Why Schott wasn't interested in Uptown site?He had a bidder!!!!!
OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: Why Schott wasn't interested in Uptown site?He had a bidder!!!!!
Article Last Updated:
Sunday, August 04, 2002 - 2:57:35 AM MST
A's flirted with sale offer last month
D.C. tycoon talked with team during 'Uptown' Oakland ballpark dispute
By FROM STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS
While Oakland ballpark proponents were fighting for a downtown stadium for the Oakland A's, team owners were in serious negotiations to sell the franchise to a Washington, D.C., investor.
A's co-owner Steve Schott had reached terms to sell the team to Washington entrepreneur Jonathan Ledecky for about $170 million, according to sources and to documents seen by the Washington Post.
But the deal collapsed when Ledecky missed a mid-July deadline to pay the A's $12 million in nonrefundable deposits. Ledecky, who formerly owned an interest in the Washington Capitals hockey team, had been seeking additional investors in the Washington area.
Ballpark supporters in Oakland were not surprised Saturday at the news of the near-sale of the team, saying it may shed light on why the A's had not made a strong commitment to a downtown Oakland stadium.
"If this sale was in the wings, obviously they were not going to be enthusiastic about a downtown stadium until the issue was resolved," said Oakland City Councilmember Dick Spees (Montclair-Laurel). "We kept thinking, 'If they were really interested in a downtown ballpark, why don't they come forward?' But that never happened."
Ballpark supporters cited the team's absence during the debate over a new stadium as a significant reason for why the Oakland City Council voted in July to move forward with a large housing development instead of the ballpark proposal. The housing project is to be built on the same site identified as the best spot for a baseball-only stadium in the East Bay.
A's President Mike Crowley said after the council's vote the team was waiting on the results of a city-sponsored study for how a downtown ballpark would be financed before throwing its weight behind the stadium plan.
On Saturday, A's spokesman Jim Young said "the team is not for sale," adding, "Mr. Schott looks forward to entering the process of securing a new baseball-only facility for the A's in the East Bay."
Ledecky, meanwhile, had told potential investors he planned to keep the A's in Oakland but could possibly relocate them to Washington if financing for a new ballpark did not materialize in the East Bay.
Double team's revenue
Ledecky implied his group therefore potentially could beat three other potential investment groups vying to establish a Major League Baseball in the Washington market and be in a win-win situation no matter what happened. He told potential investors a new stadium in Oakland could double the team's revenue, while a move to Washington could double its value.
But a high-ranking Major League Baseball official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said MLB made no assurances to the Ledecky group that it eventually would be able to relocate in Washington. In fact, the official said MLB does not want to relocate a West Coast team to the East Coast for logistical reasons.
Also, putting a baseball team in Washington likely would anger the Baltimore Orioles who believe they own the territorial rights to the area. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig also frowns on investment groups buying a team to relocate it.
'Using Ledecky' speculation
Some team watchers have speculated Schott and MLB might have used Ledecky to extract better lease terms from the city of Oakland and Alameda County and to put pressure on city and county officials to revive political interest in keeping the team.
But Oakland officials said the A's never used the threat of leaving or selling the team as a way of getting a better lease deal. However, the team's threat to move to Santa Clara last year helped spur the drive for a new ballpark in Oakland.
$500,000 a year in rent
The A's last month signed a new five-year lease extension at Network Associates Coliseum. The deal calls for the A's to pay about $500,000 a year in rent.
A's spokesman Young added Saturday that "both Mr. Schott and (co-owner) Mr. Ken Hofmann are excited about extending the lease at the Coliseum through 2007."
Selig, Ledecky and Schott did not respond to messages on this topic during the past week. Schott said at the All-Star break a month ago that he had discussions with Ledecky but the team was not for sale.
It was the second time in the past year that a potential sale of the A's fell through. In August 2001, a deal to sell the team to a group of Hollywood investors with ties to Las Vegas collapsed just as news of the potential sale became public.
Staff Writer Robert Gammon and the Washington Post contributed to this report.
So, they allowed the best opportunity to get a site where both Oakland and the A's would benefit slip away because of Schott's carpetbagging ways.
We just have to keep reminding them that there were serious and committed people in Oakland trying to make this project work while Schott was dealing and wheeling and whining...always whining...behind everybody's back.
