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The Coliseum during a baseball game
|Former names||Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum (1966–1998, 2008–May 2011, 2016–2019)|
Network Associates Coliseum (1998–2004)
McAfee Coliseum (2004–2008)
Overstock.com Coliseum (May 2011)
O.co Coliseum (2011–2016)
RingCentral Coliseum (2019)
|Address||7000 Coliseum Way|
|Public transit|| AC Transit: 45, 46, 46L, 73, 90, 98, 356, 646, 657, 805|
Alameda County East Oakland Shuttle
Amtrak Oakland Coliseum
Harbor Bay Business Park Shuttle
|Owner||Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority (City of Oakland and Alameda County)|
|Capacity||Baseball: 46,847 (expandable to 55,945 without tarps)|
American football: 56,057 (expandable to 63,132)
Soccer: 47,416 or 63,132 (depending on configuration)
|Record attendance||Baseball: 56,310 (July 21, 2018, Athletics vs Giants)|
|Field size||Left field 330 feet (101 m)|
Left center 388 feet (118 m)
Center field 400 feet (122 m)
Right center 388 feet (118 m)
Right field 330 feet (101 m)
Backstop 60 feet (18 m)
|Surface||Tifway II Bermuda Grass|
|Scoreboard||36 feet (11 m) high by 145 feet (44 m) wide|
|Broke ground||April 15, 1964|
|Opened||September 18, 1966|
|Construction cost||$25.5 million|
($201 million in 2019 dollars)
$200 million (1995–96 renovation)
($326 million in 2019 dollars)
|Architect||Skidmore, Owings & Merrill|
HNTB (1995–96 renovation)
|Structural engineer||Ammann & Whitney|
|Services engineer||Syska & Hennessy, Inc.|
|General contractor||Guy F. Atkinson Company|
|Oakland Athletics (MLB) 1968–present|
Oakland Raiders (AFL/NFL) 1966–1981, 1995–2019
Oakland Clippers (NPSL/NASL) 1967–1968
Oakland Stompers (NASL) 1978
Oakland Invaders (USFL) 1983–1985
San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) 2008–2009
The Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, or Oakland Coliseum for short, is a multi-purpose stadium in Oakland, California, United States, which is home to the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball (MLB). The stadium opened in 1966 and was the last remaining stadium in the United States shared by professional football and baseball teams having done so from 1968 until 2019. From 1966 until 1981 and again from 1995 until 2019, the stadium was home of the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League. It was also the home of the Oakland Invaders of the United States Football League from 1983 to 1985. The Coliseum was also home to some games of the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer in 2008–2009 and hosted games of the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. The Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum complex consists of the stadium and the neighboring Oakland Arena.
The Coliseum has 6,300 club seats, 2,700 of which are available for Athletics games, 143 luxury suites, 125 of which are available for Athletics games, and a variable seating capacity of 46,867 (or 55,945 without tarps) for baseball and 63,132 for soccer. It has a seating capacity of 56,057 for football as of 2019. In seating capacity, Oakland Coliseum is the eighth-largest MLB stadium.
The Coliseum features an underground design where the playing surface is not only below ground level, it is 21 feet (6.4 m) below sea level. Consequently, fans entering the stadium find themselves walking on to the main concourse of the stadium at the top of the first level of seats. This, combined with the hill that was built around the stadium to create the upper concourse, means that only the third deck is visible from outside the park. This gives the Coliseum the illusion of being a short stadium from the outside.
Planning and construction
Business and political leaders in Oakland had long been in competition with neighbor San Francisco, as well as other cities in the West, and worked for Oakland and its greater East Bay suburbs to be recognized nationally as a viable metropolitan area with its own identity and reputation, distinct and separate from that of San Francisco. Professional sports was seen as a primary way for the East Bay to gain such recognition. As a result, the desire for a major league stadium in the city of Oakland intensified during the 1950s and 1960s.
