Oakland Fan Pledge seeks to garner interest in an Oakland ballpark

A pair of Oakland A’s fans and longtime readers of this site have started a site called Oakland Fan Pledge. The purpose is to gauge interest in tickets and different seating options at a hypothetical Oakland ballpark, either at the Coliseum complex or Howard Terminal. Results of this survey may be shared with MLB, public officials, and the A’s if the team ever decides to stay in Oakland.

This new effort follows similar campaigns in Sacramento and Seattle to build interest in a new arenas in those cities. Sacramento’s Here We Buy has received more than 11,000 season ticket pledges so far. A similar drive in Seattle claimed more than 44,000 season ticket pledges and 268 suites. Obviously a pledge is not the same as a binding contract to purchase tickets, but as long as people are being honest about their levels of commitment, the information gathered from these kinds of campaigns can be useful. Interestingly, because Seattle and Sacramento were so public about their efforts, it’s likely that Oakland Fan Pledge may be compared to the cities fighting over the Kings/Sonics, however unfair that may seem. Here’s the press release from the group.

April 22, 2013
John Hansen
John Jackson

Oakland Baseball Fans Launch Campaign for New Stadium
April 22, 2013

Oakland, CA – Baseball fans who want the A’s to stay in the East Bay have a new way to show their support: pledging to buy ticket plans at a potential new baseball-only stadium in Oakland. Oakland Fan Pledge (www.OaklandFanPledge.com) is a new independent website created by A’s fans to show Major League Baseball, A’s ownership, and Oakland city officials that local fans will support a new ballpark in Oakland by pledging their dollars to buy tickets.

On the website fans can choose from various ticket plans and pricing levels at a hypothetical ballpark. While no monetary transaction takes place, those who pledge are asked to be realistic about what they could afford if a new stadium were to be built. Ticket prices are based on averages of other recently-opened stadiums throughout Major League Baseball (MLB). Premium seats include a separate fee for ‘seat rights,’ similar to what was done for the Giants’ opening of Pacific Bell Park in 2000, a standard for a privately-financed stadium. The full list of tickets and money pledged will be continuously updated on the site and shared with MLB, city officials in Oakland, and the A’s. If the time comes that the current, or future, A’s owners commit to a stadium in Oakland, the site’s owners plan to share their list of pledges.

Oakland city officials have identified two possible sites for a new baseball stadium within city limits: one at the existing Coliseum complex and another on port-owned land near Jack London Square in downtown Oakland. Oakland Fan Pledge provides a clear way for A’s supporters in the region to weigh in. By committing to buy ticket plans at a new Oakland baseball stadium, fans can rally around keeping their team in town by sending a clear message. “The A’s owners have told the team’s fans for years that the A’s are as good as gone from Oakland, and it’s frustrating,” says John Jackson, a lifelong fan who is helping to organize Oakland Fan Pledge. “There are tens of thousands of fans that would open their wallets and buy ticket plans if a long term commitment to Oakland was made and a new stadium was built.”

Oakland Fan Pledge began as a grassroots response to frustration around the team’s uncertain future in Oakland and lack of progress in building a new stadium for the team. Major League Baseball has spent over four years reviewing potential Bay Area stadium sites without making a decision. Meanwhile, the A’s ownership has alienated much of the team’s local fan base by repeatedly expressing their desire to abandon the East Bay for Santa Clara County, which is currently under the control of the San Francisco Giants through MLB territorial rights.

“Oakland Fan Pledge is more than a way for A’s fans to show a financial commitment to their team and to Oakland,” says John Hansen, another organizer of the site. “It gives fans a way to move beyond being told their team is done in Oakland, and visualize a new hometown stadium the team’s current owners have tried to convince them isn’t possible. We believe not only is a new stadium in Oakland possible, but that local fans are ready by the thousands to fill it up. Through Oakland Fan Pledge, we look forward to sending this message loud and clear to Major League Baseball and the team’s owners, and dispelling the myth that Oakland is anything but an extremely viable home for the A’s for decades to come.”

I’ll be sure to fill out my survey ASAP.

40 thoughts on “Oakland Fan Pledge seeks to garner interest in an Oakland ballpark

  1. The link above to the Oakland Fan Pledge page is saying it isn’t found. Can you refresh the link?

  2. Hooray for these guys (one if whom I assume is JH510?).
    This will be fantastic data to have.
    My only worry is that it appears to be the third different “grassroots” push for the A’s fans to support. The other two are LGO and SOS.
    It’d be ideal that all three of these groups worked together to put forth a coherent plan.

