The incredible expanding Coliseum

Division Series tickets went on sale today at 10 AM. As the first two games started to sell out, I noticed something unusual about the seating map.

The Coliseum, now free of section numbers!

The Coliseum, now with no section numbers!

Unlike last year, the entire third deck appears to be available. Even Mt. Davis, which is usually grayed out, is colored brown as if it was for sale. Had the A’s finally changed their tune and opened the nosebleed seats to fans?

Well, yes and no. The original upper deck has been opened up, though the prices went from $15/$22 for the normal Value Deck (316/318, 317 is for media overflow) to $35 for the “new” sections. Standing room tickets are also available for $18. However, Mt. Davis will not be open, leaving the ALDS capacity at 48,146. That would place the Coliseum at the third highest capacity among postseason parks, short of Dodger Stadium (56,000) and Turner Field (49,586).

The A’s also announced that the first two decks are sold out for the series, implying that the only tickets remaining are the remaining original upper deck (300-315, 319-334). As of the time of this post, the oh-so-exclusive Loge Boxes are also for sale ($45), at least for games 1 and 2.

As for Mt. Davis, who knows? Maybe if the upper deck sells out in the next few days the dreaded upper upper deck will also open up.

I’m going to use the opening of the third deck to test a theory I have about crowd noise. Personally, I think the crowds for the 2012 ALDS and Games 160-162 were extremely loud because of a number of factors, including the smaller footprint of the crowd. We were packed into a much smaller space than for most previous postseason games, so the crowd noise had a concentrated effect – or so I thought. The same phenomenon happens in smaller arenas, including Oracle Arena, where the seating capacity is large but the building itself isn’t so voluminous.

To test my theory, I’m going to measure crowd noise on Thursday night. The crowd size will probably be similar to the sparse crowds seen for the Astros and Angels series, so it can serve as a baseline. During my conversation with A’s stadium operations veep David Rinetti, I asked him if I could roam around the Coli to get further readings. He told me to page him once I got in and that he’d help me out. I plan to take readings on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. Either of the weekend games could be a division clincher, so there’s potential for big crowd noise, plus Sunday is the final home game of the season. I also plan to do measurements during the Division Series (no, they haven’t clinched yet – knock on wood), though getting roaming access may prove more difficult than for this last homestand.

I look forward to seeing the big crowds and measuring the results. If you would like to chip in with your own measurements, you can download one of the many sound meter applications for your smartphone or bring your own sound meter if you have one. Some app examples:

  • SPL Graph (iOS, $9.99) – This one’s expensive but it provides excellent graphs and lots of controls, including recording capability. Worth it if you do this work a lot IMO.
  • Noise Meter (Android, free) – Easily toggles between graph and dB display mode. Incredibly easy to use.
  • Decibel 10th (iOS, free) – Also easy to use, not very granular or customizable.

We can go over methodology if anyone’s interested. I’ll do a writeup over the weekend explaining how I gather the data. Hooray for big crowds, huzzah for no tarps!

39 thoughts on “The incredible expanding Coliseum

  1. Nice move by the A’s opening the old 3rd deck. Also if they don’t open Mount Davis it’s no real loss. I’d rather see our retired numbers up there than fans who were duped into buying seats up there anyway.

  2. I’d definitely like to contribute. I’ll probably be at the game Friday, and ALDS (knock on wood) games 1and 3.


  3. I’ll be there for all ALDS games in Section 216. Gadgets and Post Season at the Coliseum. Heaven.

  4. I’d argue that at least part of the noise is a result of not having (as many) opposing fans in the park. During a regular game and perhaps to a lesser extent the older version of playoff format you could predict who you’d be playing. Last year, there really was no way for a Tigers fan to predict the A’s would be hosting them so there was less of an incentive to buy tickets until the last minute. Add to that the surprise/excitement from the team’s success and there’s your noise.

  5. just got section 230 on stubhub for 100 bucks (WOW) for game 1!

