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.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2013
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.