A’s management said Friday that it does not plan to sell 20,878 of O.co Coliseum’s 55,945 seats next week for the A’s division showdown with the Detroit Tigers. Those seats account for about 37 percent of the Coliseum’s baseball seating capacity, and A’s management has sealed them off with tarps since 2006 due to low attendance.
A smaller crowd, A’s managers said, would create a closer, more intimate environment for the American League Division Series.
“The fan experience is better without spreading fans out over more seats,” A’s executives wrote in an e-mail. “The energy in the park and the fan experience over the last week (when the seats were tarped) was incredible.”
Since 2006, shortly after Lew Wolff bought the team, most of the third deck and the outfield stands known as Mount Davis have been covered with dark green tarps. The Raiders, who share the Coliseum with the A’s, remove the tarps for their home games.
The A’s rationale is that most games are far from sellouts, so they want fans to gather in the lower decks rather than scatter throughout the stadium.
“Here’s a team that says they need to leave Oakland because there’s no support. Yet here you have thousands of people who are begging to put money in the A’s pockets, and they tell fans, ‘Sorry, you have to watch it on TV,’ ” said Doug Boxer, a former Oakland planning commissioner and organizer of an A’s fan group called Let’s Go Oakland. “It doesn’t make any sense.” So far this year, the A’s have sold out only seven of 79 games in the 35,067 seats in the non-tarp area.