Oakland Athletics president Dave Kaval has expressed his belief that a move to a new ballpark can boost the Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise’s flagging attendances.
The A’s have been enjoying a strong season and yesterday (Monday) clinched their first playoff appearance since 2014. However, attendances at Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum rank among the lowest in the league.
The A’s last month hired Danish architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) to lead the design process for a new ballpark and surrounding development. BIG will lead planning for two possible ballpark sites – the existing Coliseum (pictured) and a mooted location at the waterfront Howard Terminal.
The A’s are said to be firmly in favour of the Howard Terminal option, but would still like to secure development rights for the Coliseum as a potential means to help finance a waterfront ballpark.
Kaval told the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper that the team is certain to get a major boost from a new ballpark as it would not only excite the existing fan base, “but it’s important, too, for new people to engage our product as well.”
Kaval said ticketing promotions the team has run this season have served to build overall support for the A’s, but stressed this isn’t enough to keep the franchise at the Coliseum. The A’s also have one of the lowest payrolls in MLB and need further revenue in order to retain star players.
“That’s why I think it’s so important to build a new stadium,” Kaval said. “It will unlock a lot of revenue stream that we can pour back into the team budget.”
The Coliseum has been home to the A’s and Oakland Raiders since 1968, but the NFL American football team is poised to move to a new 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas in time for the 2020 season.