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Could New A’s Ballpark Boost Attendance?

Oakland A's

Down the road, the Oakland A’s hope that a proposed new ballpark will become a reality and be a factor in improving attendance numbers. 

The A’s have been a surprise contender in 2018, entering Monday’s action with a 94-62 record and on the verge of clinching a playoff spot. Though there have been some attendance highlights this season–including the largest baseball crowd in Coliseum history–the team currently ranks 27th out of 30 MLB clubs in attendance, with a per-game average of 19,427. (Overall attendance is down in MLB this season, it should be noted).

While they are achieving success on the field, the A’s are also still in the process of considering their options for a new ballpark in Oakland. Evaluation of both the Howard Terminal and Oakland Coliseum sites continues, with plenty of working remaining in that process as the team looks to replace the obsolete Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

The A’s have been searching for a ballpark for years, hoping it can be a factor in improving the club’s revenue. A’s president Dave Kaval believes that a new ballpark would also create more revenue streams that could be invested back into the club’s payroll, allowing the team to afford keeping its marquee players and ultimately boost its fan support. More from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Kaval said the many promotions the team has done this season — including opening the Treehouse patio deck and bar in the left field stands — have paid off in building overall support for the team.

But it’s not enough to stay put at the Coliseum. With among the lowest payrolls in baseball, they also need more cash to keep popular players under contract and, in turn, keep fans returning to the ballpark.

“That’s why I think it’s so important to build a new stadium,” Kaval said. “It will unlock a lot of revenue stream that we can pour back into the team budget.”

Kaval said the A’s dramatic 50 percent growth in TV viewership this season (tied for second among MLB teams) is a “leading indicator” that the team can grow its fan base.

The A’s have had stretches of success over the past couple of decades, but the inability to retain recognizable players as they approach or reach free agency has generally been an issue for the organization. Limited revenue has always been a contributor to that problem, and a new ballpark has always been viewed as one way to improve the organization’s financial outlook.

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