Diridon Capacity Estimates

While the Diridon renderings left many wondering about the little details, one major item we had no inkling about was the stadium’s capacity. Only vague mentions of 35,000 or 45,000 have been floated, but only briefly. So I figured that, absent a press release or backing documentation, I’d deconstruct 360’s model to determine the capacity. Keep in mind that this is my interpretation of what I’ve seen, so take it with several grains of salt as it is not gospel.

In doing this, several assumptions were made.

  • Regular seating is normally 19-inch, 20 per row, with 2-4 inches on each side to accommodate standards. Aisles are at least 4 feet wide. A switch to 20-inch seats would reduce capacity.
  • All seats are chairs with backs, no benches.
  • Club seats are at least 24 inches wide with or without side tables, plus drink rails.
  • Although not illustrated, a reduction in seating due to dugout placement is taken into account.
  • ADA requirements nowadays recommend a dispersal of accessible locations, not just behind a section (this is why you see front row accessible sections in many stadia). This is not taken into account. However, I’ve been aggressive about providing ADA locations, so a reduction of seating as part of making such accommodations would be minimal.
  • Bullpens are in center field.
  • The field is sunken 25 feet.
  • There are 40 suites and 40 minisuites. Club seats are up top. A club area in the grandstand behind the plate would reduce capacity slightly.
  • Reduction of seating due to columns has not been calculated. Neither has a number of potential obstructed view seats.
  • The press box has also not been factored in. It could displace up to 400 seats in the balcony.
  • Terminology: Grandstand (lower level from foul line to foul line), Balcony (upper level from foul line to foul line), Outfield reserved (lower level left field), Outfield Balcony (upper level left field), Bleachers (lower level right field)
  • The 1,500 figure for standing room comes from San Francisco’s maximum SRO limit for AT&T Park.

In my previous analysis, I had mentioned that I thought both decks would need more rows to make up for their limited length. To flesh this out, I’ve plotted two models. One has 40 rows in the lower deck and 24 in the upper deck. The other has 40 rows in the lower deck and 20 in the upper deck. In the second model, the last 4 rows have been eliminated in the main balcony level and the outfield balcony as well. The point of this is to illustrate how much of a difference capacity lopping off a few rows makes – in this case, almost 2,300 seats. Update 9/7 2:43 PM: Table updated to include an alternative with only 32,000 seats.

In the comparison, a third model is included. In it, the controversial right field bleachers, which in the 360 concept cut into the playing surface and reduce the RF power alley to a short 345 feet, have been significantly reduced. The result is that nearly 600 seats have been removed, but the alley is now 376 feet, though it quickly becomes 368 thanks to the cut-in of the bleachers.

Below is the original model.

Now here’s the modified version.

One thing mentioned in the comments is the lack of a service entrance to the field for vehicles and such. Since the field is sunken, there isn’t a way to incorporate a simple access ramp from right field. If the design moves forward, I would expect an entrance to be placed in the LF corner, where the multi-angle seating is situated. That would create a loss of up to 150 seats, but it would be space efficient and would allow for access from either the north (San Fernando Street) or south (Park Avenue) via the event level (field) service tunnel.

Note about the field dimensions: the original model’s quasi-rectangular shape (compared to a regular baseball field) would appear to be appropriate for fitting a soccer or football field. Unfortunately, the LF corner would cut into any such field layout, and the seats in the LF corner are terribly angled for either sport. Basically, this can be considered a baseball-only park.

Last item: the field dimensions show a 25-foot height in RF. However, this may actually be much higher if the home run lines are to be believed. The wall could be as much as 40 feet high, which would make it higher than both Fenway’s Green Monster and a similar, slightly taller wall called Arch Nemesis at Sovereign Bank Stadium in York, PA.

So, are you surprised by the capacities? What other questions or comments do you have?

63 thoughts on “Diridon Capacity Estimates

  1. Great job. You should compose your research over the years into a book when all this is eventually all said and done.

    I’m surprised that that all of those estimates are that high. Just eyeballing the renderings, I’d guess 33.5k. I have a couple of questions:

    Are 40 rows typical for grandstand in an MLB park?