  6. ML, will you have your methodology in place before Sunday? I’ll be at Sunday’s game – Sec. 116.

  7. Wow, ML, that’s why no one does it better than you!

  8. Perhaps they opened the 3rd deck due to ongoing sewage issues?

  9. Tonight was the last great game of our 4-seat 20-game season ticket package. I split it with 5 other guys. First-time season ticket holders, all of us, for any sport.

    Third deck is love-it or leave-it. We’re baseball nuts, we love it. Some of the best fans in the ballpark. We have years of memorable moments. We convert new fans and stuff. That was the main reason we got season tickets, to get back up behind home plate. Got the idea in the ALDS last year for $15 a ticket.

    My buddies now sing the praises of the season ticket holder thing, we’ll be back, I did them good. But….

    After every other success, we were met with a slap in the face. Our customer experience has kinda sucked. I’ll give you all the examples you want. Including the pathetic post-season seats they assigned us, in foul territory, forget that.

    We ride the elevator down to the office. “Can we fix that?” we ask. They walk into the backroom, come out and say “No.” “Can we buy that?” Walk. “No.” Consistently. They have a “No” button back there or maybe a pack of smokes, it’s become part of the joke.

    Here’s what happened with the third deck this morning: 316 & 318 sold out in minutes. $22. In the post-season 317 is tarped with press. We had 3 guys on phones and computers and bought a bunch of tickets. Playoffs!

    And there are some of us who merely scalp. Minutes later, 316 & 318 appeared on StubHub for $100. These sections were not available in advance.

    A half hour after that, the tarps started coming down. Face value was bumped to $35. Tarps dropped and dropped as the day went on. Thus destroying their secondary market (and exposing a StubHub glitch.)

    Many of these untarped seats are better than the ones we bought. As I learned tonight, some of our seats should be clearly stamped RESTRICTED VIEW. Damaged product. Better product would soon be available, but they did not let us know that. As season ticket holders, we even asked in advance. “No.”

    We’re heading back to the ticket office tomorrow to give them an earful and catch the game while we are at it. We’ll grab cheap seats off Stubhub & while we are at it, maybe scalp our shitty seats.

    Go A’s, home field advantage!

  10. Crap, I kinda fucked the penultimate line up, no edit button, but you get the idea, I hope. Customer experience is important. Don’t underestimate your customers, while we are at it.

  11. Mt. Davis, the number “50” in white between 2B and the mound, the yard lines on the greensward, the tale of the tarps, and, now, sewer-gate again. By the end of Oct. everyone in the country is going to know how badly the A’s need to get out of the E. Coli. With luck, the A’s will win the ALDS and the NYT, et al, will run long articles on the old ballpark / new ballpark drama. About the same time Judge Whyte will issue his initial ruling in the A/T case.

    So wear your best gear, A’s fans. You’re going to be on tv, and you’re going to be Bud Selig’s worst nightmare.

    (News about ARod’s arbitration, scheduled to start Sept. 30, will only make things more ugly for mlb, and draw more national attention to the PS.)

  12. Wait… Sewergate again? Did we have another backup after the big one that made national news?

  13. @xoot–big question will bud attend WS games in Oakland–can’t wait for this dilemma–

  14. Could opening the tarps back fire? If there are 44k for Game 1, then only 37k for Game 2, would that reflect poorly on A’s fans?

    It looks like 323-311 are open now. I’m just estimating based on ~400 seat per section that Game 1 has 40k seats sold, not counting standing room. Since they’re opening up sections as needed, it’ll be tricky for anyone hoping to get walk-up tickets.

  15. @GoA’s: And you just know Selig will be hit with questions about this mess. I expect him to have several variation of “no comment,” and something along the lines of the occasion being about World Series and not matters outside the foul lines.

  16. @Dan,
    Yes. This time in the dugout..

