From The Press Box
For years now I have heard executives and even baseball so called “experts” call the Oakland Athletics a “small market team”. According to the Official US Census in 2020, the Bay Area has a population of over 7 million people in nine counties and 101 cities. If that is a small market, then I must have been born yesterday on planet Mongo. Major League Baseball generate great part of their overall revenues via Television, that’s where the money is, forget radio. For the past several years, Nielsen has ranked the Bay Area market, the sixth largest TV market in the country. Actually throughout the 1980s and 1990s it had been the fifth largest. Not everybody that attends A’s games live in Oakland, just like Giants fans are not only those that live in San Francisco. There is a reason we are the “Bay Area”.
Leaving Oakland for Las Vegas is indeed leaving a 7 million people market to a market with a population of 640,000. The Las Vegas media market is #40 in the US; the Oakland-Bay Area is #6. These are the facts. Yes, Las Vegas (according to the Las Vegas Statistics Bureau) is one of the most popular places to travel not only in the US, but in the world. And according to their statistics, the city has approximately 32 million visitors every year.
The Oakland Raiders have been successful as well as the last and current Stanley Cup Champions Las Vegas Golden Knights. In the NFL you play a 17 game season with about half played at home, in the NHL is an 82 game season with 41 games at home. In MLB is a 162 game season with 81 home games. To sell most games during an 81 game season at home inside a 30,000 seat stadium, you have to sell out most of the time, to make it around 2 million in attendance. The ‘powers to be’ in Las Vegas are counting with tourism to buy tickets for baseball, but that is a stretch. Good luck with that. However, I can see Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers and other fans of big teams that travel well to see their teams for a 3-day weekend in Las Vegas, where most people go to watch shows and participate in gambling. It is also a favorite spot for honeymooners. You can still get married at the Elvis Chapel and if it doesn’t that work, drive north to Reno and get a divorce.
Finally, and of course, I wanted the Oakland A’s to stay in Oakland where they had won 4 World Series and were their roots really are. But if they leave, as it looks today, even with all the thousands of people and reverse boycotts at different parks, including the two games coming this weekend at Oakland against the Giants, that is all nice and entertaining, but at the end I do not think Mr. Fisher is shaking and sweating when and if he seen those demonstrations, because he still owns the team and at the end, with all respect to the people demonstrating, in this country, under our free enterprise system, you cannot force a private citizen to sell if he/she doesn’t want to sell. It is as simple as that.
I have heard all scenarios by now on this debacle, and all I can go by is what is happening, we all live day to day. Some people are speaking like 2028 is just “around the corner”. 2028 is the projected year for when the Oakland A’s become the Las Vegas A’s. Construction companies, baseball owners, lawmakers in City Halls in different cities and others maybe in the Stock Market as investors usually can plan for five years ahead, but most people I know they cannot tell you where they are going to be five years from today. Can you?