    Based on your estimations, is the angle of the grandstand any steeper than the typical lower grandstand of an MLB park?

  2. ML–great analysis—I have been told that 1)—these aren’t just renderings the design is complete and ready to be built—short porches will be part of it– (not sure where the service entrance will be…and 2) that the capacity is 32k—assume w/o standing room included in capacity—which feels about right—there also will be some obstrructed seats (just like Fenway and Wrigley) but using the colunns was the only way to get fans as close to the action as possible—as expected it will be one of the most intimate ballparks in all of baseball—

    • @Briggs – 40 rows or slightly less than that is pretty standard. Because it is 40 rows, I don’t expect the rake to be very steep, around 12 degrees. Upper deck might be 25-27 degrees.

      @GoA’s – The way I have it drawn up, the cantilever is 20 rows or 55 feet. To understand what that means, imagine that the plaza level of the Coliseum hangs over the entire back half of the lower deck. Right now it covers 10 rows.

      To me the thing that stands out is the main seating bowl. The geometry is clean and scales well.

  3. def would get rid of those three or four sections in the rf seats if it meant the distance was increased by a good 20+ ft making it less of a chance that a lot of warning track or in front of the warning track hrs you see at the coliseum are hrs in cisco field. ‘

    modified rf bleacher section of the chart imo is ideal. 600 or so seats isn’t worth it if it means rf is just too hr happy of a area of the park.

    also wouldn’t mind if they cut off some seats down the lf line to increase the distance from 305 to something over .320 ft.

    still don’t know why they couldn’t move the location of the park about 20-30 ft “west” so there wouldnt’ be this issue with that short rf porch and you could actually add more seats down the rf line and add more rf seats?

    • @letsgoas – Can’t move the ballpark further west unless you’re willing to sacrifice concourse space. There’s a 40 foot wide down the third base line right now, less would make it like the Coliseum.

  4. okay, never mind then.

    maybe you could compare the foul territory of cisco field to that of the coliseum and to other the newer parks built?

  5. Now, does MLB possess the minimal intelligence necessary to let this great idea of a downtown San Jose ballpark go forward? So far, we haven’t seen that it does.

  6. ML, thanks for this analysis. I’ve said this before but I don’t know what I would do without your blog. I’m tired of waiting. MLB needs to hurry the heck up.

  7. Will this Cisco Field be similar to Dodger Stadium where fans enter the stands through the top row? One this I really appreciate about the Coliseum is how easy it is to zig zag between the plaza and field level via the entrance tunnels. I hope (but doubt) this ballpark will have easy access between the upper and lower levels.

    Concerning obstructed views, the main concern I have is whether the balcony overhang will obstruct the view fly balls from the back rows of the grandstands. From the lower reserved seats at Candlestick (lower grandstand beneath the 2nd deck), fly balls would disappear and the only way of following the action was watching the outfielder’s read of the ball swirling in SF winds.

  8. ML—if the input I got was correct and the park is 32k what would be different in your analysis above? Also, feedback was that there will be no “restuarant”—downtown will serve that need—none of the gimicky amusement park attractions…its a pure baseball stadium….any thoughts on what would go on the bottom of the Colonnade–25 feet below street level at field level?

  9. GoA’s,
    Any idea on what will be housed in the brick buildings to the north, west and south? I assume some of it will be for administration, ticketing and maybe a museum. Maybe a large team store???

  10. @Briggs – Dodger Stadium is built into a hill. That’s why you can enter in at the top. Something like that isn’t possible at Diridon. As for overhangs, that’s all dependent on how much clearance there is between the lower and upper decks.

    @GoA’s – Not difficult. Remove 4 rows from the back of both upper and lower decks and you’re at 32,000. Also, I think there’s a difference between the purity of the “vision” and implementation. Lots of things can change. The important thing is that there is flexibility to allow for that.

    One of the reasons why I put this post up was to show how you could squeeze 38,000 seats into a space like this. You don’t need to use the site as an excuse.

    OT – Over at Baseball Oakland, linusalf thinks that “the field is crap” argument is merely an excuse. He’s basically saying, “Who are you gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?” I got my chuckle for the morning.