By 1960, a non-profit corporation was formed to oversee the financing and development of the facility rather than city or county government issuing taxpayer-backed bonds for construction. Local real estate developer Robert T. Nahas headed this group, which included other prominent East Bay business leaders such as former US Senator William Knowland and Edgar F. Kaiser, and which later became the governing board of the Coliseum upon completion. It was Nahas' idea that the Coliseum be privately financed with ownership transferring to the city and county upon retirement of the construction financing.[full citation needed]
Nahas served 20 years as President of the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Board. On the death of Nahas, Jack Maltester, a former San Leandro mayor and Coliseum board member, said, "If not for Bob Nahas, there would be no Coliseum, it's really that simple." Nahas had to be a diplomat dealing with the egos of Raiders owner Al Davis, Athletics owner Charles O. Finley, and Warriors owner Franklin Mieuli.
Preliminary architectural plans were unveiled in November 1960, and the following month a site was chosen west of the Elmhurst district of East Oakland alongside the recently completed Nimitz Freeway. A downtown site adjacent to Lake Merritt and the Oakland Auditorium was also originally considered. The Port of Oakland played a key role in the East Oakland site selection, swapping 157 acres (64 ha) at the head of San Leandro Bay to the East Bay Regional Park District, in exchange for 105 acres (42 ha) of park land across the freeway, which the Port in turn donated to the City of Oakland as the site for the Coliseum sports complex.
The Oakland Raiders of the American Football League moved to Frank Youell Field, a makeshift stadium near downtown Oakland, in 1962, and the Coliseum was already being heralded in the local media as the Raiders' future permanent home. Baseball was also a major factor in the planning of the Coliseum. As early as 1961, the American League publicly indicated that it wished to include Oakland in its West Coast expansion plans. In 1963, American League president Joe Cronin suggested that Coliseum officials model some aspects of the new ballpark after Dodger Stadium, which impressed him, though these expansion plans seemed to fade by the middle of the decade.
After approval from the city of Oakland as well as Alameda County by 1962, $25 million in financing was arranged. Plans were drawn for a stadium, an indoor arena, and an exhibition hall in between them. The architect of record was the San Francisco office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill with Myron Goldsmith the principal design architect and the general contractor was Guy F. Atkinson Company. Preliminary site preparation began in the summer of 1961. Construction began in the spring of 1962. The construction schedule was delayed for two years due to various legal issues and cost overruns; the original design of the Coliseum had to be modified slightly in order to stay on budget.
In 1965, it was rumored that the Cleveland Indians might leave Cleveland for a West Coast city (such as Oakland), but the Indians ended up remaining in Cleveland. Charlie Finley, owner of the Kansas City Athletics, unhappy in Kansas City, impressed by Oakland's new stadium and personally convinced to consider Oakland by Nahas, eventually got permission after several unsuccessful attempts and amid considerable controversy, to relocate the Athletics to the stadium for the 1968 season.
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In its baseball configuration, the Coliseum has the most foul territory of any ballpark in Major League Baseball. Thus, many balls that would reach the seats in other ballparks can be caught for outs at the Coliseum. The distance to the backstop was initially 90 feet (27 m), but was reduced to 60 feet (18 m) in 1969.
From 1968 through 1981 and in 1995, two football configurations were used at the stadium. During Raider preseason games and all regular season games played while the baseball season was still going on, the field was set up from home plate to center field (east/west). Seats that were down the foul lines for baseball games became the sideline seats for football games, which started up to 120 feet (37 m) away from the field (most football-only stadiums have sideline seats that start half that distance away). Once the A's season ended, the orientation was switched to north/south: i.e. the football field ran from the left field line to the right field line; seats were moved from behind first and third base to create corners for the end zone to fit into (these seats were then placed to fill in the space that was normally behind home plate and near the foul poles for baseball games). Temporary football bleachers were then added in front of the baseball bleachers to form the sideline on the east (visitors') side, and the baseball bleachers were not sold. Raiders season ticket holders would thus have two season ticket locations in different parts of the stadium that roughly corresponded to the same location in relation to the field. After stadium expansion in 1996, the field ran north/south throughout the season.
Stadium name changes
For more than its first three decades (1966–1998) the stadium was known as Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum.