  17. Assuming that the first two decks are sold out, I fail to see how a Coliseum with a tarped third deck could be louder than a Coliseum with a half-full third deck. It’s not like he venue is any smaller or the fans any closer because of the tarps. The only difference would be if there were sections in the 200’s that would be full but are not because fans elected for cheaper seats in the third deck. But that is not the case this year, and even in 2002 with the crowds around 35,000, the only open second deck seats were 200-202 and 232-234.

  18. Guess it wasn’t just a one time blockage then… Not that any of us thought so after they also had backups into the kitchens a few days before the big sewergate.

  19. what if they can’t play WS games there ? move to the Phone park ?

  20. It is a real possibility. The Coliseum has been having problems even with its currently limited crowds. It seems very possible that a full house could literally create a shitstorm forcing an emergency move.

  21. Guys, a player likely over stuffed the dugout toilet. I seriously doubt this a bigger issue than that.

  22. @ML & all:
    I’m interested in assisting with the sound level data collection. As the ALDS dates get closer, feel free to give me a handful of Coliseum location you’d like data from. I’ll be on the Plaza Level, so I can skip up to the View Level for readings there. It’ll be tough to anticipate when the crowd is going to pop (go nuts), but I’ll follow whatever methodology is established.

  23. More fans means more than one person will try and stuff something other than whats supposed to go into a toilet just to see if it will make the news during the playoffs. Seems like someone put a blue rag in a toilet this time.

  24. Funny: because Wolff mentioned in todays pre-game interview “a ballpark in downtown Oakland or San Jose,” some commenter’s at other sites are describing it as “the winds of change” in Oaklands favor. WOW! Just wow!

  25. Maybe MLB is prepared to write him a big fat check to pay for an Oakland ballpark? Not seeing how it happens any other way.

  26. @Tony D.pjk Yeah Tony I here you. People are grasping at whateve, I dont read anything into what Wolff said today. If what he said holds out any hope for Oakland, Its that MLB may try to make it worth it (whatever that means), but I just dont think MLB is willing to do what it would take for Wolff to be happy with an Oakland deal, and as you both know, I say this as a pro-Oakland person. The only good news I pull from what Wolff said, is he said San Jose, and or Oakland, and did not say Portland.

  27. At noon today, I went down the stairs (from my office), got into a car and drove to the park. 10 minutes later rolled up to a company tailgate. Was handed a burger & beer and a free ticket. Hung out in the right field bleachers, they are a good mob. Nice day, shame about the result.

    Came home to read this: “I doubt very much that a lawyer in downtown Oakland is going to go down the elevator (from his office), get his car and drive to the park.” – Lew Wolfe

    I’m not a lawyer, I’m in the media buisness. This is dreadful PR. What’s the motive?

    The primary purpose of our visit was to address our obstructed view seats. Had not one, but two completely unsatisfactory experiences with customer service. We told the guy, yeah we know what you are gonna do, you’re gonna walk into the backroom, come out and say “no.” And then he did just that! Hilarious.

    Heard two conflicting and farfetched stories regarding the third-deck playoff tickets and the falling of the tarps. Not even fit for print. Not sure if they were saying what they were told to say or they were just making it up.

    You can rag on Ratto but this is 100% correct:

    I’ve been saying that for years, glad someone is catching up.

  28. @freddy-before LW who did you blame for shitty attendance trends? and that was when the Coli was still a decent place for baseball–my problem with the Oakland only crowd is they continue to try and play the blame game but the reality is–22k avg attendance for a first place team–especially one as entertaining and exciting as these A’s really sucks—show me 20k people that choose not to show up nightly because LW is a mean owner. They don’t exist today and they didn’t exist before LW bought the team–many of us A’s fans are appreciative of what he and BB are able to do in horrible conditions–and most of all–appreciate the fact that he is willing to spend his own money to keep the A’s in the bay area—

  29. @freddy,
    Wolff was referring to the convenience of a downtown ballpark with the lawyer/elevator comment; nothing more, nothing less.
    As for fat A$$, I cant believe he finds nothing wrong with playing in a 45 year old hybrid football stadium that seeps sewage. But of course it’s all Wolffs fault that the fans aren’t coming out. Like the Coliseum, Ratto is full of shit (and apparently tons of it!).

