Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Why aren’t the Oakland A’s trying harder to fill their stadium?

Sub required.

If you really take a look at what’s different for the A’s right now compared to other low points in their history, what’s curious is what the team is not doing to try and get butts in the seats. It’s that lack of action that inspires some to wonder if this isn’t the plot of a popular baseball movie, where the team wants it to look like baseball can never work in Oakland, so that they can leave Oakland and get a new park elsewhere.

“I know some people think it’s ‘Major League,’ but it’s not,” A’s president Dave Kaval said. “We wouldn’t be spending $2 million a month trying to get our waterfront ballpark approved if we weren’t serious about staying in Oakland.”

The question is whether the way the A’s are being run this season lines up with that assertion — both in terms of the product on the field, and when it comes to what they’re doing to sell tickets.

Kaval has pointed out on Twitter that attendance is down a little around the league, including for the Giants, the more popular team in the Bay Area. It’s certainly true that there was a big drop in 2021 that was most probably related to the pandemic, and that April 2022 attendance did not return fully to pre-pandemic levels.

But the league’s median attendance is down a couple thousand off of 2019. The Giants are down a couple thousand off of 2019. Oakland is down close to 12,000 a game, by far the biggest differential in the league.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 17, 2022 at 01:41 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: May 17, 2022 at 02:16 PM (#6077183)
“We wouldn’t be spending $2 million a month trying to get our waterfront ballpark approved if we weren’t serious about staying in Oakland.”

How exactly does it cost two million dollars a month just to get a frickin' stadium approved? Where the hell does that money go? Are Bay Area politicians that expensive...?
   2. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 17, 2022 at 02:44 PM (#6077192)
It's not that they want to leave Oakland. It's that they want a shiny new ballpark and the land around it for further team-owned development, and they don't care where they get it as long as it's paid for by anyone other than Athletics Baseball Club, LLC.

Where the hell does that money go? Are Bay Area politicians that expensive...?

In related news...
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 17, 2022 at 03:36 PM (#6077201)
“I know some people think it’s ‘Major League,’ but it’s not,”


This makes more sense if you take out the quotations around "Major League."
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: May 17, 2022 at 03:54 PM (#6077204)
Are Bay Area politicians that expensive...?

I once covered a corruption trial where a high-ranking executive explained the process of real estate projects getting approved.

the local elected officials let the developers know how much they need to contribute to their respective campaigns, and the companies have a ready list of employees who serve as donors (the reader can decide if these employees get greased with handshakes by the top guns as thanks for their 'service').

but he explained that in this particular instance, the "ask" at several levels was so high (it was a huge project) that he recalled that a U.S. Senator kept calling and he had to keep reminding his receptionist that he was "out of the office" pretty much as he hid under his desk.

whenever pressed on the donations, the talking point was that even though the executives might live 1000 miles away, they were big fans of good government and wanted to help those politicians continue to selflessly serve their community.

$2 million a month with the expectation of several hundred million in taxpayer-funded stadium subsidies sounds like a good business model...
   5. Walt Davis Posted: May 17, 2022 at 04:16 PM (#6077207)
Athletics Baseball Club, LLC

Close ... it's Athletics Investment Group LLC. As their brief Bloomberg profile says they provide "sporting event services." The company "provides baseball games as well as provides daily online forecasting services." (I have no idea that those are.)
   6. BDC Posted: May 17, 2022 at 04:39 PM (#6077210)
This may be in TFA, but … the A's home opener was a Monday. Their first four home series were Orioles, Rangers, Guardians, and Rays – none of them setting any road-attendance records this year, I bet. Their last weekend series (Angels) drew significantly better. So some of the rotten attendance is rotten luck in timing and opponents.

Not an explanation, really – people need to come out for the home team, not the visitors, and clearly A's fans don't do that much.
   7. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 17, 2022 at 04:41 PM (#6077211)
Close ... it's Athletics Investment Group LLC.

Stands to reason as their primary interest is "investment" rather than "baseball."
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 17, 2022 at 04:42 PM (#6077213)
Yet, the A’s have not completely abandoned in-stadium promotions.

“We have the only drone show in Major League Baseball,” Kaval said


Minor point I know, but the Royals just had one last week.
   9. RickG Posted: May 17, 2022 at 05:09 PM (#6077218)
I'm going with "insurance liability":

@dbremer_pxp I've just been asked to leave the visiting broadcast booth so an exterminator could come in to try to catch a possum...a series of words that, I'm guessing, has never been connected before. Hope you can join @LaTroyHawkins32, me and ????? for Twins/A's tonight from Oakland.
   10. asinwreck Posted: May 17, 2022 at 05:15 PM (#6077221)
They managed to attract an opossum. Maybe the answer is marketing to the larger biotic community.
   11. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: May 17, 2022 at 05:25 PM (#6077223)
I don't know what it is, but the A's, since Moneyball really got ingrained organization-wide, are one of the most deliberate teams out there. That degrades the fan experience right there. I was at the game this past Friday and man I have never seen a 2-0 game move more slowly.