  3. Link to Fan Pledge not working.

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to actually buy PRESENT season tickets at the Coliseum now to sort of you know… buck the old Oakland attendance trend and show that it is really sustainable otherwise we get another 40K FB trolls. Just like 2007, this year’s attendance is pretty abysmal for a playoff contending team off to one of its best starts in recent history.

  4. Like the effort, like that they aren’t shitting on ownership like so many Oakland-Only groups. Kind of disappointed that one of the ‘further actions’ isn’t buying season tickets _now_. It’s all dandy to pledge, but wouldn’t filling up the existing stadium be more of a sign that Oakland can sustain an MLB team?

  5. I like the premise, but putting up fake money doesn’t mean anything. If I don’t actually have to pay my credit card bill after my deposit has been taken for my seat, then Iam going to be answering the survey untruthful.

  6. Nice! I would certainly attend games at a new park in Oakland (I already do). I just hope it would be in a better location than the current one (ie: more integrated with the surrounding neighborhood). Good luck, John and John.

  7. Another question that should of been asked in the survey: Would you endorse a public subsidy for the A’s to stay?

    Also about shitting on ownership and ignoring historical facts:

    “A’s fans are also angry that current owners tell local fans the team has no future in the East Bay, while at the same time relying on low attendance as an argument for why the team should move away.”

    “The A’s are currently playing in Oakland and season tickets are readily available; why would fans commit to a future purchase when they can buy tickets to see the A’s now? Many long-time A’s fans are already season ticket holders at the A’s current home, the O.Co Coliseum, and we hope all of them will pledge to buy tickets at a new home for the A’s through this site. However, we feel that a number of factors are suppressing the full potential of those who would buy tickets to see the A’s play at a new baseball-only facility in Oakland.

    All A’s fans support the team on the field, but unfortunately the game day experience is not up to the standards of other teams in Major League Baseball. The central cause is the simple fact that the Coliseum is nearly 50 years old, and second to only Fenway Park in Boston (built in 1912) in age of unrenovated stadiums in the American League. While we love the history of the Coliseum, we know its time for a new home.

    Further discouraging fans from supporting the team at its current home is the uncertainty about the future of the franchise in Oakland. Current owners have publicly stated for over the last four years they have no interest in building a stadium for the A’s in Oakland. The lack of progress towards a new stadium has also limited the A’s ability to sign many players to long-term contracts, resulting in continuous turnover of the A’s roster and further deterring fans from making the significant investment of season tickets.”

    When the team wasn’t winning, it was easy to blame management for the poor attendance. Then 2006 happened, and we didn’t resign long term outrageously contracts that would handicap us for years (hi Frank) and management was still to blame. Now that we’ve reloaded, built a young nucleus with 4 year outlook well locked in, management still gets blamed for the poor attendance?! /facepalm

  8. One of these John’s lives in Pasadena, so it shouldn’t really matter to him if the A’s play in Oakland or San Jose. However, I appreciate their effort because I like seeing fans who participate and revel in their love of team. It’s important to understand that gestures like this seek to promote discussion, not answer questions. MLB is a multibillion business who has more reliable customer data than Oakland Fan Pledge can ever hope to provide, but this is about engaging a lethargic fan base– at least that’s how I see it.

  9. nice work. I will definitely buy season tickets at a new (Oakland) venue.

    @ML – there’s lots of circular, off topic, comments already on this thread.

    Let’s Go Oakland!!

  10. Uhh, David..you’re the master of going off topic/changing subjects on threads. Respectfully, you shouldn’t be talking. BTW, which post above completely veered off topic? I’m not seeing it. Go A’s and Go SJ!

  11. BTW,
    Agree with Briggs. While I don’t agree with their viewpoints, hats off to the Johns for at least trying. No one can doubt their love for our team. I’ll leave it at that.

  12. This gesture is something that should ahve been included in Let’s Go Oakland or Save Oakland Sports approach. These guys are directly, and publicly, addressing the issue that is the elephant in the room. When everyone harps on attendance (and I’ll admit, a lot of this has been my fault in the past), they ignore that it is only as important as it relates to creating a down payment and generating annual revenues to pay for a mortgage on a new yard. That’s it. J and J obviously get this as they have researched how Stadium Builder Licenses are sued (in the expensive seats, with a minimum of a full season ticket plan required as part of the SBL purchase).
    I pledged to buy 4 infield 20 Game packages for the theoretical stadium. I’d do the same in San Jose (and actually, it’d probably end up being 4 full game packages and SBL’s when I bundled my buying power with my brother and sister).
    Keeping the A’s in the Bay Area is the same to me whether it’s in Oakland or San Jose. I’d take this pledge for any stadium plan.

