Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 2.57
Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum 7000 Coliseum Way Oakland, CA 94621
Year Opened: 1966
Tough Times in Oakland
The Oakland Athletics are often derided as the team with the worst stadium situation in the major leagues. Despite recent successful seasons, a lack of progress on a new home perpetuates, leaving Athletics fans in limbo. A visit to Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum quickly reveals why the A’s previous roommates, the Las Vegas Raiders, packed up and headed for Nevada – cramped concourses, outdated facilities, a less than ideal neighborhood surrounding the stadium, and a lack of fans are just some of the lowlights. However, for diehard fans, there are some charms that still can be found in the home of the multi-time World Series Champions.
Food & Beverage 4
The best part of the Athletics game experience is the food and beverage options. The main concourses feature some of the best local food options, including Round Table Pizza and Top Taco. Individual pizzas from Round Table cost $8.99. Popcorn can be found for prices ranging from $8.49 to $13.99 for standard popcorn, kettle corn, or gourmet popcorn. Being not far from wine country, you can also pick up some Coppola Wine for $13.59, while a souvenir beer costs $13.99, a souvenir soda comes out to $7.55, and coffee or hot chocolate are available for $4.29.
If you want a hot dog, prices for the “colossal dog” run $6.99 while nachos come in at $6.89. The outfield also features several bars with local beers on tap, as well as your domestic and imported favorites – these bars offer indoor and outdoor seating, complete with TV screens and restrooms nearby. Lastly, outside the stadium in Championship Plaza, fans have access to the beer garden and food trucks that stage in the area on game days.
Much like the maligned home of the Tampa Bay Rays, the Athletics have done their best with the stadium situation they have. The outfield seating and concourse inside is quite surprisingly updated and new looking. The two bars in the outfield feature indoor seating areas with multiple TVs for viewing. There is also a large community garden to walk through as well.
When walking through some of the main concourses, the walls have been covered with images and historical facts that follow the team’s history over the years. All of this, however, cannot hide the age of the facility. The concourse is incredibly cramped, and even a paltry opening day crowd of 17,000 made navigation difficult. The stadium also has tons of exposed concrete; not exactly the most aesthetically pleasing view for most, but at least some walls have had the graphics added.
The stadium is located in Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco. While downtown Oakland features some of the charm of a big city, the area immediately around the stadium itself is not the best. Mostly industrial buildings and storage centers, graffiti covers practically every wall from the highways to the parking areas. The sidewalks and streets near the stadium are full of trash and the roads are full of potholes. Food options nearby are standard, with a Starbucks and In-N-Out a few minutes-drive down the road.
The fans in Oakland are simply not going to games of late. In early 2022 the Athletics were in the news for having less than 3,000 fans at game after game. Even opening day featured a meager crowd that barely filled the sections behind home plate. The fans who do attend Athletics games are loyal and passionate, showing their pride in the A’s, but even their enthusiasm and passion can’t overcome the fact that Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is quite literally empty on a nightly basis when professional baseball is being played.
The stadium is located right off I-880 in Oakland. Parking lots at the stadium are plentiful on site. Entrances to the stadium surround the facility, meaning you won’t have far to go to get inside. Once inside, stadium maps are all over the concourse walls, including food stand maps to help you find what you want to eat. Parking on site costs $30. Signage on the highways make it easy to find the stadium even without a GPS system in your car. Note that at present, if you wish to visit the team store you have to show proof of your COVID-19 vaccination.
Return on Investment 3
Tickets to Athletics games start at $19 at their lowest, but the team uses dynamic pricing, meaning that depending on the day and the opponent, that same lowest price ticket can be upwards of $30. Middle deck seats run anywhere from $29 to upwards of $47, while lower bowl seats range from $50 to $110. This can make going to the game a bit of a game itself – picking which day is cheaper may make it difficult to plan, especially when adding in concessions prices and parking as well. Nonetheless, you have the opportunity to watch professional baseball in a beautiful climate, which in itself counts for something when compared to the heat you face in other cities in the summer.
Throughout the stadium there are historic display cases and markers showing the team’s past. There are also multiple statues of players past. Finally, you can find a convenient map on the walls throughout the concourse showing all the stadium’s food options.
Oakland baseball deserves better – most everyone agrees on this. The fans who do show up are passionate and proud of their team’s history. And while the Athletics have done the best they can with what they have in their current state, the shortcomings are so vast that it is hard to overlook one, if not most. The beauty of the weather and climate helps, but Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum could definitely use a proper facelift to make it more enjoyable for the fan experience.