The stadium is actually not that bad. The fan experience isn't that bad, could use some improvement, there are many things that seem like they only try halfway, and things like relish can be randomly missing from various hot dog stands, etc.

I have met many people that are basically pissed at the A's and say "they are going back for now". I think that's the big problem.

How come they raised ticket prices? They have some "deals", but they really just need to go back to the $1 hot dogs on Wednesday day games, the $10 bleacher tickets, all that stuff. They used to be a "cheap ticket" that would get people to come to the park. They could do a lot more if they wanted to. I get the feeling they don't want good attendance right now.
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 17, 2022 at 05:33 PM (#6077226)
My semi-joking, semi-serious take on going to Kauffman Stadium this year is that they are deliberately not maintaining things and making things less pleasant to make the case for a new stadium. It wouldn't at all surprise me if the A's and Rays were doing it more conspicuously.
   13. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: May 17, 2022 at 05:38 PM (#6077229)
typo: "they are going back for now" should be "they ARE NOT going back for now"
   14. GregD Posted: May 17, 2022 at 05:56 PM (#6077232)
The concession guy laughed when I asked for a lid last week. “They’re way too cheap for that.”
   15. Bhaakon Posted: May 17, 2022 at 06:10 PM (#6077235)
It's not really anything new. The A's have also had consistently inconsistent broadcasting deals for as long as I've lived in their area. Their media presence within their own market is virtually nonexistent. The comparison to the Giants in how each franchise has managed their non-baseball operations over the last 30 years is stark, and not at all flattering to the A's.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: May 17, 2022 at 06:30 PM (#6077237)
Well y'know when that $210 M comes rolling in from MLB (plus half the local revenue), ya gotta remember there's a whopping $48 M going out in player payroll and for a mere $162+ M, clearly lids are unaffordable so don't even ask about a good fan experience.
   17. Zach Posted: May 17, 2022 at 06:49 PM (#6077243)
It's not really anything new. The A's have also had consistently inconsistent broadcasting deals for as long as I've lived in their area. Their media presence within their own market is virtually nonexistent. The comparison to the Giants in how each franchise has managed their non-baseball operations over the last 30 years is stark, and not at all flattering to the A's.

I keep pounding this drum. I live in the East Bay, and the market penetration is nonexistent.

There are a lot of people in the Bay Area! Tons of them are newcomers, and a lot of the people with kids live in the East Bay because it's cheaper. There's a big market there if they ever bother to sell to it.
   18. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: May 17, 2022 at 07:08 PM (#6077249)
A few Friday's ago was Start Wars night, with a Star Wars-themed fireworks show. A few years ago this was a BIG DEAL, people came out dressed as storm troopers and such and the park was filled, I was there, it was a great time. Nobody hardly knew about it this time, except those who tune into the A's radio broadcasts, and even that was a pretty soft sell.
   19. Rough Carrigan Posted: May 17, 2022 at 11:03 PM (#6077300)
Stands to reason as their primary interest is "investment" rather than "baseball."


Replace "baseball" with "education" and you describe most major U.S. universities. They're hedge funds with a tax status edge.
   20. Jose Canusee Posted: May 17, 2022 at 11:26 PM (#6077306)
They managed to attract an opossum. Maybe the answer is marketing to the larger biotic community.

They are doing better than that. But animals don't buy souvenirs
https://oaklandside.org/2022/04/13/feral-cats-have-invaded-the-oakland-coliseum/
   21. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: May 18, 2022 at 07:19 AM (#6077315)
(Oakland's) stadium is actually not that bad.

When I made my first-ever trip to the west coast in '19 (and the Giants were on the road), I was surprised how nice the Coliseum looked; it wasn't nearly as bad as the dump I saw on TV.

If the A's do move, it'll be the third major league team Oakland has lost in just the last few years (Warriors in '19, Raiders in '20, A's whenever) and the fourth overall (the California Golden Seals moved to Cleveland way back in 1976).

EDIT: Also, the Oakland Oaks won the ABA championship in 1969, and promptly moved to Washington, then later to Virginia.

ANOTHER EDIT: And then there were the Oakland Stompers of the NASL, who played one season at the Coliseum in 1977 before moving to Edmonton, of all places.

YET ANOTHER EDIT: Aaaaaand don't forget the baseball Oaks of the PCL, who moved to Vancouver in 1956 (this was actually two years before the Dodgers and Giants moved west).

   22. Misirlou cut his hair and moved to Rome Posted: May 18, 2022 at 11:13 AM (#6077329)
And the Raiders again when they moved away before they came back to move away.
   23. John Northey Posted: May 18, 2022 at 01:38 PM (#6077354)
Checking MLB attendance - A's 8,221 per game (ugly), Cleveland 10,591, Pittsburgh 11,783, Miami 12k, Tampa Bay 13k, then 15+ for everyone else. 48k for the Dodgers is #1 (only ones over 40), 30k+ per game is St Louis, Atlanta, SD, NYY, Houston, Cubs, Rockies, Angels, Red Sox, Giants, with the Jays less than 1k below that figure.

