Should the Oakland A’s Relocate to San Jose?
Nov. 20, 2012
In this white paper the advantages of the Oakland A’s’ potential relocation to San Jose will be discussed. A brief history of the A’s will be described as well as franchise movement of other Major League Baseball teams. Demographic statistics of both Oakland and San Jose will be given to show will be a safer, more conducive location for a MLB team and its fans. The challenges and opportunities of the A’s request for relocation will be analyzed. One of the main challenges focused on is the issue of territory rights held by the San Francisco Giants of Santa Clara County.
The Athletics first came to Oakland in 1968 when owner Charlie Finley had moved the team from Kansas City. Due to low attendance from fans, a history of poor performance and the A’s never claiming a winning record the entire eight years the move was inevitable. Once moved the Athletics arrived at the then called Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which had already housed the Oakland Raiders for two full seasons. The move proved to be very beneficial for the Athletics in their new home. Within seven years they had won the World Series three consecutive years 1972, 1973, and 1974. The A’s championship team faded partly due to addition of free agency to baseball and wins becoming fewer and fewer. On Apr. 17, 1979 five years after winning the World Series, the A’s set the MLB record for the lowest attendance with just 653 fans present that day. This record still stands today.
Recently the A’s wanted to move to a new location that would provide them with a fresh start and hopefully eager fans wanting to buy tickets. One of the major obstacles preventing the Oakland Athletics form moving and becoming the San Jose Athletics is the dispute over territorial rights. Ever since the 1990’s the bay area has been territorialized and divided by individual counties. The Giants controlling most of the west side of the bay area had been looking to relocate and leave Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Bitter cold and harsh winds that persistently troubled the Giants was grounds enough for them to leave Candlestick Park. One of the target locations to move was to south bay area, specifically San Jose. Unfortunately they were been unable to get a public stadium proposal passed. It was not until late 2000 that they would leave Candlestick Park for their new home at AT&T Park in San Francisco. The Giants consider Santa Clara County to be an integral part of their fan base and would lose a significant part of their fan base if they lost it.
PREVIOUS FRANCHISE MOVEMENT A baseball team relocating has been a necessity since the beginning of baseball. The Giants themselves were once located in New York at one time. The destination of the baseball club is crucial to the success and revenues of the franchise. Ball clubs have moved where they feel they can establish a fan base and fill seats. History has proven that moves are a success, with the location drawing more fans than the team had in the previous year.
Many other clubs have been have dealt with territory disputes like the Montreal Expos move and rebranding themselves to the Washington Nationals. This move encountered many issues that the A’s are now facing. The Orioles located 38 miles from Nationals Park in Washington DC, were not happy when the move was proposed because they worried about the future of their club. The solution was a deal that would ensure the Orioles revenue. The deal stipulates that control and ownership of the Nationals broadcasting rights be given to the Orioles as well as guaranteed revenue of at least $130 million per year. This insured the Orioles for the potential loss in attendance, and guaranteed them steady revenue.
There are some glaring differences between the move of the Washington