There was an article in the Chronicle this week about the A's attendance woes. Here's a Field of Schemes post that relates to the same issue. I've posted a couple of responses in the FoS blog.
Anyway, there's a couple of reasons the A's don't draw.
1) The owners want to move to San Jose. Its hard for casual fans to want to go to the ballgame when the owner, Lew Wolff, is telling his fan base that he wants to leave them.
2) Oakland is a front runners town. When the A's were winning championships, they drew well. Now, they didn't draw well during the 70's, but baseball was in a downturn at that time and nobody really drew fans. You can look at the Raiders to bolster my point. When the Raiders were a winning team, before the move to LA, they sold out season after season. Now that they're shitty, they draw like shit. And its the same with the A's.
3) The ballpark is perceived to be old. Granted, it was opened in the mid 60's. It has a lot of foul ground, so not many of the seats are as close to the field as in some of the newer parks. And with the building of Mt Davis, the entire bleacher section had now become seats with an obstructed view. But none of that mattered when the Haas' owned the team and they won on the field. When you're the face of the team and you call your home park "despicable", well, you're not selling your product very well.
4) Cutting Fan Fest. According to the Chronicle piece, the A's would sell 100,000 single game tickets at Fan Fest. Fan Fest was a sign that Spring Training and the regular season was close at hand. And it was a way to reach out to the fans. Now, they have a weak ass BBQ the weekend before the season starts. It gives the fans the idea that the team doesn't give a shit. And that means they don't go to the ballgames.
5) It cost $17 to park. Gouging your fans before they even get in the gate is no way to keep people coming back. I'll never drive to the game again.
6) You treat your fans like criminals. This is my biggest pet peeve and the main reason I don't go anymore. First off, you funnel everyone into one entry point. That means you have to wait in line just to get in for no real reason. And, you have to walk half way around the Coliseum to get in, then backtrack half way around again to the outfield seats.
I bring my scorebook and stuff in a cloth bag, about the size of a reusuable grocery bag. The last 4 times I've gone to the A's game, I've been hassled at the gate because my bag is too big. They search the goddamn bag for contraband, find nothing, and still bust my balls about it. Its sad, they seem to have no problem with my bag in Sacramento or Stockton, two teams that get my baseball dollars. In fact, on the big trip last year, not one team has a hiss about the bag. They looked in it and thanked me for coming to their ballpark. The A's treat you like they really don't give a shit if you go to the game or not.
I'm sure I can think of a few more reasons, but that's enough to make my point. I'm still an A's fan. I listen to them on the radio and read about them in the newspaper. We've had a $50 giftcard that we got as a Christmas gift over three and a half years ago. We haven't used it and really don't have any plan to do so. That's how disgusted we are with the A's ownership.
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