The 7 teams with payrolls below $100 million are the bottom 7 in attendance (as they deserve to be). Baltimore & KC were the others sub 17k in attendance and payrolls sub $100 million. Baltimore's big hope is to come in 2nd last in the AL East - when that is all you can tell your fans to get excited about you deserve to have an empty stadium.
   24. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 18, 2022 at 02:59 PM (#6077356)
Baltimore's big hope is to come in 2nd last in the AL East - when that is all you can tell your fans to get excited about you deserve to have an empty stadium.
Baltimore fans may have finally given up on the Angelos regime. The last two nights the Orioles had crowds of 12,228 & 12,635 with the New York Yankees visiting. That’s extraordinarily awful attendance given the quality of the opponent & ballpark. Maybe some folks will come back once top prospect Adley Rutschman is called up, although the Matt Wieters experience may make them somewhat wary.
   25. I Knew A Guy Who Knew A Guy Who Knew Rey Ordonez Posted: May 19, 2022 at 07:51 AM (#6077456)
Maybe some folks will come back once top prospect Adley Rutschman is called up, although the Matt Wieters experience may make them somewhat wary.


I live in the shadow of one of their minor league teams. Fans are pumped for Adley to be promoted, and two of their pitching prospects (DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez). There's cautious optimism about the team having a good run, a lot of trust in Brandon Hyde, and some skepticism about sutaining it long term. But at least the first month of these guys being up would probably produce a bump in attendance.

There's also the "all TTO, all the time" philosophy that the organization has, which may also not be helping because the baseball just isn't exciting, regardless of whether it's good.
   26. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: May 19, 2022 at 10:50 AM (#6077462)
also not be helping because the baseball just isn't exciting, regardless of whether it's good.


Right. That's what I was saying when I said "organization-wide, are one of the most deliberate teams out there. That degrades the fan experience right there." It's amazing, having gone to a Giants game and an A's game within a week of each other, how things seemed in comparison to drag on at the A's game, and the A's game I went to had 15,000+ people at it, so the stadium wasn't empty by any means.
   27. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: May 19, 2022 at 05:48 PM (#6077535)
The last two nights the Orioles had crowds of 12,228 & 12,635 with the New York Yankees visiting.


There's a buddy of mine who sometimes takes the train to Baltimore, watches a game or three in half-way decent seats, stays in a hotel, and takes the train back to Long Island...all for less than the price of one comparable ticket in Yankee Stadium.
   28. The Honorable Ardo Posted: May 20, 2022 at 02:54 AM (#6077596)
The Tigers are claiming slightly > 18K/game, but it's been goosed by Opening Day and Miguel Cabrera's 3000th hit. Their default attendance is closer to the 12,674 (including me) that saw them lose to the A's on May 9th. And that crowd seemed closer to 10K than 13K.

Pricing isn't the barrier; Comerica Park tickets start at $10 ($15 for "premium opponents") and no one cares where you sit.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
The Piehole of David Wells
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogFormer MLB manager Art Howe in ICU due to the coronavirus
(5 - 6:46am, Jun 25)
Last: Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful

Newsblog2022 NBA Playoffs thread
(3311 - 12:43am, Jun 25)
Last: Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging

NewsblogMLB should consider adopting a mercy rule
(48 - 12:12am, Jun 25)
Last: The Ghost of Sox Fans Past

NewsblogWeekend OMNICHATTER for June 24-26, 2022
(34 - 12:06am, Jun 25)
Last: Snowboy

Newsblog696 games later, he gets his 1st at-bat, and well ...
(4 - 9:54pm, Jun 24)
Last: Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc

NewsblogHere are the All-Star Ballot standings so far
(25 - 9:36pm, Jun 24)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogShohei Ohtani follows up career-high 8-RBI night with career-high 13 Ks
(51 - 9:06pm, Jun 24)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogTexas Rangers trade Willie Calhoun to San Francisco Giants for Steven Duggar
(2 - 9:03pm, Jun 24)
Last: JJ1986

NewsblogMemo: MLB to require all teams to 'muddy' ball using exact same technique
(13 - 6:25pm, Jun 24)
Last: tshipman

NewsblogOMNICHATTER for Thursday, June 23, 2022
(44 - 5:17pm, Jun 24)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogThe Yankees Are Keeping Pace With Their 1998 Powerhouse
(26 - 5:13pm, Jun 24)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogWhy Manny Ramirez says Derek Jeter would have been ‘just a regular player’ in Kansas City
(30 - 3:35pm, Jun 24)
Last: Bret Sabermatrician

NewsblogOutfielder Austin Hays becomes sixth player in Baltimore Orioles history to hit for cycle
(2 - 11:30am, Jun 24)
Last: John DiFool2

NewsblogPirates shortstop Oneil Cruz showcases all his skills in impressive season debut
(30 - 4:04am, Jun 24)
Last: Cooper Nielson

Sox TherapyNow That's A Road Trip
(23 - 6:06pm, Jun 23)
Last: Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful

Page rendered in 0.3264 seconds
45 querie(s) executed