"preferably Oakland my @$$"
| By sactodavey on Sunday, August 04, 2002 - 10:36 am:|
Like i have said all along these owners are lowlife scum who lie and use people at every oppurtunity possible.
They are already making $$$in oakland but maybe schott see's the financial writing on the wall in the future , do you think now this guy is really interested in signing any of the teams free agents if he was looking to dump the club?
What i do not understand is why doesn't he open negotiations with local inverstors about buying the club to keep it here ? why hasn't the city of oakland sued mlb for sabatoging the last groups efforts to buy the club all the work they put into getting their investors together and mlb just out right rejected them why??
You have to realiaze that MLB functions exactly like the Mafia. It is a cartel.
All the owners are subjected to what the big Lords want to have happen. The big dogs are the ones who hand and deal the crooked cards, through Selig, the most crooked of them all. The Judas!
For all we know this Washington group was just another Trojan Horse thrown in to derail the ballpark in Oakland deal because of other hidden agendas they have in store for the A's franchise.
It doesn't take a genius to see that the Giants organization would take a direct hit if the A's were to get a ballpark in Oakland. And it is easily assumed that the Giants would benefit a great deal if the A's would vacate their market.
There are forces pulling in all directions here and we don't really know who is really calling the shots.
Schott and Hofmann are small fry with small little minds who are happy to get the crumbs left over from the big feed.
Selig is the dealmeister of MLB. He makes deals and promisses and must deliver to all involved or he will be in trouble and risk losing his precious little corrupt job of his.
So we don't really know what's in store for the A's. They haven't informed us yet.
The only thing that would put a stop to all of this would be if Congress finally got the cojones and the honesty to strip MLB of ALL and COMPLETE anti-turst exemptions.
Meanwhile we just have to keep trying to protect our A's legacy in Oakland the best way we can. We have to keep showing we care and are willing to keep up the fight to protect our team. As far as I'm concerned, every penny I spend in baseball would go into a class action suit to fight to the bitter end. You can bet your life that's a fact.
| By voxhoo on Sunday, August 04, 2002 - 11:34 am:|
Nothing prevents a local group from putting a bid on the A's. But, we all saw what happened the last time. So, if you're local, why would you bother to put the enormous effort to pull together an ownership group? Just to have the honor of having Selig throw a monkey wrench into it?
Lil, you're point about the Washington group being merely a straw man to derail an A's stadium on the only identified site was also my first thought. These negotiations also help explain the sudden pull back from Schott's expressed committment to "spend what it took".
"These negotiations also help explain the sudden pull back from Schott's expressed committment to "spend what it took"."
Interesting. So not only did Schott blow the opportunity to secure the most preferable site in Oakland for a new ballpark, his wheeling-and-dealing prevented more aggressive acquisitions to help this current team into the playoffs. That's the suggestion. It's probably an accurate one.
Also, we have the situation where Schott is not reluctant to sell to an entity which would try to move the A's not only out of Oakland, but out of California. Walter Haas must be rolling in his grave.
Disgusting carpetbagger behavior. He has shown over and over again to be highly qualified as a baseball owner. Ready to sell his team down the river for a profit...ready to lie and deceive to achieve his goal...we can expect the worse from Schott.
Indeed Walter Haas must be very sad up there in Baseball Heaven.
Hey, Lil! How do you interpret Crowley's comments to you before the Oakland City Council vote on the uptown land use? Considering that Schott was hoping to sell the team to a guy who had designs on ultimately moving the A's to DC if a ballpark didn't go through (and Schott doing his best to assure that a ballpark site didn't go through), the idea that the A's were diligently working behind the scenes (according to Crowley) sounds like a stretch. Working behind the scenes -- yeah, to find a new ballpark site in Arlington, VA.
Sounds like Crowley told the truth!
This doesn't surprise me one bit. Not one bit. That little game they were playing never made any sense if they really wanted Uptown. This also explains Schott always saying they were exploring "multiple sites" for a new stadium. Never once thought it would be DC suburbs tho.
I have the letter on official Oakland A's paper.
Yeah...extensive work and discussions being done behind the scenes.
I don't understand what you are getting at, both on another thread and here.
The A's were in discussions with city officials when they had the team sold? They had even set a date for the non refundable deposit. That's a sale and serious negotiation and not just talk.