  11. I like how he has a link to every A’s site but yours.

  12. @fc–no–didn’t have the opportunity to ask much beyond the dimensions and size of the field as well as talk about the Colonnade-these are the mini-suites that have been talked about—ML has a much better sense for what types of things might go in these buildings—

    Got to love anyone who advocates that the coli is a reasonable stadium while Oakland continues to try and figure out where they might be able to put a new ballpark….isn’t this what got Oakland into this mess by pretending all was well when we all know that it sucks…..pretty soon there gonna have Al going public that he needs a new football stadium and then they will really have their hands full.

  13. But once Al says he wants a new football stadium, you know for sure that Oakland will drop all pretense in dealing with the A’s and bend over backwards for a publically funded Raiders stadium.

  14. @GoA”s–they gave the BRC 3 Oakland sites near the waterfront/JLS, and the front runner appears to be Victory Ct. I scouted it out, walked around, drove around and this site is very cool/ viable. Relocating the businesses there won’t be wasy, but SJ is having probs too in that area.
    @Zonis–no way publicly funded Raider stadium. It blew up in their faces last tine and us in AC are still paying for it. The mayor’s behind on keeping the A’s, much more than Jerry Brown was. I still say Oak’s gonna pull this one off. The TR issue is a big can of worm’s they really don;t want to deal with. And to pay the Giants 200 million to overturn the rights, will just come out of the payroll. LW won;t beef up the payroll as much as you guys like. He still wants to make money and this SJ park is an unknown and a bit risky. They built it in SJ , they may come… for the first 3 years.

  15. @jk-usa – Can you just change your name to Pollyanna? And can I point out that you are yet another Oakland “booster” who apparently does not actually live in Oakland? Why is this so common?

  16. re: They built it in SJ , they may come… for the first 3 years.

    You mean like Sharks fans are still coming after 18 years? Who’s got the better record of fanatic support? San Jose or Oakland? San Jose in a cakewalk…

  17. @ Marine Layer:

    These renderings don’t show entrance tunnels on the balcony level. Do you think that’s that plan or just not something represented in these draft renderings?

    @ Anyone else:

    On a somewhat related note, I’m warming up to this Diridon version of Cisco Field. I almost immediately liked the North Coliseum & Pacific Commons Cisco Field renderings but felt they would possibly turn out too busy looking. They each had lots of eye candy.

    When these Diridon Cisco Field renderings showed up, I initially thought they were a bit too dull. Though, I think that’s a good place to start with an urban ballpark. Minute Maid Park had those Crawford Boxes and CF hill its opening day. Diridon Cisco Field is in part defined by the available space so it’s confines aren’t as contrived. Yet it also has a lot of space/areas where it could develop over the years such as the LF/East structure or the colonnade. There’s a real opportinuty to watch this park evolve over time– granted 360 Architecture/investors/A’s don’t decide to cram it full of gimmicks if and when this park ever opens.

    • @Briggs – I’m pretty sure the only concourse will be at the top. There may be tunnels at the bottom for a few ADA wheelchair locations, but that’s it.

      BTW, mea culpa for taking the thread off topic.

  18. @ML–What the hell does it matter that I don’t live in Oakland?! I live right down the road in Hayward and spend a lot of time there and love the city. It has more personality, great architecture, natural beauty and cool things than San Jose can ever dream of. We actually have a skyline with cool old buildings, great views of the bay, a cool lake, awesome hills and some of the funkiest neighborhoods in the bay area. SJ does has Santana Row and endless strip malls if that’s your thing. The Oakland Calif. Museum blows away SJ’s disappointing Tech Museum.
    You’re kind of strange dude.. Stick to the ballpark layouts and keep the personal opinions on everyone at the front door.

    • @jk-usa – Of course it matters. It’s one thing to extoll the virtues of Oakland and yet not commit to living there. I find that rather suspect. Maybe if more defenders of Oakland lived there, it’d be a better run place, a place with a better chance to cut a real ballpark deal. Just my two cents. No need to get your panties in a bunch.

  19. @jk-usa

    This post and comment thread are about the possible seating capacity of Diridon Cisco Field. Can we keep the vague Oakland vs. San Jose discussion for when MLB/Selig state their final recommendation? Until then, anything said on the matter is just noise and distrupts any focused discussion in ML & Jeffrey’s articles.

