View level closure revisited-with poll

Hip Hip Hooray, the box office guys DID call me about changing my seat from 317 to another section.  They offered a move to section 200-203, or 231-234 for $7 per game, or section 204-208 or 226-230 for $10 a game.  Those are pretty good discounts (though probably for 2006 only) for the displaced season ticket holders.  

I still worry about the effect this is going to have on attendance, plus I'm bummed that I'm not going to be able to watch the games with the "regulars" in 317.  I'm also a little bummed I'm going to lose my angle in 317(right behind the plate), but I'll live. But if this keeps the A's in Oakland, I'll be happy (I'm sure hoping the conspiracy guys are wrong on this one).  

Perhaps what I'm most concerned with is the effect this will have on the younger, poorer demographic.  With that in mind, I think it is IMPERATIVE that the A's offer some great discounts for fans under 16 years old ($5-8 for plaza level, I'm thinking), and continue to offer the "family packs" (an outrageously good deal for us breeders), the Saag's coupons, and to perhaps expand their promotional ticket offers.

Well, I guess my paranoia got the best of me (though I'm clearly not the only one).  In retrospect I wish I'd waited to find out about this change when they called, but I do think it's a topic worthy of discussion (again I'm clearly not the only one, considering the two hundred-odd posts), and so therefore do not regret "spilling the beans" with the first diary.  

I feel pretty well mollified by the respectful way the ticket people contacted me to offer me an "upgrade" (I really don't see it as such- I LOVED section 317 and will go back there if it is opened in the future).  However, the call was just poorly timed considering I already knew of the impending changes in policy from their website.

I signed up (at least tentatively) for a seat in section 226.  So I guess I'll need to come up with a new AN handle.  I'd love to hear your suggestions (don't trash me too much!) for a new handle.  Plus, I'll put up a poll with some I've been considering ("Brian in 317" was pretty dorky, anyway!)

Because the first diary generated so much interesting commentary, in the extended content I copied some of the most salient posts from the thread.

And Wolfe has to be convinced that keeping the A's in Oakland makes business sense. I love those $10 walk up tickets, too, but I'm more concerned that the A's stay in Oakland. And if this is part of the bargain, then I'll accept it.  -Sporty spice

I think they're testing the market
for season tickets. As others say below, A's fans need to show they're willing to commit to season plans. And to be honest, I think it's a reasonable thing for Wolfe to do before he commits to building a new stadium.  -sporty Spice

if they really stand by their promise to keep the third deck closed for those "prime" series, during which they regularly SELL OUT THE THIRD DECK, then I have all the problems with this move that many others do below.  It would be horrifically anti-fan.-Ruben Sierra

given their inability to get tickets the day of games for big games, many people may decide to get season tickets.  it's all in the interview blez did with wolff if you want to understand the reasoning.  -xbhaskarx

They are trying to create scarcity so they can ultimately raise ticket prices. They are being "fan friendly" with the prices now because they need to, but eventually will charge what the market will bare. Not that there's anything wrong with that. -McFood
I'll definitely become a season tix holder if tix become harder to get. I don't necessarily like the changes, but I think it's a great business decision. -alleninsf
"Creating scarcity" makes no sense as a rationale for closing off the deck for games which THEY WERE SELLING OUT ANYWAY.  Let's call their bluff here; they'll open the third deck for those 10 or so games at which it seems like they'll lose a helluva lot of money by not doing so. -Ruben Sierra
It seems like that was a mistake  It was never officially announced, they just accidentally posted a draft of the new page too soon - the typoes also strengthen this idea.-Devo

I think that they'll increase the number of promotions like this, which cost essentially nothing (since most people end up buying 5 dollar dogs instead of one $5 sausage, anyway) in order to counter accusations of being unfriendly to fans.-Devo

For those who went to games in the 70's you may remember the the 3rd was closed, they did not need the seats anyway.-Billyball1981

Wolff will stand up with a straight face in November 2006 and decry the team's 15% attendance decline.  "We put a competitive product on the field and the Oakland fans ignored it."  This will happen whether or not the team actually makes more money through the supply-demand game they're playing.  It's a beautiful case:  propose a ballpark which can't possibly get built, sink attendance while maintaining the same profit margain, and convince the pols and people of Vegas/Portland/Secto that they're nice guys who tried everything they could to stay in Oakland. -FreeSeatUpgrade

I'm sure a lot of family people are have trouble with this. Yeah, I want the A's to win and maximize revenue but a having a family-friendly outing is actually the most important thing. -commuter

This is an experiment. It's possible that it won't work. We just go back to opening the 3rd deck next year. And perhaps their experiment of closing down Mt. Davis this past year led to positive results, and they're just trying to see if they can take it one more notch.
Still, I'm sure Wolff has thought this out and has received the input from several other competent people. No offense, but I certainly trust a millionaire's financial strategies than advice to the contrary found on AN. As for the conspiracy theories, I'm still willing to give Wolff the benefit of doubt. -OaktownTribesman

Nobody should expect a baseball team to be run like a charity. Tickets are still extremely affordable and I'm sure they will still have plenty of promotions to get poor kids into the games. The cheapest seats at the Coliseum will be a heck of a lot better than the cheapest seats at most parks ... not only that, they will be cheaper.  If Lew consulted me, I would have told him that losing free upgrades and my choice of cheap seats is more than worth helping make the team economically competetive and creating a more intimate, packed house atmosphere. -Devo