  13. That domain is owned by part of the Tides non-profit group. Not sure if one of those guys is employed by them or what but kinda weird, IMO.

  14. @Jeffrey – although they have different websites; i know a lot of those folks personally, and LGO and SOS do work/coordinate their efforts.

  15. There’s also one glaring ommission from the ticket prices: PSLs. Buying STH’s is one thing, but you have to factor in PSLs nowadays in any new sports venue (see Phone Booth Park, 49ers Stadium, Raiders – and we see how that guaranteed PSL worked). Now that we know the bias of JH510, let’s see if they’ll be forthright in costs and associated liability of such proposal/pledge.

  16. WOW RM! I guess my first post was the sacrificial lamb in the name of fair and balanced; even if there was nothing off topic/trollish about it. But its cool, no love lost. Fair and balanced…even if the reality of this situation isn’t.

  17. Hi all, Oakland Fan Pledge owners here. A quick follow up to the point made about the Tides Center above:

    @Alan: there is no link between Oakland Fan Pledge and the Tides Center in San Francisco. One of our site owners was formerly employed by the Tides Center and purchased a web domain for a separate non-related non-profit project in 2009. The same personal account was used to purchase the domain for OaklandFanPledge.com. But there is no connection between the Tides Center and OaklandFanPledge.com.

  18. @Alan/all – I’ve been assured that Oakland Fan Pledge is not endorsed by or linked to Tides.

  19. I suggested on this blog a few years ago that posters on this site pledge to purchase season tickets. With the number of folks who read and post here, if everyone was a card carrying season ticket holder, we could fill up the park and the quetion of support in Oakland wouldn’t be an issue. I personally own 4 seats…what say you?

  20. I agree with a Bill- a true measure of fan support in Oakland is now- not based upon some future ballpark- we have a good, fun, exciting young team to watch- if we can’t get butts in the seats right now ain’t nothing gonna change when the shine wears off of a new ballpark- btw- have season tix here also- and I prefer to see a new ballpark in SJ where I believe the economics are better to support a competitive team year over year-

  21. Plz everybody pledge to keep the A’s in Oakland join the cause snd visit the website. Lgi and SOS are working together to get a new stadiums

  22. Although I applaud them for putting in the initiative, I personally think that the website is a waste of time and effort. Like many have said already, if you want to convince anybody of anything, you have to put your money where your mouth is now.
    If there are people pledging to to go to and new Oakland ballpark that aren’t already going now, why aren’t they going now?
    – Because our Coli is outdated and doesn’t meet the standards of baseball? If they aren’t going to an A’s game because they don’t have the hi-tech or luxury facilities that other parks have then they aren’t baseball fans and when the new ballpark starts to get outdated again, they’ll stop showing up. Then Oakland will be in the same spot it’s in now.
    – Because the owners “hate us and want to move away”? The owners want to keep the team in the bay area, not move to another state. Owners come and go. The team is why you show up to games. Good or bad, fan support their team. Sure, less people show up when you aren’t winning. But the A’s have shown a history of winning and are an exciting team and are winning now and still people weren’t/aren’t showing up in droves.
    If Oakland only supporters want to make some real noise to prove that they deserve a team in their city then they need to step up now. Spend your hard earned money on what you want before it’s gone. Rock some A’s gear!!!
    Basic economy says that there is no supply where there is no demand. (I probably said that wrong, but you get the point). I love the A’s and will be a life long fan where ever they play. And yes, I am a season ticket holder.

  23. You guys kill me saying it dont matter where they play as long as its the Bay Area. You guys realize the so called South Bay, East Bay and Peninsula are nothing alike. Not even similar at all! The identity of the team changes with a move to so called South Bay. They will not be called the Oakland A’s…but will be called the San Jose A’s. The crowds will be different and lack personality. You SJ people will claim their is no difference but you are a damn lie!

  24. @510 Savage: The identity of the team will change even if they move elsewhere in Oakland.

  25. Briggs….no…see the people in the stands? That is gonna change in they go to SJ. That spirit will not be shown in SJ….dont care about attendance numbers you dont have the same people in East Bay as you do in the 408. If you say its the same then you are lying

  26. Briggs: Correct. A new ballpark in Oakland is going to see the same dramatic ticket price increases as one in San Jose. Bye bye $2 tickets, free hot dog days, free parking Tuesdays. It’ll be more like what I saw a block away from ATT Park yesterday – $30 parking.

