Oakland Athletics: 5 Things to Boost Attendance
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Though the above picture was taken during a rain delay, the crowd didn't get much bigger than this last Tuesday night.
It’s not surprising to see small crowds at A’s games, but the past week saw one of the worst crowds for an early season three-game series in the recent memory of many Major League Baseball fans.
The wet weather may have played its part in deterring people from coming to the ballpark for the Royals series, but after seeing photos of how many people actually attended the games, it's mind-shattering.
It’s time for the A’s to instill sweeping changes for series against teams who they historically draw weak crowds for. What can be done to increase attendance? Here’s five things that may have an immediate effect.
NOTE: These ideas may seem ludicrous, but what else can Oakland do to draw fans when they play "weaker" teams at this point?
No. 5: Let Fans Park for $5-$10
Fans walk toward Dodger Stadium before the team's home opener on Tuesday. The A's need to cut parking prices to help draw fans.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
What’s the point of charging $17 for parking when there are cheaper options around the coliseum? There’s no point in paying to park, tailgating for a few hours then watching a team like the Baltimore Orioles.
Fans are always encouraged to take BART or Amtrak to the game, but as a business, would you not want more vehicles in your parking lot to increase revenue than people commuting to it? A $5 parking spot sounds like a sweet deal.
No. 4: Have Giveaways at Each Game
A fan hoists two foam fingers above his head during the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Give away foam fingers, towels, SOMETHING that a fan can hold in their hand during the game. It can be used during a late-inning rally and be the one piece of memorabilia a fan going to a game will always have to cherish.
It’d be better than having someone remember their first MLB experience as being in a half-empty concrete shell.
No. 3: Let Fans on the Field After Every Game
A fan tries to scurry away from a police officer during a game between the New York Yankees vs. the Baltimore Orioles.
Rob Carr/Getty Images
Fields get run over with cleats for almost three hours, so allowing fans to walk the bases or the outfield (when the game is over, unlike the person in the photo) gives them the dream of being on the same field that their favorite players get to walk on for every game without really tearing it apart.
It might get old after a while, but it’s something that kids would love every time they do it.
No. 2: Lower Concessions Prices
Who wouldn't want to pay $3 for a hot dog like that instead of a stadium price of $8?
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Beer tastes great, but the flavor fades if you pay $8-plus for a single 16 oz. drink on top of buying a cheap hot dog or nachos for $6. That’s $14 for SNACK food.
Fans who have a brain will just until after the game or eat better food beforehand rather than purchase cheap, cheap finger food for super inflated prices. Lower the cost, and fans may wait until they get inside to purchase grub.
No. 1: Charge General Admission, Let Fans Sit Wherever
O.co Coliseum is filled to near capacity during one of the games of the 2010 Bay Bridge series.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Season tickets holders will laugh at this idea, but when $2 seats are the most populated section of seats on Wednesday, that’s a problem. Why not just make all tickets $2 on Wednesday or $5 for one game of each non-premium series?
When there’s 20,000 people sitting in $5 seats, it'll that’ll bring in more revenue than, say, what 10,000 seats at an average of $20 seat will garner after factoing concessions and parking sales.
These ideas may sound impossible, insane, impractical, but whatever Oakland's current business model is right now, it isn’t working. "San Jose-bound" in a few years shouldn't be the A's plan to make money NOW, but it sure seems that way, and it's losing them a lot of cash right NOW.