In September 1997, UMAX Technologies agreed to acquire the naming rights to the stadium. However, following a dispute, a court decision reinstated the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum name. In 1998, Network Associates agreed to pay US$5.8 million over five years for the naming rights and the stadium became known as Network Associates Coliseum, or, alternately in marketing and media usage as, "the Net".
Network Associates renewed the contract in 2003 for an additional five years at a cost of $6 million. In mid-2004, Network Associates was renamed McAfee, restoring its name from before its 1997 merger with Network General, and the stadium was renamed McAfee Coliseum accordingly.
McAfee was offered a renewal of the naming contract in 2008, but it was declined. The name reverted to the pre-1997 name of Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum on September 19, 2008. The stadium retained its original name until April 27, 2011, when it was renamed Overstock.com Coliseum via a six-year, $7.2 million naming rights deal with online retailer Overstock.com.
The Coliseum was renamed O.co Coliseum on June 6, 2011, after Overstock.com's marketing name. However, due to a contract dispute with the Athletics regarding the Overstock/O.co naming rights deal, the A's continued to refer to the stadium as the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum in all official team communications and on team websites.
RingCentral placed a bid for the naming rights on May 14, 2019, for a $1 million annual payment. The Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Authority gave its approval of the new naming-rights deal on May 31, 2019 pending formal approval from Major League Baseball. New signage was in place by the time that the Golden State Warriors hosted the 2019 NBA Finals at the neighboring Oracle Arena on June 5.
However, in August 2019, the head of the Coliseum Authority, Scott McKibben, abruptly resigned his position after allegations emerged that he had requested a $50,000 fee from RingCentral in exchange for negotiating the naming rights deal. McKibben was subsequently charged by the Alameda County district attorney's office with violating conflict-of-interest laws, including one felony and one misdemeanor count. On January 17, 2020, the RingCentral naming rights deal was rescinded by the Coliseum Authority.
A's owner Lewis Wolff made the first official proposal for a new ballpark in Oakland to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority on August 12, 2005. The new stadium would have been located across 66th Avenue from the Coliseum in what is currently an industrial area north of the Coliseum. The park would have held 35,000 fans, making it the smallest park in the major leagues. Plans for the Oakland location fell through in early 2006 when several of the owners of the land proposed for the new ballpark decided not to sell.
Throughout 2006, the Athletics continued to search for a ballpark site within their designated territory of Alameda County. Late in 2006, rumors began to circulate regarding a 143-acre (58 ha) parcel of land in Fremont being the new site. These rumors were confirmed by the Fremont city council on November 8 of that year. Wolff met with the council that day to present his plan to move the A's to Fremont into a soon to be built ballpark named Cisco Field. Wolff and Cisco Systems conducted a press conference at the San Jose-based headquarters of Cisco Systems on November 14, 2006 to confirm the deal, and showcase some details of the future plan. However, on February 24, 2009, after delays and increased public opposition, the Athletics officially ended their search for a stadium site in Fremont. The Athletics later took their Cisco Field plan to a site in downtown San Jose located near SAP Center (home of the NHL's San Jose Sharks). The San Jose plan was opposed by the San Francisco Giants whose territory San Jose is in and on October 5, 2015, the United States Supreme Court rejected San Jose's bid on the Athletics.
During that time, the City of Oakland continued to propose new ballpark ideas that ranged from a proposal to build on a waterfront site in the Jack London Square area called Victory Court to a three stadium proposal called Coliseum City on the Coliseum site. Both plans went nowhere.
The Athletics signed a ten-year lease to stay in Oakland and at the Coliseum on July 22, 2014. The deal required that the team look into a new stadium, but only in the city limits, which made it more difficult for the Raiders to tear the Coliseum down for a football-only facility. The A's began talks with an architect on August 6, 2014, to build a baseball-only stadium at the Coliseum site, according to Wolff.
Going into 2016, John J. Fisher took majority control of the team and made Dave Kaval team president and the person in charge of the stadium hunt. On September 12, 2017, it was announced that a site near Laney College and the Eastlake neighborhood had been chosen for the new ballpark (tentatively called Oakland Ballpark) with the A's proposing to construct a 35,000 seat stadium on the site of the college's administrative buildings which the A's would relocate to a spot of the college's choosing. However, the Laney College Board of Trustees abruptly ended talks with the Athletics in December 2017. The surprised A's were forced to look at alternatives for a new stadium location.