Based on that I say that Mike Crowley knew Schott had no intentions to come forward to negotiate with Oakland over a ballpark site and financial plan.
I am responding to your e-mail addressed to Steve Schott. Thank you for your positive words of support regarding our lease extension. Our intention is to get a new ballpark for this team, so that we may keep this talented group of players together.
We have been in discussions with the City of Oakland. There is a tremendous amount of work being done behind the scenes. However, it is premature to go to the public with a plan.
Thank you for your avid support of the A's. All the best to you and the members of the Oakland A's Fan Coalition.
Michael P. Crowley
Crowley: "There is a tremendous amount of work being done behind the scenes. However, it is premature to go to the public with a plan."
Premature because the A's were about to be sold (or so Schott thought) to a guy in DC who probably had more of an interest in moving them to Northern Virginia than in keeping them in Oakland. What do you want to bet that the DC guy's purchase of the A's was contingent upon the A's not pressing for a new ballpark in Oakland?
I hate to keep bringing up the obvious, but the Haas ownership was really the Golden Era of the Oakland A's. Where Walter Haas did everything he could to keep the A's in Oakland and to build on its storied legacy, the current ownership has done everything it can to squeeze another nickle out of the franchise for themselves. It would sell that legacy, the fans, and the city of Oakland down the river for a few bucks. And then there's the situation of the current "leadership" in baseball -- the Commissioner himself -- who has made it plain he will not allow a sale of the A's to go through to local interests without a commitment to build a new ballpark. Clearly, he would have OK'ed a sale to the guy from DC since it was his longterm interest to move them out of the Bay Area.
It's no wonder Schott never shows his face at the Coliseum. He'd be booed right out of the ballpark.
| By voxhoo on Tuesday, August 06, 2002 - 11:10 am:|
I doubt that MLB would allow the A's to simply relocate to D.C. for free. New franchise fees are more lucrative then allowing teams to move about chasing bigger markets. However, if someone bought the A's and then offered to pay MLB for the right to move, then I could see it happening.
So why contract the A's? Because, the A's are near the bottom in revenue. Teams split the national TV revenue equally. Revenue sharing flows from the high revenue teams and goes to the low revenue teams. The A's drain cash away from the other owners. Why not the D-rays or Marlins? Yes, they have lower revenues than the A's but they are pathetic teams. What if they won 100 games? What would their revenue be like? Plus, they give MLB a national market in Florida. The A's don't enhance the national TV package because the Giants are already here. The A's were defending AL West champs and won 102 games and still finished 24th in revenuein 2001. To Selig, that's proof that it's not worth supporting a team in Oakland unless there is a new stadium.
I agree, Haas was a great owner. But, if there was another Haas out there, they'd have bought the team already. I've learned to accept that there are the par for the course owners (like Schott) and then the really bad owners: Selig, Loria, Huizenga, etc.
At the end of the day, this is a business. Businesses exist to make money. If we as fans want a franchise to remain in Oakland, we have to prove that MLB can make more money by keeping the A's in Oakland than contraction or relocation. It's that simple.
Btw, just a reminder that the Mandalay group which made a bid to buy the A's last year was NOT the group from Vegas and had no intentions of moving the team there.
This Mandalay group was a group brought to the negotiating table by BILLY BEANE and had all the intentions of keeping the team and BEANE as President of the club. Bud Selig and not IDLF was responsible for nixing the deal.
But Selig does not want the A's to stay in Oakland and the sooner we accept this fact, the better prepared we will be for the fight.
As for this latest bidder from Washington. My easy guess is that he himself is competing with other business groups to gain MLB permission and nod to move into Washington. Selig is making his deals and has to take care of Peter Angelos before he can give the nod to relocation to Wahington.
For starts...the team to be moved to Washington has to be in the NL...so like Selig has said,
"first contraction, then relocation".
Sorry to intrude but I thought I'd drop my two cents into this discussion as someone living in DC. If Ledecky really was to buy the team, there is absolutely no way that he would have been able to move it to DC. The A's, first of all, are an American League team. The National League already has more teams than the AL, so they aren't going to move leagues. And no sports league would ever put two teams in the same league in the same market. Furthermore, DC is no more likely to put a real plan together to build a stadium than Oakland or San Jose. For all of their bellyaching about not having a team, neither the DC officials nor the NoVA officials have ever put together a definitive financing plan for a stadium (and have certainly not started to build one). And anyone who has been to RFK lately knows that that place is nowhere near in good enough shape to be a baseball stadium next year. Also, keep in mind that the Washington Post is not to be completely trusted when it comes to reporting on possible baseball developments in DC (and they are the ones who broke the story). The Post has been one of the biggest agitators for baseball in the District and they have been known to exaggerate on this subject in the past.
