The Merc’s Daniel Brown wrote a bleak article on A’s attendance, grabbing a few choice quotes from Andy Dolich and A’s sales/marketing veep Jim Leahey. Dolich reflected on how the Coliseum used to be packed during the Bash Brothers era, and pointed a finger at how ownership’s constant desire to move out of Oakland has hurt attendance.
“Really, it just made me sad,” he said. “There was a time – and it’s getting harder for people to remember – when the Coliseum was the place to be. It was the Giants who were an afterthought. It was the Giants who were playing in a dump and waiting for high-profile opponents to come into town. It’s completely flipped.”
There are also the numerous things done over the years that have effectively reduced the team’s exposure over time.
- Closure of A’s Clubhouse stores (ca. 2000)
- Consistent difficulty in getting a decent radio deal in place (not really ownership’s fault)
- Elimination of Fanfest
- Tarping off the third deck
- No improvements to the Coliseum other than visual changes (vinyl signage)
Of course, there are cases like the Tampa Bay Rays, where $35 million of improvements were made that – even when combined with a winning ballclub – had very little effect on attendance. Sometimes a dump is a dump, and a competitive situation with the Giants only highlights the dumpiness. The A’s are really getting left behind due to their stadium malaise, and nothing’s gonna change as long as the Coliseum is home.
Brown also lists all of the promotions being offered just for the upcoming nine-game homestand.
- Tuesday vs. Florida: Free Parking Tuesday.
- Wednesday vs. Florida: $2 Wednesday.
- Thursday vs. Florida: Root Beer Float Day and Free Hot Dog Thursday.
- Friday vs. Arizona: Friday Family Pack.
- Saturday vs. Arizona: Fireworks Night (watch from field).
- Sunday vs. Arizona: None.
- July 4 vs. Seattle: Fourth of July Visor giveaway.
- July 5 vs. Seattle: Free Parking Tuesday.
- July 6 vs. Seattle: $2 Wednesday.
This actually leads me to wonder if there are too many different types of promotions and discounts. It sure doesn’t look like Free Parking Tuesdays has any great effect on attendance. The novelty for BART Dollar Wednesdays, which was strong a decade ago, has thoroughly worn off. The Yankees, Giants, and to a lesser extent, the Red Sox bring in other teams’ fans. Fireworks nights bring in casual fans and families. Giveaways are great to bump up paid attendance, but take a look at the steady stream of “fans” leaving the Coliseum on the BART ramp before the first pitch is thrown and tell me that it helps in terms of real fan support. Would the A’s be better served by across-the-board ticket price drops? Would it even matter?