On November 28, 2018, the Athletics announced that the team had chosen to build its 34,000-seat new ballpark at the Howard Terminal site at the Port of Oakland. The team also announced its intent to purchase the coliseum site and make the site into a tech and housing hub, preserving Oracle Arena and reducing the Coliseum to a low-rise sports park as San Francisco did with Kezar Stadium.
Athletics Coliseum Redevelopment plan
The Athletics' preliminary plans for the Coliseum redevelopment include a large park, surrounded by substantial new housing, including affordable housing, a skills center, community gathering space, office and retail space, and restaurants. The new park will be anchored by the two focal points of Oakland sports history: Oracle Arena, repurposed as a concert and cultural events center; and the original Coliseum baseball diamond, preserved to inspire the next generation of ballplayers. The Oakland A's and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors entered into an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement in April 2018. On April 23, 2019, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted 5–0 to approve the term sheet between the County and the Oakland Athletics providing for the possible purchase by the A's of the County's 50% interest in the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Complex for $85 million. The County Board of Supervisors and the A's will work to draft acquisition documents based on the non-binding term sheet.
Under any such replacement proposals, the Oakland Raiders would have presumably continued to play football in the Coliseum, although there were proposals for the Raiders to play at Levi's Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara as well as rumors regarding the Raiders' possible return to Los Angeles.
The Raiders proposed a 50,000-seat stadium in the same spot of the Coliseum in 2013. It would have cost $800 million, with $300 million coming from the Raiders, $200 million coming from the NFL's stadium loan program, and the final $300 million coming from the city.
After the failure of the stadium plan, Raiders owner Mark Davis met with officials with the city of San Antonio on July 29, 2014, to discuss moving the Raiders to the city in time for the 2015 season; they would have temporarily played home games at the Alamodome until a new permanent stadium was built.
On September 3, 2014, the city of Oakland claimed it had reached a tentative deal to build a new football stadium in Oakland, which would have resulted in the Coliseum being demolished. The claim was met with silence from the Raiders, who continued to explore San Antonio, and opposition from Alameda County.
On February 19, 2015, the Raiders and the San Diego Chargers announced plans for a privately financed $1.7 billion stadium that the two teams would have built in Carson upon being approved to move to the Los Angeles market. Both teams said they would continue to attempt to get stadiums built in their respective cities. The stadium was approved by the Carson City Council but was defeated by the NFL who voted in favor of building SoFi Stadium and relocating the St. Louis Rams back to Los Angeles with the Chargers as the second LA team.
In January 2016, Mark Davis met with Las Vegas Sands owner Sheldon Adelson about building a domed stadium on the UNLV campus for the Raiders and the UNLV Rebels. The stadium location was later moved to a site across Interstate 15 from Mandalay Bay. After the approval of $750 million from the state of Nevada and backing from Bank of America after Adelson pulled out of the project, the Raiders submitted papers for relocation to Las Vegas in January 2017, and on March 27, 2017, the Raiders' relocation to Las Vegas was approved. The team planned to continue to play at the Coliseum through the 2019 NFL season and relocate to Las Vegas in 2020. In December 2018, the city of Oakland sued the Raiders and all the other NFL teams for millions in unpaid debts and financial damages, which prompted Raiders management to declare that the team was leaving after the 2018 season. After the San Francisco 49ers blocked an attempt by the Raiders to relocate to Oracle Park for the 2019 season, the Raiders and Coliseum Authority reached an agreement in principle on February 25, 2019 to allow the Raiders to return to the Coliseum for 2019 with a provision for 2020 should completion of the Las Vegas Stadium be delayed; the Coliseum Authority approved the lease on March 15 while the Alameda County Board of Supervisors and Oakland City Council voted in favor of the lease on March 19 and 21, respectively. On January 22, 2020, the Raiders officially moved to Las Vegas becoming the Las Vegas Raiders.