  20. Is this a bizarro world where San Jose is Hayward?

  21. Please, dear FSM, don’t let it be 345 in the power alley regardless of seating capacity.

  22. @Vince… that article is interesting. We already knew 360 was doing the design, but I don’t think we were aware it would be 65,000 seats. Gotta love the AP.

  23. 65,000 might be a typo though. I don’t see that happening at the Diridon site.

  24. @jk-usa, walking around Victory Court is not nearly enough research to declare something “viable.” There is a lot more to that, as I wrote way back when Victory Court was announced as a potential site. The challenges Victory Court has include Transportation (cars, most folks will still get there by car, back up on the 5th Avenue off ramp during high traffic times for example), Parcel Acquisition and Business Relocation (which isn’t that huge of a deal on the acquisition front, they can use Eminent Domain, but ti could get pretty expensive with relocation factored in), Public Utility ROW’s (I have been told three run through the site and that they can’t be taken via Eminent Domain, though I am not an ED expert) and, of course, paying for the thing. Oakland Only people always ignore these things and say “It’s viable!”
    I’d love to talk to someone who has a plan and answers to these questions (and several others that I have posed in private and public to Oakland City officials)… Alas, they are ignored. If you really, really want the stadium in Oakland, I suggest pushing for details on these things. And when you find they don’t exist, push for someone to come up with them.

  25. I also saw the “A’s hiring 360 Architecture” over at the SJ/SV Biz Journal. My only question about this announcement is this: I thought Wolff/A’s had hired 360 years ago? What’s with today’s announcement? Perhaps a sign that things are getting serious in the design/build department? I think ESPN accidently typed the “6” key instead of the “3.”

  26. 65k seats sounds about right. They’ll probably tarp off most of them to give the place a more intimate feel.

  27. The architect hiring might be the best news we’ve ever heard on this nightmare. Does it telegraph that the A’s will be given the OK to come to San Jose? Keep those fingers crossed, call The 700 Club prayer lines, light a candle at church, whatever it takes.

    Why would Wolff do this if nothing good was up?

    • The architect hiring might be the best news we’ve ever heard on this nightmare. Does it telegraph that the A’s will be given the OK to come to San Jose? Keep those fingers crossed, call The 700 Club prayer lines, light a candle at church, whatever it takes. Why would Wolff do this if nothing good was up?

      My thoughts exactly pjk! It probably didn’t take much in the past to have 360 draw up renderings/concepts; but to now actually design/engineer the ballpark? Like I stated previously, things could be getting serious now; stay tuned!

  28. Ok, so once again, this site is dreaming about the impossible. Its amazing what one can do with the power of computer technology. Cut and Paste all day long!!!

  29. To play Oakland’s advocate… Why would Lew Wolff do this? Because he wants to create the perception that this is a done deal, perhaps. Amongst fans, amongst other owners, within the office of the commish… Just sayin…

  30. And the thread hijack is complete… sorry ML. Your analysis is badass as usual.

  31. @jk-usa: Hate to tell you this, but where you live actually matters a whole bunch. It matters when it comes to money. You, someone who doesn’t actually pay taxes in Oakland, are all over the idea of the Oakland taxpayers putting up millions of bucks so you don’t have to drive so far for a ball game. You remind me of the people from Campbell, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, et al, who wrote impassioned letters to the Mercury News 20 years ago about how great it would be for San Jose to build a ballpark for the Giants. I, and many other actual taxpaying residents of San Jose, gave due consideration to the input from people who wouldn’t have to pay anything for the new ballpark they so fervently desired, and then voted it down. This highlights the problem with suburbia and our system of government: people who live in suburbs actually think they live in the city involved. Until it comes to paying taxes.

    If you ain’t got skin in the game, your opinion doesn’t mean very much. You do know that any city where the A’s finally end up will incur somewhat of a financial penalty, don’t you? As Marine Layer notes, if you like Oakland that much, move there and help pay for the stadium you want. Otherwise, don’t you feel just a little bit awkward in being so vociferous in demanding that Oakland residents pay the price for your entertainment? You’re not an Oakland guy at all. Why would you really care? Do you have civic pride for Oakland when you live in Hayward? And one wonders why you’re so upset about the proposed move. Look on the bright side: you’ll have a counter-commute.

