Over at NBC Sports California, Ben Ross interviewed A’s COO Chris Giles about many of the changes planned for next season at the Coliseum. Like the 2017 re-opening of the upper deck and the unveiling of the Treehouse last year, the team is introducing new and improved seat offerings throughout the lower bowl. Let’s go over what’s new.
The biggest changes will be in the seating sections inside fair territory near the foul poles. Oak Landing will be a group standing area in left field, while the Hero Deck will adorn the opposite sections in right field.
The A’s will be able to pitch both areas as being in home run territory, which they used to do with the BBQ Terrace sections that are being replaced. The BBQ Terrace sections encompassed only four rows above the outfield fence. Above that is the familiar walkway and the soon-to-be-converted sections. This will be a welcome addition, as the old seats didn’t sell all that well except when heavily discounted or made available in trade-ins for season ticket holders. Considering the general availability of other locations in the now-47,000 capacity Coli, these aren’t the most fetching locations. But they could prove inviting to large groups or companies that want to bring a bunch of people to a game while on a budget.
For those whose budgets are higher, the A’s are converting other lower bowl sections to more luxurious seat opportunities, with greater amenities to boot. First up is the Coppola Theater Box, a field box or mini-suite with catering and translucent privacy panels.
Some number of rows will be removed to accommodate these boxes, and as you can see from the rendering above, they will be located next to the stairs leading to the Plaza Level.Some sections, such as 117 and 301 or 330, probably won’t undergo the conversion. It’s safe to believe that the conversion will occur through much of the field level. Here’s what a similar field box looks like at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ:
Behind the road dugout, the A’s are installing what they call Lounge Seats. Big and cushy and replete with refrigerators and televisions, this offering is meant to mimic the creature comforts of a fan’s living room while being at the ballpark. The A’s would be smart to offer blankets for those chilly April and May night games.
The Terrace has small group tables above the home dugout, also with in-game monitors.
Dugout Seats will also be offered. How can the A’s do this when the dugouts themselves aren’t large enough to hold the teams? The actual location of those seats will be the walkways between the dugouts and the Diamond Level seats, which until now were mostly an overflow area for players, coaches, and front office staff.
One big takeaway from these images is that the new seats and tables will take up a lot of space. From the looks of things each of the new premium rows will cover the equivalent of three rows in the regular sections nearby. Certainly there will be a price to pay for that kind of leg room. The exception to this is Oak Landing, whose standing rows will take up two regular seating rows.
The A’s are scattering these sections throughout the Coli, which promises to break up the monotonous ocean of empty seats often seen throughout the season. Still, there’s only so much the A’s can do to a place as large as the Coliseum. The upper deck closure failed, and the Treehouse converted part of the Plaza Outfield area, so that level isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s funny that a decade ago when we talked about new ballparks, it was generally agreed by many fans that the A’s should aim for 40,000 seats. Nowadays 40k is practically too big. The new premium and group offerings are yet another experiment in scarcity. We’ll see by the end of the season how successful that experiment is.