Should the Oakland A’s relocate?

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig refuses for some reason to address this issue directly. In traveling around the sports blogosphere today I came across a number of interesting stories about the Oakland A’s and their quest to get a new stadium built. The team had wanted to move from Oakland to the San Jose area but the San Francisco Giants effectively blocked that move, and now the A’s future seems to be hanging in limbo. Neither Oakland nor San Jose wants to spend million to move ahead with new stadium plans before MLB itself commits itself to the Oakland area.

The problem with that is Oakland may no longer be the ideal market for the Athletics. In 2010 they were were next to last in attendance as they went 81-81 and finished second in the American League West. Of course just across the bay the San Francisco Giants were on their way towards a World Title. The Giants ended up 9th in attendance, and drew almost 20k more fans per home game than the A’s.

So the two key factors in sports attendance are winning, and customers within a 30 minute drive of the home stadium. The Giants and the A’s are effectively splitting a 4.2 million person populace and who would you rather see? A team on its way to a World Title who happen to play in one of the finest modern facilities in the sport, or the A’s who play in a very old multi use stadium.

The news gets way worse for the A’s. In 2009 the TV ratings were off by over 53%. This seems to suggest to me that the Northern California baseball fans have tuned this team out. That is very bad when the team needs a new baseball stadium built to compete with its cross town rival. It would also suggest that maybe Oakland is not the best market for the A’s to be in. Let us not forget that this is a team that has moved twice before.

Related Links:

  • Oakland A’s news and notes
  • The Business of Major League Baseball
  • Joshua