Well I'll do my best to approximate the numbers. The stadium holds about 46k - Saint called and they say it will now holds about 38k - so we're losing 8k seats - all of the (lets estimate) $11 variety.   For non-premium games, the 1k or so fans that sit there are at best a financial wash ... and I'm relatively certain that the A's actually lose money on them, but for the sake of being conservative, we'll just call it a wash.   There are about 20 premium games/yr - so, in closing those seats, the A's are losing an income of 20*11,000*11 - or $2.4m. Of course, a good portion of that is not profit and simply goes to the service and upkeep of the third deck. Lets guesstimate that they're actually losing $1.5m. So where is that money coming from?   Well, the idea is that scarcity will force more people to commit to buying tickets ahead of time. Essentially all of these extra tickets will be in the regular/infield plaza or the non-MVP field at $20/30 and $30 respectively. We'll say that the average ticket costs $26, for simplicity. $1.5m at that rate would take an additional 58k tickets. When we spread that over the ~60 non-premium dates, we need to add a little under 1k fans per date - or, in other words, keep total attendance the same.  Under this scenerio, overall attendance would drop 120k but net revenues would remain unchanged. Not only that, but it will do the team the great good of forcing fans to get used to the idea of buying tickets in advance and testing the structure they are anticipating before investing hundreds of millions of dollars in a new stadium. -Devo
As you (Devo) say, the A's experts making this call think it's the right fiscal move.  I think they're right too.  But neither I nor they think it's the right move for revenue reasons.  As you yourself touched on earlier, they're looking at asset appreciation towards a franchise sale date payoff.  The Lords like to appreciate those assets, yes indeed, and a sale by one is a gain by all, frat bros Wolff, Selig and (choke, sputter) Reinsdorf among `em.  And a team with MLB backing of its solid case to relocate is worth much, much more than the value of the present Oakland A's.  It's a windfall profit of the highest order.  The A's appear to be asking me to pay more money for fewer games in worse seats, with the payoff being not a new ballpark, but a more profitable asset for Fisher-Wolff to sell to someone to whom the A's are valuable precisely because they are portable. -FreeSeatUpgrade
Actually, I do tend to agree with you, Devo, that this is probably an experiment that probably needs to happen.  It challenges the fan base to rise to the occasion and keep the A's in Oakland.   I do think, however, closing the upper deck could really hurt the young fans.  I'm hoping they will offer deep discounts for fans under 16, otherwise, I really think we'll see a drop off in attendance for that demographic.  It's important that kids be able to come to the ballpark, in order to foster a ballpark culture of future fans (in other words fans who don't just watch on TV). -Brian in 317

Ask Not... what the Oakland Athletics can do for you.   What can you do for the Athletics?  That seems to be the basic argument for those who favor the new seating arrangements.  Apparently, we (the fans who already regularly attend A's games) should dutifully and cheerfully accept any long as it promises make more money for the team. I don't think so. Obviously, the corporation that is the Oakland A's has every right to do whatever it chooses with its' business practices.  They can charge $100 per ticket and $50 for popcorn if that is what they want.  They can have Stomper perform in the nude if they think it will make them more money.  It's their business (literally).  But, as an A's fan, I have every right to bitch and moan about not having a View Level.  It sucks.  No more spreading out to the seats around you.  No more playing catch on the empty concourse.  No more sunsets over San Francisco from the top row.  And what about that weird little kid in the A's super hero costume?  He can't afford the Plaza Level!  I'll still fork over $500 or so a season for tickets, but I'll get to go to half as many games.  It sucks.     I pay my ten bucks and I'll cry if I want to. -Mission1929  

The relationship between a team and its fans is alot like a romantic relationship. Neither side can unilaterally demand anything they want and refuse to give in to the demands from the other. It doesn't work that way. If one side feels their partner is too demanding and not giving enough, they split. In our case however, the A's are like the cute, smart girl who is coveted by other guys, while us fans are like the whiny, spoiled loser who got lucky. Why do I make that comparison? Because it's obvious that the A's could leave and they'd find new fans in Vegas, Portland, wherever. Meanwhile, if the A's leave Oakland, you can bet your life that another team will NEVER move to Oakland, not in the next 100 years. -OaktownTribesman

The more I think about this... ...the more certain I become that this move has nothing whatsoever to do with increasing revenue from the Coliseum and everything to do with shaking down New Stadium Money from a gullible- I mean forward-looking- city. So, sure, the following sequence of events may indeed lead to an ass-kickin', Yankees-humiliatin' A's team that makes us all swell up with chest-thumpin' high-fivin' pride... as we watch the Las Vegas Athletics on the big screen at the sports bar.
Well, it was a nice run while it lasted, and we still have at least a couple more years of (relatively) affordable games played by a pretty good team before they go away. And I understand completely why it has to be so- Selig and his henchmen probably leave dead fish in the A's office every few weeks... fish with a big note reading CONTRACTION. But that doesn't mean I have to feel all warm and fuzzy about the corporation that provides my Baseball Fan Experience. I feel about them the same way I feel about the movie studios who make the films I love.  -AlamedaAphid

this is stupid...
I work for the A's and i can tell you for the majority of the games we never have practically any staff (ushers, security, concessions) in the upper deck anyways. And those people make minimum wage anyways so its not like they're dishin out huge amounts of cash. This is about Lew Wolfe and his obsession with scarcity (hence his idea of a two deck, 30,000 capactiy new stadium). Honestly, i think this is really going to hurt the A's this season. We might have the lowest attendence ever in 2006. -rsur5

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