A’s begin trying to revive unhappy fan-base with Fan Fest changes

jenrainwater
Jun 1, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics fans in the bleachers during the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 1, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics fans in the bleachers during the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /
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It’s no secret that the Oakland A’s don’t draw a lot of fans to games these days and they are already beginning to attempt to draw their fan-base back with changes to Fan Fest.

Things have gotten so bad that fans are not renewing their season tickets and have stopped attending Fan Fest. In 2017, the A’s are attempting to use changes to Fan Fest as a start to draw fans’ attention and affections back to the team.

Even in recent years in which they’ve played in the postseason, those have been the only games in which they sell out. During regular season games a tarp covers the third level of seating.

To understand how poorly the Athletics’ attendance has been, 2016 says it all. The A’s ranked 29th out of all 30 MLB teams in total attendance with a total of 1,521,506 fans that attended games during the season. Their average game attendance was 18,784 fans.

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In comparison, the Los Angeles Dodgers came it at number one with a total of 3,703,312 over the course of the season and an average of 45, 719 fans at each home game. That’s quite a big difference.

There are reasons for this major difference. Obviously the fact that the stadium is half a century old and has plumbing problem is an issue.

The A’s are also the only team that still share a stadium with a NFL team, the Oakland Raiders, who changed the baseball-look of the Coliseum when they moved back from Los Angeles.

However, the attendance problem goes far beyond just the stadium. The A’s are one of the cheapest teams in the league and very often trade away their best players for prospects who, if they work out, are usually traded by the time they hit arbitration or free agency.

Put together, these big issues have left the fans disillusioned and many extremely volatile towards the ownership.

Similarly, the A’s have been one of the only (if not the only) team that has been charging fans to attend their annual Fan Fest. It used to be free. Then it became free to season ticket holders only, and finally over the last few years everyone has had to pay to attend.

Fan Fest
Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

With the recent changes in the A’s ownership as well as in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, it appears that there will be some major changes for the Athletics.

The commissioner has put pressure on the team to build a stadium in Oakland as soon as possible, and the A’s amount of revenue sharing will begin declining each year for the next four years.

With no revenue sharing by 2020 and potentially a new stadium by then as well, the A’s need to win their fans back. They need to put bodies in the seats now to be able to keep up their small payroll and get the fans excited for the new stadium.

The A’s attempt to win back the hearts and more importantly the trust of their fans appears to be beginning with Fan Fest.

Fan Fest, Dave Kaval
Dave Kaval. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

New team president Dave Kaval has been holding open office hours each Tuesday for fans to express their ideas and concerns. The idea of moving Fan Fest stemmed from one of these meetings.

The A’s will be holding their fan fest on the waterfront at the beautiful Jack London Square instead of in the Oakland Coliseum and Oracle Arena.

On top of a better and gorgeous venue, admission to Fan Fest will be free to all fans.

More details of the event have yet to be released but it will take place on January 28, 2017 from 11AM to 2PM.

All A’s fans, including those who are still angry at the team, need to realize that the team is beginning to make amends.

A’s fans need to mark their calendars and show up in droves to support their team, a team that has been a staple in Oakland for almost half a century.

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