OAKLAND — Plenty of ink has been spilled over the possible location for the new Oakland A’s ballpark. But what do fans really care about?
An online survey released by the A’s Thursday asks the team’s devotees not only to rank the three sites under consideration, but help decide how it should “feel.” The choose-your-own adventure questionnaire hints that the team’s new home could have a children’s play area, an Oakland sports museum or ritzy club seating.
Maybe. That’s what A’s President Dave Kaval wants to hear from you.
“The community’s feedback is critical to our ballpark’s success,” Kaval said in a statement. “We need to understand what our fans, and this community, want from ballpark design, seating and pricing. Our new ballpark will be privately financed and we need to ensure that we create an environment that suits our fans and our community, while also allowing us to drive the franchise growth and bring more.”
The Bay Area News Group got an early look at the survey, which promises a park that “uniquely reflects Oakland’s character and richness,” among other bold statements. “A new ballpark will provide A’s fans with a game day experience unlike any other in Major League Baseball.”
The fan feedback comes as the A’s this year will announce whether the team stays at the Coliseum site or moves toward downtown, either at Howard Terminal or the Peralta Community College District headquarters near Laney College. Kaval has insisted all three options remain on the table, and nothing in the survey seems to indicate otherwise.
It does, however, ask fans to rank each site.
Next year, the A’s are celebrating their 50th year at the Coliseum, which is about the only thing left to celebrate about the aging facility. With sewage leaks and low attendance, the future of the team appears to be all about fan experience. Kaval has moved in that direction this year by taking the tarps off the third deck and opening Shibe Park Tavern.
So, the team wants to know how fans feel about in-seat concessions delivery service, a brewery inside the park, social gathering spaces and smart phone technology so patrons can look up statistics, watch replays and order food — all in real time.
“Why is AT&T Park so exciting? They have all that, stuff for the casual fan and stuff for the kids,” said lifelong A’s fan Chris Dobbins of Save Oakland Sports. But he wants, as the survey also suggests, a stadium reflective of the East Bay.
“Oakland is a city with a long history of labor unions and political movements and the Hells Angels and the Black Panthers, so a lot of us in Oakland would like to see an Oakland-specific deal,” Dobbins said.
The survey also sought preferences of fans who can pony up for luxury, a la suites designed similar to movie theater box seating that could run between $70,000 to $90,000 for a four-seat season ticket package.
The team is also toying with the idea of mimicking the rooftop seats located outside Wrigley Field in Chicago. Under this possible option, fans would pay a monthly membership fee for a seat to every home game. In the survey, the team is testing the prices at $30, $50 and $70. No details on whether the seat includes a “seat” or if fans bring their own lawn chair.
To sweeten season ticket packages, deals could include “front office happy hour,” invitations to watch batting practice and, when the team is on the road or off season, on-field movie nights and wine tastings.
“Think of a season ticket purchase not just as a means to attend games, but as membership within the A’s family,” the survey says. “We want to provide you an exceptional experience beyond the playing field as well.”
To participate in the survey, visit www.Oaklandballpark.com. It will take 10 to 15 minutes to complete, the team said.
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