In anycase, I don't think Oakland has to worry about DC as a competitor for the A's. That being said, why not be encouraged that someone offered $170 million for the team? It has been clear from the beginning of the Schott-Hoffman regime that neither man is independently wealthy enough to own a baseball team and spend as freely as we as fans would like. Walter Haas was a fantastic owner, but he lost money hand over fist. His last few years of ownership were filled with reports of the team losing lots of money. But Mr. Haas was one of the richest men in the world, so he could afford to get Harold Baines and Willie McGee at the trade deadline out of his own pocket. Schott-Hoffman will never be confused for Rothschild. Therefore, we should hope that they sell the team to a person or group of people who are wealthy enough to spend the way that Mr. Haas could. Perhaps someone who can spend $170 million for the franchise will have the financial means to run the A's successfully. And, as Ledecky is reported to say in the Washington Post, a new stadium in Oakland would potentially double the revenue for the team. So it is possible that an owner with deeper pockets than Schottman would be willing to put some of his own cash in the pot in order to see a huge revenue increase. This would make negotiating with the city of Oakland much easier.
We all freaked out when we heard about the Mandalay sale as well, and it turned out that might not have been a bad thing. I don't think that this sounds like it would be a bad development either.
| By voxhoo on Tuesday, August 06, 2002 - 01:39 pm:|
$170 mil isn't a lot of money for a baseball team. Remember, the Expos were bought by MLB for $150 mil. So, the A's are only worth slightly more than the Expos?!?! I find that hard to believe.
It's still double what was paid only a few years ago. And the A's, like the Expos, have no additional collateral (like a stadium they own, or their own TV/radio network), so it isn't hard to believe that they aren't worth much more than the Expos. Besides the Expos are worth $150 million only to someone interested in moving them to a more profitable city, the A's are worth $170 million to someone who is likely to have to keep the team in the Bay Area, at least for a length of time.
Unfortunately the link doesn't work so maybe if you copy and paste the url you can read this report which was written by Andy Dolich re the Haas ownership when they bought the team from Finley for $14 million.
It's very long but well worth the read.
I just want to add that the present ownership bought the team in 1995 for $68 million after all the wrangling and dealing over the return of the Raiders. And Schott formed his own concessionaire business and the food and parking is all revenue which is not part of the team revenue. It is his own private side business. Schott also received $11 million from the City as settlement of the $48 million lawsuit brought against them over the alleged losses for Coliseum reconfiguration.
| By sactodavey on Tuesday, August 06, 2002 - 04:21 pm:|
Wow so schott makes millions on the food part without it counting as revenue ofr the A's then says the A's cannot aford to sing any players cause he makes no $$$$ oh man this guy gives a great snow job!!!!
the corruption is mounting up he will never sell this team he's making way to much cash, do you know what 2 million fans spend on food a season and the parking oh yea land lots of undeveloped land baby!!!!!!!
Baseball teams are a bad investment. If you run the numbers from the Forbes article, the average team returned a profit of less than 1% of the teams value last year. Teams have averaged 12% annual appreciation in value per Forbes, but that is an illiquid return that is not available to fund operations. Would you invest in the stock of a company with that sort of financial profile? I think not.
To my mind, the A's don't have a market problem, they have a marketING problem. The Bay Area is the fifth largest media market in the country. The Athletics should invest in their business operations and compete like every other business in this country. In this regard, rev sharing may actually be counterproductive.
I think this market will be fundamentally changed by the first team that is bought by a media company. The Giants aren't for sale currently, so that may likely be the A's. The A's suffer from a perceived lack of committment to the area, a facility that suffers in comparison to Pac Bell, unwillingness to invest in their core product (players), and lack of desirable media outlets. What would the teams revenues be if these issues were optimized?
