If you were waiting to buy tickets to FanFest this week or by walkup, you’re out of luck. The event’s 10,000 tickets are sold out. Just as with the playoffs, fans shouldn’t take ticket availability for granted. You snooze, you lose.
Of course, the announcement will bring about the usual grousing about how anti-fan A’s ownership is and such. That ignores two big issues.
- The Coliseum is unavailable because of a motocross event on Saturday the 26th. Most teams that have FanFest in their own ballparks use the field as a huge concourse and staging area. The A’s won’t have that luxury since the field will be a big pile of mud. That would force fans into aisles and concourses, and we know damn well how congested the lower concourse gets at times. I once took an out-of-town friend to the Giants’ FanFest in 2008, which was held at AT&T Park. The field was also unavailable there due to a motocross event. It was a less-than-ideal situation and had all the feel of a hard hat construction zone.
- Oracle Arena’s concourses were very congested last year at FanFest. While some people chose to sit and watch interviews, most were on the main concourse, inside the lower club, or in line for autographs. The upper deck was blocked off (familiar story). I suppose that the A’s could’ve thrown an Eric Sogard autograph line up there. Would that really help things?
When putting on one-off events like FanFest, the biggest wildcard is the impact of a previous season’s success on attendance. The Giants were overwhelmed by the response at their 2011 FanFest, causing extremely long lines and waits for autographs and World Series trophy pictures. You want to bring in as many people as possible because you can sell tickets, but you also don’t to create a situation were the experience sucks for fans. Oracle Arena would be a perfectly fine venue if it had more expansive concourses like HP Pavilion or Staples Center. That wasn’t in the cards for the 1997 renovation.
Perhaps the A’s could’ve held FanFest at Jack London Square or another large public space. That’s fine, though personally I like having the clubhouse tour right there at the Coliseum/Arena. That’s not possible at JLS. Tell you what: Don Knauss and his people could’ve offered to sponsor FanFest by underwriting the cost to hold it at JLS, right next to their preferred Howard Terminal ballpark site. Oh well. Maybe next year.