Pity poor Oakland, a beleaguered and maligned city whose only real civic status once came from the World Championships earned by their sports teams. Now those storied teams are fleeing like refugees of a war-torn nation.
San Francisco, who just lost the 49ers to Santa Clara, replaced that lost income by stealing the Warriors. In economic terms, the City lost 557,886 patrons in 10 dates at Candlestick Park and replaced it with 766,398 patrons over 41 dates by landing the Warriors.
Moreover, the Warriors expect attendance to rise and the location downtown is a better fit for the local economy than Candlestick, which sits on the southern end of the city. Like AT&T Park, it will be an economic boon for the City.
Santa Clara gets the Niners, and if the Raiders are smart, they will make a deal to share the new stadium with their San Francisco rivals. Their fan base comes from San Jose and southern Alameda County.
Finally, if Bud Selig ever has the good sense to allow the A’s into San Jose, Oakland would lose their baseball team.
While only the Warriors are a done deal, the Oakland to South Bay migration of their current sports teams makes economic sense. In addition, strong political leadership led by Mayor Ed Lee, in San Francisco helped the Warriors. In the South Bay, Mayor Chuck Reed and an enlightened business and labor community have come together to pitch the A’s. Santa Clara has already proven they have the political will to accomplish the task of landing the Raiders.
All of which leaves poor Mayor Jean Quan holding a potentially empty bag. It would be hard to imagine a Mayor Don Perata, for instance, fiddling while Oakland’s best public relations assets leave town. It seems the biggest beneficiary of Instant Run-off Voting, the real cause for Quan’s ascension and Perata’s defeat, might be the South Bay.
But ever since Gertrude Stein uttered the words that would define Oakland forever as a less than second-rate city, “there is no there, there.”, the City has fought an uphill battle for self-esteem. The fight won’t get any easier as their sports teams go south.