  27. tre: hat spirit will not be shown in SJ….dont care about attendance numbers

    …MLB and whoever owns the A’s DO care about attendance numbers. The team is supposed to be a self-sustaining, profitable business, not the league welfare recipient that it is now.

  28. 510, so what if the identity changes? Identities always change. We’re not the same team or the same environment we were in in the early 2000s, which were different from the early 90s, which were different from the 70s. Life is about change. And you’re wrong that a new stadium in Oakland won’t change things. Most, but not all the same people, but in a different environment with new people interacting with them changing the experience. If you can’t handle change, then you’re going to have a lot of problems in life. Will there be more change if they go to SJ instead of Oakland? Absolutely. But they’ll still be the A’s. And to most fans, that’s good enough.

  29. Howard Terminal is a non starter for the A’s ballpark. It has been studied at least two time previously with the same result it is not feasible. First, the site is in active use as a marine terminal, generating revenue and jobs. It would be hard to believe the the State Lands Commission would allow the transfer of the land to a ballpark. Second, the site is separated from access by a “live railroad” necessitating a bridge for both pedestrians and cars. If someone had a heart attack in the ballpark, you couldn’t wait until a 100 car unit train passed (about 20 minutes) until an ambulance could take them to the hospital. The cost of the bridge would be $30-50M without land costs plus it would be horribly disruptive to local businesses. Third, vehicular access is limited to the Jack London Square Area impacting residents and businesses not dependent on the ballpark. Forth, the site his horribly toxic requiring costly remediation. Fifth, the soils are poor requiring expensive foundation systems. Sixth, access to BART is poor as stations are very remote.

    As I have said in the past the only viable site is 980 Park, over the freeway between 14th, 18th, Brush, and Castro. Brush would have to relocated slightly westerly to allow adequate width for the ballpark and to create a beautiful parkway approach. We should all get behind this site and force the city to conduct a feasibility study. Since the City owns most of the land, the only cost to the city would be the relocation of two ramps which will result in a betterment of access to Downtown and relocation of a dozen mostly dilapidated structures (none historic) in West Oakland.

  30. I would wxpect The atmosphere at a SJ A’s game to be no different than what the Sharks experience at The Tank – ranked as one of the toughest houses to play in by NHL players because of incredible fan support-

  31. Honestly, I’d prefer not buying season tickets. I like buying tickets in different sections each game to keep things fresh. Depending on my mood, I’ll slash out for some Field Box seats or buy Value Deck seats and just roaming about. I’d only buy season tickets if the supply/demand forced me to, and I’d buy the cheapest ones I could get because I’d want to spend more of the games exploring the new yard.

  32. Wow 510 savage, way to stereotype, got any other bigotries against groups of people you’d like to share? MLB doesn’t care about the supposed character of the fans in one community or another, they care about how much money they’re willing to spend to watch their product. Don’t delude yourself into thinking anything else. And are you saying you go to games now but will refuse to go support your team if they’re 30 miles south? That may be your position but I know more than a few A’s fans who just want this dealt with one way or another and will happily go see them play at a new park, be it in Oakland or San Jose.

  33. re: As I have said in the past the only viable site is 980 Park,

    …if the only “viable” site in Oakland is above a highway not far from where an earthquake already knocked down a highway, then there truly is no viable site in Oakland. I like your analysis of Howard Terminal, though.

  34. No matter all the long winded sites by thoes in the joke that is Oakland, Wolff & co. want SJ and don’t have
    any interest in anything new there.

  35. Just pledged! I don’t see SJ citizens doing this. If SJ had it’s citizens pledge for season tickets MLB would have a better idea of what ticket sales would be like there. But they aren’t. Therefore, Oakland’s people care more. Oakland>San Jose for A’s ballpark. And I’m not a SJ hater. I have no issue with cisco field and would buy season tickets there too. But this website is just another indicator that Oaklanders want to keep the A’s more than San Joseans want the A’s.

  36. I doubt MLB or the A’s care about a pledge, they care about people actually paying money. No disrespect to anyone who pledged, I’m sure you all mean it and will follow through on it if you get the chance, 100% of you. But I’ll bet they’d be more excited if people bought tickets for the A’s now as opposed to claiming you’ll do it in the future, if they build the stadium. The A’s have been putting a decent to great product on the field for the better part of the last 15 years and they’ve generally had poor attendance throughout that time period, no wonder they want to move. It’s going to take more than a pledge to change minds or impress anyone, it’s going to take real money on the table.

  37. Less than 12k in attendance against a division rival- that’s what MLB and LW are looking at-

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