The A's will never have NY or Dodger money, but they have a strong winning tradition that isn't being leveraged. As the generation of those that remember the Giants as the only game in town recedes, the A's opportunity to snare those customers with success increases. Look at how entrenched the 49'ers are. Winning, coupled with shrewd ownership, breeds tremendous loyalty and revenues follow.
| By voxhoo on Wednesday, August 07, 2002 - 08:07 am:|
In reference to the Expos price, which was really $120 mil, I was thinking more about what is wrong with MLB. Selig is justified in trying to address the low revenue teams. Where he goes wrong is his approach. Rather than be constructive, he chooses a negative solution. Why overpay for the Expos to contract the problem away? Loria ran the Expos into the ground. Why reward him by paying him off for his mistake. Loria doesn't deserve any favors. Selig is willing to spend $240 mil. to contract away two teams. Why not make that money available to help finance new ballparks? I guess that would be too constructive.
| By voxhoo on Wednesday, August 07, 2002 - 08:34 am:|
I don't know if it's that's simple. From the report Lil posted, it looks like Haas was very aggressive with marketing and the aggressive marketing plan never could get the A's to break even from an operating cash flow standpoint. What Haas' ownership proved was that if you invest heavily in the A's you will lose money.
Here's a link so that you can see how the A's did financially in the final Haas years 1990-1995.
You'll see that Haas never got the A's to break even and only enjoyed profitability with his approach in years that the A's made it to the World Series. Given that only 2 out of 30 teams make it to the WS and there is a growing disparity amongst the teams that will make it harder and harder to make the WS, who wants to engage in a business strategy with those kind of odds? Only someone who's willing to lose money.
| By diamond_lil on Wednesday, August 07, 2002 - 08:53 am:|
"Only someonw who's willing to lose money"
And doesn't that sound weird that bidders trip over eachother to bid for teams? All these groups of millionaires are willing to lose money?
The major problem with the economic system of baseball is that ownerships realized that they can make the money with their ancillary businesses
while making their baseball operations running red. This way they make the profit outside of the revenue sharing loop while enjoying the tax shelters of owning the team at a loss.
They use baseball by losing money for their own benefit.
The tv cable deals, hotels and concessionaires (Schott owns all the concessionaire of the Coli)are what makes the money for the team owners. That profit is NOT computed as team revenue. They simply take the money from one pocket and stick into the other pocket. The team is always in the empty pocket.
The Dodgers media conglomerate gave a statement that they don't care if the team is losing money. Just the fact they were able to squeeze out the Anaheim Disney people out of their market is already a huge profit for them.
| By voxhoo on Wednesday, August 07, 2002 - 09:26 am:|
You misread my post. I meant investing heavily in the A's the way Haas did is unprofitable. The way Schott runs the team is profitable. If profit is what an owner wants, they will be rewarded by running the team the way Schott does. Fans want an owner like Haas. Great, let's find an owner who wants to lose money.
| By voxhoo on Wednesday, August 07, 2002 - 09:29 am:|
By the way, Forbes estimated the A's profit at $6.8 mil. The A's reported a profit at $3.4 mil. So, that's the hidden revenue. You can find that info under the MLB vs. Forbes link on this page:
| By diamond_lil on Wednesday, August 07, 2002 - 09:48 am:|
There many ways to "hide revenue" and they are really all within the law. Especially because they don't have to show their books to anybody, not even to one another. And they don't ever report their ancillary profits because they don't have to report it.
I don't want an owner who wants to lose money like
Haas did...and they did get their money back when they sold the team, even with the below market price that they gave to Schott....
I want an owner that knows what kind of business he is getting into. I think you have to know that baseball is a business that enjoys certain priviledges (like the anti trust exemption) no other business in this country enjoys, for a reason.
Knowing and being conscious of that difference
is what makes a good or a bad owner.
These owners expect to run a business where they make a profit and that's fine. But then don't expect the fans to act anything more than customers who want a good performance for the product they are bying.
Business owner's right to profit
Paying consumer's right of good product
Where does fan support" during rebiulding come in?
The Giants accross the Bay are in the business of
entertainment and not baseball. They sell their ballpark and Barry Bonds. They realize that and stick to their plan because they know they will have an empty ballpark if they don't.
The A's are in the business of baseball. If they dismantle and start to lose...they will have an empty ballpark.
