Off the Record: Athletics can’t fill Coliseum


Special To / The Advocate

Oakland Athletics’ home stadium, McAfee Coliseum, in Oakland, California.

By Efrain Valdez, Sports Editor

Upgrades to the ballpark and good play have not been enough to lure fans from the East Bay to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for Oakland Athletics baseball.

Disappointing, small crowds plagued the first homestand of the season even when marquee players and the reigning champions came into town.

Mike Trout and the Red Sox (who are the reigning champions) could not draw a respectable crowd except on Sunday against the Angels.

When you have top teams and players in town, clubs must find a way to hype up these match ups.

The season-opening homestand was an absolute embarrassment.

Team President Dave Kaval, and the rest of the organization, should be embarrassed. To not draw at least 30,000 fans to the stadium is an absolute failure for the organization.

The team has two Gold Glove winners on the corners (Matt Chapman and Matt Olson) and the best slugger in the league in Khris Davis. The organization has the players to market, they haven’t found an acceptable way to do it.

If the San Francisco Giants can draw people to their stadium by marketing Pablo Sandoval “Panda” hats in 2019, the A’s should be able to market their stars.

The new upgrades to the stadium, like the new Kids Zone on Mount Davis, the revved up selection of food and beer, plus the amazing play on the field should have been enough to draw bigger crowds.

The Coliseum is not Oracle Park by any means, however the upgrades make it a hidden East Bay gem.

On of the problems is that the organization has not put effort toward promoting all the upgrades at the stadium. Sure, you can see the new A’s access pass advertisements on Twitter and Instagram and it’s great that they’re advertising to younger crowds on social media.

But, let’s be real. Young adults cannot be trusted to fill up seats night after night. The team has to redirect its effort toward drawing families into the games.

The misconception that all sporting events are not affordable for families is a joke (thanks to Oracle Park prices). The A’s have one of the most affordable season ticket plans in all of the major sports in America.

They should plaster that on every media outlet possible. Kaval has to go sit in with every local news outlet during the 6 o’clock news and tell people that A’s games are affordable and that the stadium is a fun place to be — people don’t know that.

The occasional roadside billboard or tweet about $20 tickets is not enough.

I thought things had changed dramatically when Kaval took over as president. Some things have changed for the better but the organization has to show people the fruits of its labor.

If this does not change, the A’s will remain as one of the laughing stocks of professional sports in the Bay Area.