Reed Says City Is ‘Ready to Play Ball’

A report commissioned by San Jose’s Office of Economic Development claims that relocating the Oakland A’s to San Jose would add $130 million to the local economy and create as many 2,100 jobs, almost 1,000 of them new jobs. The anticipated economic benefit to the city is expected to approach $3 billion over the next thirty years. Beneficiaries of the move would include local schools, which can expect to see as much as $842,000 per year from it, and Santa Clara County, which would get $948,000 because of a profit sharing agreement with the city in redevelopment areas.

Mayor Chuck Reed was euphoric about the findings: “This report finds that it makes fiscal and economic sense to bring baseball to downtown. Our residents will benefit, our downtown businesses will benefit and surrounding communities will benefit.”

While the move has yet to be approved by Major League Baseball, Reed added that the city “is ready to play ball! As the largest city in Northern California and one of the most dynamic markets in the U.S., the time is right for professional baseball to turn its attention to San Jose.”

There are, however, some observers who urge the city to act more cautiously before making a decision. One of these is Neil deMause, a Brooklyn-based journalist with the Village Voice, who has documented the impact that new stadiums have had on their cities for the past fifteen years. His book, Field of Schemes, argues that new ballparks from Seattle to Boston have drained as much as $2 billion from taxpayers. When asked about the San Jose report, he commented that there wasn’t enough hard data and that the projected revenues “could easily be off 50 percent either way.”

Paul Krutko, the city’s lead negotiator on the stadium deal, disagrees. “Even if our attendance projection was off by 50 percent—let’s say it was 12,000 a game—you could cut our revenue estimate proportionally to $750,000 a year, and we would still be ahead in new money.” Other municipal officials, led by Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio, urged greater caution until all the precise details are known. Other City Council members also wanted more assurances that the impact on local residents in terms of traffic, parking, and noise are all addressed before they make their decision.
Read More at The Mercury News.
Read More at the Business Journal.


  1. Of course stadiums that are PUBLICLY FINANCED (ie through tax increases) will drain billions from taxpayers Neil.  As a teenager would say…DUHH!

    Cisco Field in downtown San Jose will be PRIVATELY FINANCED; meaning Lew Wolff/A’s will pay for it.  No tax hikes or raids on the general fund necessary.  Much like how AT&T Park in SF was financed/built.

    Now who in their right mind is going to argue that AT&T Park in SF hasn’t been a good deal for the city.

    Go A’s and SJ!

    • No public money? Who do you think is paying for all of the studies and the land? I don’t think Lou is. That means it is back to us to foot the bill for something that will probably never happen. Off to a bad start already.

      • Chester,
        This is no different than the City of SJ buying up parcels of land and selling them to a private developer for housing, offices, retail, etc.  You are also assuming that the city is just going to give Lew Wolff the land for $0.  Even if that becomes the case, the whole deal would then be subject to a public vote.  Go ahead and vote no if you please Chester. 

        By the way, Petco Park (home to MLB’s Padres) has brought in $2-5 billion in private investment to downtown San Diego.  The same could happen to our downtown. 

        Can’t wait to see someone here argue against that one.

  2. One of the biggest scams in politics is trying to justify some project with voodoo economic numbers; i.e. induced and indirect income.  These two numbers are completely ficticious, and are just made up for the report.  They are generated by a made up formula.  Anybody is free to make up their own formula to generate equally valid induced and indirect income values.

    Only the direct income is a valid method of measuring a project’s economic impact.

    • Thank God public company financial statements are not done this way—projected income and expenses from a predictive economic formula guided by a set of financial guidelines written by a professional association of certified accountants.

  3. No public money!  The RDA has spent millions buying the land for this farse.  Lowlife wolfe will get the land for less (indirect public money) and of course the city and RDA will give him money for some other project that is not tied to the farse.

    • Appreciate the enthusiasm!  But don’t be to harsh on area residents.  While there are NIMBY’s against the ballpark, surprisingly a lot of the area residents are FOR the stadium (in conjuntion with the high-speed rail station).  They just want it designed right, and I completely agree with them.  By the way, Opening Day in 2014 (possibly 13).

  4. Some past economic projections:

    The Grand Prix will bring tens of millions of dollars per year to the city.

    BART will be completed, all the way to Santa Clara, in 2010. 

    Light rail will be profitable.

    Before you quote this report, tell us whether you believed the past reports, and whether you had the spine to say so publicly.

    • Apples and oranges Greg!

      Your trying to compare those “reports” to potential Major League Baseball in downtown San Jose is a huge reach!  It’s also pretty pathetic.

      Do your homework pal: AT&T Park in San Francisco and Petco Park in San Diego.

      Enough said.

      • Tony-  There is no need for name calling.  (reach, pathetic, homework)

        That’s three ad-hominem attacks, and zero examples of an accurate economic assessment.  If you have any city economic reports that were accurate, let’s talk about them.