Vox, I don't think it's simple nor easy, but i doubt that it's impossible. There seems to be much room for improvement. Let's look at the media revs. '96 - $25.2 Mill, '01 - $9.5 Mill. That’s a $15Mil/year difference – enough to pay a franchise player. Given the performance of those teams, that would make some sense if the amounts were reversed, but not as it is. The A’s have a lousy media deal; that amount should shoot up when they sign their next contract – if they stay competitive. Despite on field success, stadium revenues are miniscule. Of course, the facility has a bad rap, but I don’t see the A’s marketing against that perception. What if they said unequivocally, definitively, and consistently that they were NOT going to move? May that make a difference in in-stadium advertising revs and suite sales? They’re not going to get a new stadium any time soon, so it would be helpful to make the most of the ‘Net instead of knocking the venue to which they are trying to attract paying customers.
Sure, they make money on concessions, but I doubt it’s huge. I was talking to a guy in the souvenir shop, and they gross about $1.50/head. $3.5Mil on 2 Mil attendance. Concessions? Anybody have guesses? $10/head gross, 25% net? $2.50/head only adds another $5 Mill. Hmmm, $8.5 mill ain’t half bad. If invested in the team, that’s a pretty good player.
The A’s need a stadium. The Giants debt service is $20 Mil/year, and they received huge subsidies from SF. The Giants service their debt solely on in-stadium advertising. Since they got here first, they probably siphoned off some portion of advertisers and corporate sponsors. But, given that a significant portion of the Chronicle 400 are HQ’d in the East Bay, I there is still a large potential base. If they build their own, will they receive comparable subsidies, and will the stadium pay for itself? That’s the $400 million dollar question.
Haas lost $6.7 Mill over the 7 years referenced in the report. Less than $1 mill/year. At the scale we’re talking about, let’s call that break-even. Definitely not "huge losses."
| By voxhoo on Wednesday, August 07, 2002 - 10:43 am:|
I accept this team as it is. If they can be competitive for a few years followed by a few rebuilding years, that's better than what most other fans get.
I'm against using tax dollars to build a park. I'm against corporate sponsorships of a privately financed ballpark, too. There are a lot of unemployed, I wouldn't be happy if corporations lay off workers to spend $100 mil on a ball park. I'm happy if the A's stay at the Net. Even if it means that this team will go into rebuilding mode in a year or two.
What I'm most afraid of is the fan base becoming upset enough that they abandon the A's. If that happens, we will lose them either by contraction or relocation.
If a corp. spends a $100 Mill to build a ball park, it creates a lot of blue collar construction jobs. Oakland gets a boost from a portion of those workers spending that will occur in Oakland.
For me, the key is the difference between being competitive, and having a legit shot to go all the way. They have shown they can be competitive at this salary level, they haven't shown they can go all the way. I'd say that as revenue disparity widens, the chance to win it all diminishes. As Billy's acolytes spread through the league, the "brain advantage" the A's have in talent scouting decreases. And of course,the fans go away. In the current climate, the A's are due for some horrendous attendance years, and we'll hear again how Oakland can't support a team.
| By diamond_lil on Wednesday, August 07, 2002 - 11:33 am:|
Now you are coming around to what really concerns us diehard A's fans. We are afraid of losing our team because of how the owners are perceived when in reality it has only to do with another completely different issue. Baseball is entertainment to 30K and almost a religion and life to the few diehards like us.
We have NEVER advocated a boycott and the majority of us here support our team through thick and thin. But I don't support this ownership and the way they expect fans to be devoted worshipers no matter what they do...because in reality they don't have enough followers to pull that stint.
There are not enough of us "diehards" and you can count on about 5 to 8 thousand or so of people on either side of the Bay who would continue to support either of the teams.
The "fans" who will turn away from the team are not posting here on this forum. Those are the 30 thousand customers the owners should concern themselves about...
they go to the ballpark because they want to be entertained and they don't want to hear about how poor or rich the owners are or how much they spend or not spend on the team. They only care about their entertainment dollar value.
Can you blame them? Can you do something about it?
This is why we exist. We have for years tried to lobby the owners and educate the media with the exact concerns you have shown in your post.
But one thing is for certain, by just accepting and condoning their bad business practices we will not be helping our cause. We have to support our team by keeping them aware of how the fans feels and who they really have to target for support. And it is not us here on this forum. It is the 30K they should worry about.