  30. @GoA’sfreddy I may not always agree with freddy, but Lew has not helped himself by saying these things (even if there is some truth to them), and its not the first time he has done this. I am not one of these Oakland-only people, that loves to blame everything on Lew, but I dont care if you would like to see the A’s in Oakland, San Jose, or Mars Lew is not conning off good here. Come on Lew (a business man), your smarter then this.

  31. @LSN–any comment–taken out of context, as freddy did- can paint any picture of an individual you want. I could take a statement from your comment above and provide a snippit that would lead someone to a completely different conclusion of your message if they did not read your entire blog–as Tony D was saying- LW was talking about the convenience of a downtown ballpark v. getting in your car and driving out to the Coli. People like freddy and rr play the victim card every chance they get and for me–its old–really old–because the Coli sucks, and attendance sucks–not LW–and btw–kudo’s for JR calling an ace an ace–and now you have some of the Oakland only crowd screaming to have him traded–did they not see the catch he made last night-yeah–lets trade a gold glover because he speaks the truth–riddle me that–

  32. @GoA’s your correct, this situation has been around long befor Lew, became part of the A’s and its much deeper then his short time with the team. I agree (with many of you), Lew really cant win no matter what he does, for some people. I just wish he did not make it so easy (just my filling), at times.

  33. @LSN–point well taken but I would love for the bay area media to answer why the W’s owners are getting hands off treatment when they bought a team that sells out every game has a good arena and yet they want out of Oakland asap–have you heard a peep out of the bay area media about how horrible they are or anything from fans about boycotting games–nope–how about Mark Davis–calls the Coli a travesty–thats after it was ruined for baseball to bring the Raiders back–says he needs to move if they wont build him a new stadium NOW–and all he has to contribute is $300M (which he will expect to be paid back with PSL’s naming rights etc)–in other words all the revenue streams necessary for the city/JPA to recoup their investment–but any media trashing him–no–only reason LW is being trashed is because he/A’s are prisoners in a shitty old dump and its because bs didnt do his job–LW would have hero status in the Bay Area if the A’s new ballpark was nearing completion in SJ as was originally proposed-according to the Oakland only crowd LW is hated in Oakland–but its competely understandable why Davis and Lacob want out even though $20M a year remains on their mortgage payments–

  34. @GoA’s you are also corret about the victim role, its tired. Even if you are one, life is about how you respond to it. Most people that play that role are simply victims in their own mind. I grew up in Oakland, and it does not make me proud, when I see so much of that, from my home town.

  35. @GoA’s I agee with you. I guess they think the Warriors came from SF in the first place, so the mood is not the same? I mean they do well in Oakland, but they wont even take their host citys name? Ed Lee gave Curry a key to the city (SF), after the Warrios play off run, no prob? I really dont get it. there going to re-name the eastern (OaklandEastBay) part of the Bay Bridge after a mayor of SF, no prob? San Frsnciso can sh*t all over Oakland, as long as the A’s dont move to SJ. Hell the Raiders have already left once(LA is out of the Bay, SJ is not), but Oakland will be happy to build somthing for them, even if they know it would cost them any hope of keeping the one team (A’s), that has never left, and has OAKLAND on there chest, as long as the A’s dont move 35 mins. away to SJ I guss its ok?

  36. @GoA’s sorry ment to say at the end” its ok as long as the A’s dont move to SJ?” I just dont get it, and like I always say I am the most pro-Oakland person you will run into.

  37. Olbermann’s vid is hilarious–until you realize its true–wonder if JQ could stay awake while watching it—this whole mess that bs created is embarassing as hell–

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