OAKLAND — The A’s introduced the latest phase in their ballpark quest, the launch of a web site dedicated to the ballpark hunt itself and an exhaustive online survey where fans can share what features they would like in a new venue.
Still unknown is the timing of a ballpark announcement. All the A’s have said is they will announce where they will build within this calendar year. They are down to three spots in Oakland that they are choosing from: the current Coliseum site, Howard Terminal or a spot simply referred to as the “Peralta” site, close to Laney College.
“We’re not prepared to say when at this point,” A’s chief operating officer Chris Giles told NBC Sports California. “We’re still gathering information. We are going to take time to digest the information. At this point, there are still so many moving parts that we haven’t set a date yet.”
The survey is wide-ranging and takes more than a half-hour to complete, but the A’s set it up that way with a purpose in mind — to glean as much information as they could, in one single shot, about the spending habits and preferences of potential ticket-buyers.
Questions range from a fan’s annual income, to ranking a list of factors they’d find most important in their game-day experience, to what they like most (and dislike) about the current Coliseum. One page offers up images of four different bar/restaurant type settings, asking fans which scene best represents their personal style.
“I feel like we have an opportunity to do a ballpark like it’s never been done before,” said Giles, whose background includes time spent with the 49ers overseeing the operation of Levi’s Stadium. “In other words, dedicate much more space than has ever been dedicated to what I would call non-typical areas. We’ll have the traditional seating areas. But how much space should we be dedicating to bars and restaurants and those sort of things, and big decks and lawn areas and family areas. So at first, it’s about those sort of things, how should we be allocating space?”
“I think down the road it becomes, ‘OK, what sort of products should we actually be building? What should be the underlying revenue model or the pricing model of an outfield communal area versus a traditional baseball seat? And how could we build those so we’re actually attracting a completely different audience, and that we’re pricing this in a way where it makes a lot of sense to (those different buyers).”
One question in the survey point-blank asks fans to rank their preference of the three final locations, one through three, and why they liked a specific location best. Given that it’s already August, can the A’s actually take in all of this information, evaluate it and include it in their decision to make a ballpark announcement by the end of 2017?
Giles says yes.
“The nice thing is we have three great site, all of which are viable, all of which have their different kinds of pros and cons,” he said. “If you think about it, what we’re trying to do is build a ballpark for our fans. And so to the extent that it comes down to this one looking close and this one looking close, what the fans say is gonna be important.”