        If you need some examples,

        New City Hall.
        Grand Prix.
        Golf Course construction.
        BART (2000, 2006, and 2008.)
        Light rail, pre-construction.

        Of course, all seven of those predictions turned out to be worthless. 

        Do you have any San Jose examples of accurate economic reports for large projects?

        • Greg,
          I didn’t call YOU a single “name.”  Just called your post as I saw it.

          Look, again, you need to compare apples to apples.  It’s that simple.  Are you seriously going to tell me that AT&T Park hasn’t been a good thing for SoMA/SF?  Petco Park a good thing for San Diego?  Heck, HP Pavilion for our very own San Jose?

          No need to comment on those examples you provided because, quite frankly, they’re not relevant.

          By the way, can you provide a link to the report that stated Light-Rail would be profitable?  I find that one hard to believe.

  5. Tony D,

    I am not from oakland.  Its a farse, because the city will claim to have not put a dime into this “investment”.  That whole concept is a lie!

    The city has recently used millions of RDA dollars on studies and land purchases.  The city has that idiot cruckow (economic dev idiot) and a bunch of other staff working on it.  are they working for free?

    In the end they will clain that wolfe paid for the whole develoment.  which will not be the case.  And wolfe will be handed millions in land rights and side deals that are not related (directly) to the baseball project to make up for his investment.

    And lastly, why it a farse.  The american league isn’t baseball.  the pitchers can’t even bat (sissy’s). 

    And the stadium in it’s proposed location will be a miserable place to see a game.  How annoying will it be to have plane landing every five minutes!  the stadium location is too close to airport.

    • So you’re somehow enlightened because you immediately oppose a stadium deal like most everyone else in this state? The city always has to pitch in for private investment to even bother. Do you think Target builds a store and improves the street in front of it? Do you think Cisco pays for upgrades to the sewer system when building a huge campus? The city breaks a few eggs to make an omelette. Get used to it. There is a huge difference between this and bending over backwards like other cities do.

  6. Okay, first off:  If, at any time upon the release of a stadium study or other stadium-related issue, any mayor or other politician states that (insert city name here) is “ready to play ball,” that politician should be immediately whisked away and locked in a room with Carrot Top until he or she learns some other pithy baseball-related expression.

    I can only hope for his sake that there isn’t tape of Chuckles putting on an oversized snap-back “San Jose A’s” hat while uttering this phrase for the ages.

    As to the prospect of the stadium itself:  Meh.

  7. I want it to work out for the city financially and not be a money pit.  But I want to see it done right specifically by:

    -the neighbors who will live near it daily
    -the commuters who need to get elsewhere and find a place to park to take it

    If we want our public transportation to WORK, we need a hub.  Connecting Caltrain to light rail was the first step.  Since we can’t serve enough commuters by bicycle, we need to be sure that public transportation remains viable by making it convenient for those who use it daily, not just for games.  And those people need a place to park.  I hear nothing in early planning about how high speed rail, potential BART connections, or other parking will be handled in the news so far.

  8. YO!!

    Forget all the numbers.  Wouldn’t Major League Baseball in downtown San Jose be FUN???  Can’t we just have a good time?  The numbers will work themselves out.  Am I being too simple minded here?  Probably.

  9. san jose….ohh boy san jose, well all i can say is its already housing two pro teams Earthquakes and the sharks, one of the two are flopping speaking sales terms, the other team makes it too the stanley cup them bombs out. i rarely see a A’s fan in san jose there all giants fans, A’s is gone whether they like it or not, i just cant see them succeeding at all anywhere…why cant san jose use tax payer money to make nice monuments for tourists(or atleast attract a few) before bringing in 2 new professional teams that are flopping like fish in a dry pond(A’s and niners) thats just my two cents.

    • The Sharks are highly successful by any financial measure, sold out every game, etc.  Losing in the playoffs, while a measure of success for the fans, is not an indication of the economic viability of a team locating to the city. 

      The Earthquakes are part of an unproven league in a sport that has never been able to make it work financially. 

      MLB and NFL are very strong leagues that are proven.  There is money to be made by becoming home to one of their franchises, as long as the cities are very careful in putting out the capital to build the stadiums.  For the A’s plan, they city’s investment would be very minimal, so the payoff would be tremendous.

      • The San Jose Earthquakes play in Major League Soccer, the top American professional league, which is not “unproven.”  Indeed, the value of a franchise has doubled in the two years since Lew Wolff exercised his option in 2007.  What other investment can that be said of, including the NFL or MLB? 

        Also, soccer is not a “sport that has never been able to make it financially.”  Several MLS teams are CURRENTLY profitable, and expansion clubs in Toronto and Seattle consistently sell-out their venues.  Moreover, in top European leagues, players command salaries that would make any NFL or MLB owner blush.   

        It is a particularly short-sighted form provincialism that sneers at professional soccer in San Jose—especially when there is NO PUBLIC SUBSIDY WHATSOEVER INVOLVED and especially when the soccer team’s owner is also the owner of the professional baseball team the town is courting.

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