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Anti-moving Legislation

OAFC BBS - All Topics: Archive: Anti-moving Legislation
Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By chris_d on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 02:26 pm:

http://www.oaklandtribune.com/Stories/0,1413,82~1865~2096022,00.html

Legislation takes swing at fickle pro sports teams
Oakland council will be asked to support state bill

By Paul T. Rosynsky, STAFF WRITER

OAKLAND -- It's no secret the city's relationship with its professional sports teams could use the help of a trained counselor.

The owner of its Major League Baseball team hates the home the city is providing and doesn't think city officials care.

The owner of its National Football League team has waged an almost half-decade-long legal feud against Oakland because he too is unhappy with the place called the Network Associates Coliseum.

In the world of professional sports, this kind of discontent could only mean one thing: relocation.

Aware of the disgruntled owners and wary of the possible result, City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente (Glenview-Fruitvale) is searching for anything that could lend a helping hand.

While a trained counselor will probably not work, De La Fuente has found something else.

A proposed state law.

If signed, the legislation would penalize California cities that steal teams from their brethren.

Sponsored and written by Assemblywoman Christine Kehoe, D-San Diego, the proposed law would attempt to regulate, through monetary damages, the relocation of professional sports teams within the state.

So, if the Oakland A's moved to San Jose, the South Bay city would have to pay its East Bay neighbor for the revenues Oakland would lose.

Or if the Raiders decided to return to Los Angeles, the city of the Angels would have to fork over thousands of dollars to Oakland to make up for the lost beer, ticket and parking money.

"It makes sense," De La Fuente said. "After you contribute to (a team's) success to help them become more valuable and famous, you should get compensated."

The proposed law grew out of San Diego's ongoing feud with the National Football League's San Diego Chargers, who are trying to get out of a lease with that city and find a new home.

Worried the city could be stuck paying off millions of dollars in debt used to renovate the Chargers current home, Kehoe came up with the proposal to make a possible move more difficult.

"Our goal is to give local jurisdictions another tool," she said. "When you have local cities and counties looking to use tax dollars to woo teams, they have to be held responsible."

De La Fuente agrees, and with the A's ownership publicly stating its desire for a new stadium and rumors swirling the Raiders want to pack up and leave, he will ask his council colleagues today to give the proposal an official nod of support.

"We have to be more aggressive in these areas," De La Fuente said. "At the end of the day, the relocations are good for who? It's good for these franchises who have the ability to move and who have the ability to pit one city against the other."

But while De La Fuente and Kehoe praised the bill as a logical answer to multi-million-dollar duels between cities lobbying for a new team, others were more skeptical and doubted it would spawn unity among city officials.

"I understand the concept, but it makes no sense," said Dean Bonham, chief executive officer for the Bonham Group, a Denver-based sports marketing firm. "Yes, there are certain cities and individuals who feel like teams have taken advantage of them, but there are far more who feel just the opposite."

Complicating matters are a host of issues that would come with the proposed law. Those include who would monitor it, how someone would determine what should be paid, and whether it would be constitutional for the state to interfere with a team's relocation.

While Bonham predicted that professional sports leagues would lobby heavily against such a law, Kehoe said she has not heard from any.

Representatives from both Major League Baseball and the National Football League did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday.

And both the Oakland Raiders and the Oakland Athletics said they are not concerned.

"Every city should do what they can to protect an asset they have," said Lewis Wolff, the Athletics' vice president of venue development. "I don't see it concerning us."

De La Fuente said his support of the proposal is not the result of any team's action but a desire to level the playing field when it comes to negotiating with multi-million-dollar franchises.

Kehoe said her staff is still working on details but argued the law would protect cities trying to lure a franchise by showing them the financial gamble they take by hosting a professional team.

"It's a discussion worth having," she said. "Until a community loses a team, they don't know how difficult it is to keep these contracts."

Article Last Updated: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 6:12:23 AM PST

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By chris_d on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 02:27 pm:

Oops. I meant this topic for "Off Field".

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 02:42 pm:

While this sounds good on the surface, especially to A's fans like us who want the team to remain in Oakland, I would be nervous about any government control here when it comes to sports franchises. Usually, these type of laws and regulations end up hurting the people they were intended to protect. For example, if this was passed in the early 90's, the Raiders would still be in L.A.
I could be wrong on this and maybe it is a good thing. But I just don't like the idea of government bureaucrats making decisions about our sports franchises.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 03:01 pm:

I moved it down so we can keep our comments without disturbing the baseball talk.

Very interesting and encouraging to note how DeLaFuentes has been more and more in the forefront of the anti-relocation issue.

And Kevin, I think government has stayed out of the baseball monopoly long enough...and the Lords have shown a total lack of responsibility and sensitivity towards fans.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By jesse on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 04:07 pm:

So now instead of moving to San Jose, they move to Oregon. Not a good idea for A's fans.

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By kevink on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 04:13 pm:

Yes lil I understand and agree that the Lords have messed with the game. However, the government has messed up many of the things it gets its hands on and I don't see this as a solution. And like Jesse pointed out, how does this prevent the owners from taking teams out of state?

Top of pagePrevious messageNext messageBottom of pageLink to this message   By diamond_lil on Tuesday, April 20, 2004 - 04:23 pm:

Well Kevin, this has been always the excuse used by MLB which allows them to continue as the only business in the US of A exempt from the land's anti-trust laws.


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