    Back on topic, I like these sketches, although I’m hesitant about some of the outfield dimensions. I especially like the idea of a ballpark with 38K capacity. Always felt that 32K was insufficient. 38K is good. BTW, Marine Layer, has anyone ever mentioned, say, putting a bar/restaurant in the train station? Or exploring development opportunities, to include a parking garage, on San Carlos Street? That’s an old commercial corridor that’s actually as close to the proposed ballpark location as Market Street. I think that could turn out to be a happening area.

    • @old blue – I suppose a bar/restaurant could be built as part of an expanded train station for HSR, but for the existing station? There’s no room. The snack bar there is the size of a closet, which makes sense given that the main depot building is only slightly larger than a tennis court.

      Spot on observations about having skin in the game. It means something. Redevelopment money isn’t free.

  32. Old Blue,
    I agree with you that San Carlos Street, especially between 87 and Bird Avenue, could become a really happening place near the ballpark; especially if the Discovery Museum light-rail station becomes the primary LR stop for fans coming out of South San Jose.
    hijacking this thread further; I’m sure Wolff has his frat brothers “blessing” for all of this rendering/hiring 360 Architecture stuff.

  33. To hijack this thread even further, how many of you pro-San Jose/anti-Oakland guys actually live in San Jose, since this proposed park will be coming out of your pockets? You gang up on me because I’m not an Oakland resident, but have no prob if SJ gets stuck footing a chunk of the bill.
    Signed: Pollyanna Luddite (ML’s name for me)

  34. I live in San Jose.

    Yes, it is not proper to promote the spending of taxpayers money on a ballpark when you don’t live in the city involved and won’t have to pick up the tab.

  35. Distance between Hayward and San Jose: 26 miles. Wow. That sure is far.

  36. Jk,
    Re: SJ, why should it matter when Wolff will privately finance the ballpark? And the RDA funds used for land acquisitions and infrastructure improvements are generated in the Redevelopment Districts, not all of SJ. For the record: born and raised in SJ, now live “part time,” with a townhome in Evergreen and primary “family raising” residence in Gilroy.

  37. I am pro keeping the A’s in the Bay Area. I live in Pleasanton. Work in Palo Alto. In my opinion, the relative RDA’s and citizens will decide how and what type o money is spent. I will enjoy going games in either city.

  38. No matter how much the park is privately financed, the city involved will always incur some costs. It’s a lot easier to promote another city incurring these costs than your own.

  39. I don’t live in Oakland, Fremont or San Jose, but my fiancé is a homeowner in San Jose. It’s possible we’ll end up living in San Jose down the line. Though (and I’ve made this clear to her), if the A’s don’t end up moving to San Jose, the engagement is off.

    • Good analysis, ML – I hope this comes to fruition.

      Though (and I’ve made this clear to her), if the A’s don’t end up moving to San Jose, the engagement is off.

      People, we have the winner of this thread.

  40. I live in downtown San Jose. I wouldn’t even mind if they went door-to-door collecting funds to make this happens, so long as it does.

  41. FWIW, San Jose’s budget problems, incurred by overpaying salaries and pensions, have affected me personally. Had to shell out $350 to prune the city’s tree in front of my house because the city doesn’t have the money but still requires tree maintenance. But I recognize this once-in-a-milenium opportunity to land the A’s is here now. If we wait until the city”s budget problems go away and everything is perfect, we’ll never get the A.s

    I’ve even seen one anti-A’s group propose office development as an alternative to the A’s park. Yes, we surely need more empty office buildings downtown don’t we? Like the big one behind the convention center that’s never been occupied.

  42. lol Briggs! Now that’s a fan.

  43. From this view, you can count (if one zooms in on the illlustration) that the grandstand upper deck has 21 rows and the grandstand club level has 6 rows.

