Monday, November 20, 2006
Bay Area's A's, Niners Going Suburban
Bucking recent trends, two of the Bay Area's professional sports franchises are moving out of their urban settings to suburban locations.
The Oakland Athletics, unhappy with their current stadium facility, are moving to the South Bay suburb of Fremont.
The San Francisco Forty Niners have announced plans to leave Candlestick Park in San Francisco for a site across from the Great America amusement park in Santa Clara.
For years, despite many championship seasons in Oakland, the A's have struggled to maintain fan support. Locals would often say, "there's just too much else to do in the Bay Area." This year, things had gotten so bad, they closed the entire upper deck and covered it with tarps.
The Forty Niners have been negotiating with San Francisco officials for a major mixed use facility including a new stadium. However, negotiations failed. Now with the Forty Niners announced departure from "The City", San Francisco's bid for an upcoming summer Olympics has been called "dead".
Frustrated San Francisco officials have threatened to sue the Forty Niners in an effort to prevent the team from continuing to use the name "San Francisco" Forty Niners. It is doubtful, however, that the NFL would support the city's case.
Meanwhile, South Bay residents are pleased with the two announced moves; it will make attending games much more convenient for them. On the other hand, for most residents of the sprawling ten-million strong Bay Area, moves south will mean much longer drives to games and increased traffic on the Bay Area's already congested roadways.
For comparison, consider St. Louis, whether as destination or hometown, a place providing families, young creatives and high tech professionals a convenient and affordable lifestyle with center city major league attractions, affordable housing, a strong job market, and tight knit neighborhoods.