In 2009, the Oakland Athletics attracted a mere 1,408,783 fans to the Oakland- Alameda County Coliseum. With a 75-87 record, fans across the bay area had a hard time finding reasons to attend an A’s game.
However, the A’s in ’09 did go 40-41 at home (.494WPCT) and outscored opponents, 402 to 348. However, their road woes hampered thier 2009 season. The A’s went 35-46 (.432WPCT) and were outscored, 357 to 413 on the road.
Prior to the start of the 2009 season, many fans had high expectations, since the A’s added sluggers Matt Holliday, Jason Giambi and veteran leaders Orlando Caberera and Nomar Garciaparra to their team.
Fans expected Holliday, who in 2008 hit .321, 25 homers and drove in 88 runs for Colorado, to drastically improve an anemic offensive attack.
However, Holliday failed to produce the same monstrous numbers he had in Colorado. As an Oakland Athletic, Holliday managed to hit .286/.378/.454 with 11 HR and 54 RBIs. If you compare those numbers to his career numbers of .318/.387/.545, it’s not hard to tell that Holliday’s brief stay in Oak-town was a disappointment.
Despite bringing big names to Oakland, the A’s often times found themselves playing in front of minor-league crowds.
The A’s averaged about 17,000 fans per game in 2009, which was down about 2,000 from their 2008 average of 19,000. Upon further review, the A’s 2009 average attendance was down about 6,000 fans from their 2007 season (23,726).
If this decline continues, how will the A’s survive? What will it take to get fans to go out to the ballpark?
Bigger signings? Bigger trades? Better promotions?
Sure, those things could help. But the recipe to garner better attendance, is no easy task.
It takes a lot of work to build up a fan base that is consistent enough to show up to games. Fans love to watch their team win. Fans want a reason to come out to the ballpark. If you’re rebuilding a franchise, it’s going to be difficult attracting a ton of fans. The A’s haven’t been to the playoffs since 2006, and have gone 226-259 (.466 WPCT) under manager, Bob Geren. So, why would anyone in this econcomy want to waste $40 to see their home team lose?
Well, because they’re supposed to be your team. Win or lose, fans should support their teams.
And the A’s are on the verge of contention—meaning A’s fans should come out to support them while they’re still in Oakland. Billy Beane has been building around a young core of pitching, and the team is becoming eerily similar to the team he crafted in the early 2000′s. You know, the one where Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito helped to attract a little over 25,000 fans per season.
The sad part of all of this is, that fans in Oakland will miss out on all the wild, fun and crazy games that are all a part of a maturing ballclub. Youngsters Brett Anderson, Trevor Cahill as well as Michael Taylor and Chris Carter are expected to make big strides this season. And for the 14,000 or so fans in attendance, it will be fun to watch.