    I still think it would be a major mistake to put the club level at the top of the building. A better solution is found at Soldier Field, where the 2 club levels make up the mezzanine and the LOWER half of the upper deck, and the 4 suite levels (essentially) replace the UPPER half of the upper deck:

    • @Pudgie – There are inconsistencies among the various renderings, which makes it difficult to use any one as a proper source. The one you reference has six rows and vomitories in the club level. Others have three rows and no vomitories. Soldier Field is a great example of how to execute clubs and suites, however it’s not particularly cost-effective, at least not in this application. Containing costs is a huge factor here.

  44. @ML

    To which rendering are you referring when you say there is a drawing of a club level with “three rows and no vomitories”? Is it this one?

    That illustration shows the LEFT FIELD seats, not the grandstand seats.
    The cantilever is NOT 55 feet/20 rows. Look at this photo:

    Since the upper deck has 21 rows, the span of the entire upper deck is ONLY 58 feet (assuming 33-inch rows)
    Look at where the columns line up towards the end of the upper deck near the left field corner building. You can see (in the second to last support series) that the column in the lower seating bowl is forward of the column at the rear of the upper deck. A shorter cantilever makes sense too because a column for a “supercantilever” (55 feet) would have to be of significant girth, too much girth to be placed within the seating bowl.
    The cantilever appears to be 30 – 40 feet.

    • @Pudgie – I think you got my greater point, but we’re debating details which at this juncture is pointless. We shouldn’t look at things too literally, and we should look beyond the surface.

      For instance, why does the top deck in the West View have vomitories? Vomitories reduce available seating by 16 seats per section, per my calculations. If those aren’t club seats, yet the left field seats are (the rows with the drinkrails), why on earth would they put club seats above what will invariably be the cheapest seats in the stadium? If those aren’t club seats, where are they? And where is the level of detail that accompanies it? I’ve taken my cues from the Fremont Pacific Commons renderings, which went through a few iterations and raised some questions on my part.

      You can drive yourself crazy trying to dissect every rendering, as I nearly have. Let’s wait until something more substantial comes down the road.

  45. Sorry if my posts were confusing. These were the points I was trying to make:

    – It seems silly to pontificate about the number of rows in the upper deck (or “balcony” level) when the new illustrations clearly show that there are 21 rows in the upper deck.

    – The design eschews the use of a 55-foot cantilever (a la Qwest Field or Petco Park) in favor of a more conventional cantilever length.

    • @Pudgie – Apparently you did miss my points which were:

      a. Initial vision is subject to change, often major change.
      b. To get caught up in minutiae when we don’t know certain basics is also silly.
      c. The estimates were made to get a feel for how big the ballpark could be, an to educate readers of the impact of certain design decisions.

      I think we can end the debate here, eh?

  46. @ML – I didn’t think we were debating (because we are mostly in agreement), but I have some thoughts about your last comment:
    – In regards to Point “a,” it appears to me (and to others like “GoAs” who have more inside information) that the design is more or less complete. Unlike 360’s Fremont and Oakland designs (which were to be built on large superblocks) , this design is based on a very small, very specific piece of land. I think what we see is (pretty much) what we are going to get.
    – Regarding Point “b,” it seems somewhat hypocritical to scold someone for getting “caught up in minutiae” when the body of your post did exactly the same thing.
    – Personally, I would have wished that your suggestion to make the cantilever “20 rows or 55 feet” would have been implemented . . . because I have no interest in sitting behind a column!

    • @Pudgie – A – I’m using the past as a guide. The last two ballparks that were shoehorned, AT&T Park and Target Field, both underwent major changes in between initial unveiling and final release. Besides, we still have a lot of questions about how the place is laid out. We’ll get the info in due time.

      B – *shakes head slowly*

      There’s a major difference between the long cantilever at PETCO and what’s envisioned here. Here, the suites are tucked under the upper deck, so they’d be part of the load. At PETCO, they are above and at the back of the club level, so they aren’t part of the load.

  47. Looks like a nice first design…however my problem with it is the fences in left field seem to high. They need to make it a 5-6 foot fence instead of a 10-12 high fence and the left field bleachers and seats above it seem far to plain and dull.

    No originality whatsoever. Center field to right field looks fine, but left field needs a more creative look and design, instead of a very bland and unimaginative look.

  48. Has there been a section published along with any of the renderings? What are the sight lines from the suites, as they appear to be wankered under the upper deck.

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