Quebec are in the middle of sports TV wars, so there is fertile ground to sow with television rights (which hurt the Expos badly).

There's no owner and no permanent stadium solution but nobody else has those either. It's difficult to see how Montreal doesn't lap the field on viability as an MLB market.
   61. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 26, 2013 at 07:33 AM (#4355361)
It has an MLB-ready facility which no other aspiring market even comes close to having.

The rest of #60 makes a good case for Montreal, but the only way I could see MLB going back into Olympic Stadium is if a disaster knocks down an existing ML ballpark, and I'm still not sure it would happen.
   62. Flynn Posted: January 26, 2013 at 09:36 AM (#4355372)
It's not a permanent solution but it can host MLB next week if you want it to.

Let's say that the Rays decided next week they were leaving, MLB approved it, they got out of the lease. Portland doesn't have a baseball stadium anymore. Vegas has Cashman Field, which seats 8,000 people and offers zero protection from those 104-degree Vegas summer nights. Charlotte could probably host games at their football stadium in a Miami-esque layout, but it would take months and tens of millions of dollars to blow up and rebuild the lower deck to retract to suit baseball. Unlike Miami, where Joe Robbie built the stadium to potentially host an MLB franchise, Bank of America Stadium was not built with any thought of hosting MLB. The Rangers are going to play some games in the Alamodome but the layout is not a serious baseball layout.

If a situation comes where it gets ugly, a team can move to Montreal and make money immediately in their new home instead of suffering gate losses through lame-duck status for years while a new park is built.


   63. DL from MN Posted: January 26, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4355384)
I think the NFL having mostly national revenues actually causes the stadium revenues to be magnified. There are no local television dollars and they only need to sell out 10 games a year. MLB needs a much larger population base than the NFL due to local TV contracts and 81 games to sell which leaves them with fewer viable locations.

That's the problem with moving the Rays. Where do they move? Is Tampa really worse long-term than Milwaukee or Cincinnati? Do they really want to abandon that TV market?
   64. Joe Kehoskie Posted: January 26, 2013 at 02:32 PM (#4355533)
It's not a permanent solution but it can host MLB next week if you want it to.

Perhaps, but moving into Olympic Stadium without having a deal in place for a new stadium would eliminate any leverage the team had.

***
That's the problem with moving the Rays. Where do they move? Is Tampa really worse long-term than Milwaukee or Cincinnati? Do they really want to abandon that TV market?

This is a key issue that gets almost no attention, either on its own or when people talk about expansion. Ten years from now, there could be one or more Rust Belt cities unable to support an MLB team.
   65. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: January 26, 2013 at 03:07 PM (#4355563)
MLB failed in Tampa, it is going to move that franchise sooner than later. It's time the NFL admit failure in Florida too (Jacksonville, Tampa). It failed. Usf v Florida state played in the Bucs stadium the same weekend as an NFL game. The college game sold out, the NFL game was 25% empty.

It embarrassing the NFL can't figure out how to get a team into LA.


I agree with that last statement, but Jacksonville drew to 96.8% home capacity in 2012 in spite of winning only 2 games all year, and while Tampa's was only 83.9%, just 3 years ago it was at 96%. You know a lot more about football than I do, but it'd seem to me that those Florida teams' attendance problems (including Miami's, which is even worse) have more to do with their performance than the loyalty of their fan base.

Obviously LA would add more to the TV money than Jacksonville or Tampa, but that's something that the NFL might have thought about when the Rams departed to St. Louis.

And BTW in the Rams' last 5 years in LA, their attendance was 30% below the league average.
   66. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 26, 2013 at 04:12 PM (#4355603)
It's difficult to see how Montreal doesn't lap the field on viability as an MLB market.

Is there any local interest in bringing baseball back to Montreal beyond the usual die-hards? It's a great city, but it seems content to nurse its grievances rather than organize an effort to get a new team. When Washington, DC was abandoned by MLB, there were any number of failed bids and civic booster type campaigns for baseball in DC or northern Virginia. Perhaps it's below the radar in the States, but I'm not seeing anything indicating there are potential owners and stadium financing in Montreal.
   67. puck Posted: January 26, 2013 at 04:39 PM (#4355610)
I think the NFL having mostly national revenues actually causes the stadium revenues to be magnified. There are no local television dollars and they only need to sell out 10 games a year.

There are no local tv deals in the NFL?
   68. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 26, 2013 at 05:13 PM (#4355618)
There are no local tv deals in the NFL?

Just pre-season games and various non-game shows like the coaches show or week-in-review show that may pay a fee to use the team name. Local radio is is up for grabs, too.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Francis
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOTP - July 2014: Republicans Lose To Democrats For Sixth Straight Year In Congressional Baseball Game
(3028 - 6:18am, Jul 25)
Last: The Id of SugarBear Blanks

NewsblogNoble: Tom Seaver expects Derek Jeter to become first unanimous Hall of Fame inductee
(51 - 6:15am, Jul 25)
Last: vivaelpujols

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread- July 2014
(915 - 5:53am, Jul 25)
Last: MikeOberly

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread July, 2014
(382 - 5:25am, Jul 25)
Last: Swedish Chef

NewsblogAs shifts suppress offense, time has come to consider a rule change
(90 - 5:07am, Jul 25)
Last: Sunday silence

NewsblogSurprising Sports Stars – Guided by Voices’ Robert Pollard
(3 - 4:44am, Jul 25)
Last: Alex meets the threshold for granular review

NewsblogYadier Molina serves his brother crackers on a plate — home plate
(43 - 3:59am, Jul 25)
Last: Sunday silence

NewsblogBucs Dugout: Manel: Pirates getting creative with defensive shifts
(8 - 3:53am, Jul 25)
Last: Sunday silence

NewsblogTwitter / Ken_Rosenthal: Mariners announce acquisition of Kendrys Morales for RHP Stephen Pryor.
(16 - 3:37am, Jul 25)
Last: Jeff Francoeur's OPS

NewsblogA's designate Johnson for assignment
(20 - 3:28am, Jul 25)
Last: Sunday silence

NewsblogGoldman: Eliminating the shift a bandage for a phantom wound
(31 - 3:23am, Jul 25)
Last: Rob_Wood

NewsblogCSN: Enough is enough — time to move on from Ryan Howard
(80 - 3:16am, Jul 25)
Last: Red Menace

NewsblogFivethirtyeight: Billion-Dollar Billy Beane
(21 - 2:42am, Jul 25)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogOMNICHATTER: 7-24-14
(59 - 1:56am, Jul 25)
Last: Bunny Vincennes

NewsblogEx-MLB star Chuck Knoblauch accused of assaulting ex-wife
(21 - 12:26am, Jul 25)
Last: Ray (RDP)

Page rendered in 0.8767 seconds
52 querie(s) executed