Raiders and A's move in
The Raiders played their first game at the stadium on September 18, 1966. In 1968, the Kansas City Athletics moved to Oakland and began play at the stadium. The Athletics' first game was played on April 17, 1968. The stadium complex cost $25.5 million ($201 million adjusted for inflation) to build and rests on 120 acres (49 ha) of land. On April 17, 1968, Boog Powell hit the first major league home run in the history of the Coliseum. On May 8 of that year, Catfish Hunter pitched the ninth perfect game in Major League history at the Coliseum. The Coliseum hosted the 1967 and 1969 AFL championship games. Additionally, the venue had hosted the second match of the NPSL Final 1967.
The awkwardness of the baseball–football conversion, as well as the low seating capacity (around 54,000 for football) and that the prime seating on the east side consisted of temporary bleachers led the Raiders to explore other stadium options. One such option was Memorial Stadium on the UC Berkeley campus. Several preseason games were played there in the early 1970s along with one regular season game in 1973 (a 12–7 victory over the Miami Dolphins during September while the A's regular season was going on). However, in response to traffic and parking issues associated with these games (while Cal games drew a large number of students who live on or near campus and walk to the games, Raiders games attracted fans from a larger geographic area who were used to tailgating at the Coliseum and were more likely to drive to games), the City of Berkeley passed a Professional Sports Events License Tax in which the city collected 10% of all gate receipts, making the staging of professional games inside the city cost-prohibitive. The Raiders were granted an injunction from the city collecting the tax, arguing that the tax was a regulatory measure rather than a revenue measure, and was therefore an improper regulation on land held in trust by the Regents of the University of California. However, the grant of the injunction was reversed by the California Court of Appeals, who found it to be a revenue measure, despite the fact that the city had made the measure immediately effective "due to danger to the public peace, health, and safety of the City of Berkeley as a result of the holding of professional sports events there".
The stadium was not well maintained for most of the late 1970s. Its condition was most noticeable during baseball season, when crowds for A's games twice numbered fewer than 1,000. On April 17, 1979, only 653 fans attended the game versus the Seattle Mariners. During this time, it was popularly known as the "Oakland Mausoleum".
In 1980, the Raiders won Super Bowl XV. Two years later, the Raiders moved to Los Angeles, leaving the A's as the only remaining tenants of Oakland Coliseum. Only days later, Finley agreed to sell the A's to Marvin Davis, who planned to move the A's to Denver. However, city and county officials were not about to lose Oakland's status as a major league city in its own right, and refused to let the A's out of their lease. Finley sold the team instead to the owners of San Francisco-based Levi Strauss & Co. After the 1986 Major League Baseball season, the original scoreboards were replaced. A new American Sign and Indicator scoreboard and message center was installed behind the left field bleachers, while the original right field scoreboard was replaced with a manually operated out-of-town scoreboard. Between the centerfield flagpoles, a new Diamond Vision video screen was installed.
The 1987 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was held at the stadium. From 1988 to 1990, the venue saw three more World Series. In 1989, the Athletics won their 4th Series since moving to Oakland, sweeping the San Francisco Giants in the earthquake-interrupted "Battle of the Bay" Series.
In the 1990s, several major concerts were held, but these were not "Days on the Green", by definition, because they occurred at night.
In July 1995, the Raiders agreed to return to Oakland provided that Oakland Coliseum underwent renovations. In November 1995, those renovations commenced and continued through the next summer until the beginning of the 1996 football season (more info below). The new layout also had the somewhat peculiar effect of creating an inward jog in the outfield fence, in left center and right center. There are now three distance markers instead of one, at various points of the power alleys, as indicated in the dimensions grid. The Raiders' return also heralded the creation of the "Black Hole", a highly recognizable group of fans who occupied one end zone seating during football games.
On April 2, 2006, the broadcast booth was renamed in honor of the late Bill King, a legendary Bay Area sportscaster who was the play-by-play voice of the A's, Raiders and Warriors for 44 years.
San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer, announced in November 2007 that they would be playing their "big draw" games, such as those featuring David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy, at the stadium instead of their then-home Buck Shaw Stadium (capacity roughly 10,000) in Santa Clara. Since then the Quakes moved to their new home of Avaya Stadium and play their bigger games in nearby Stanford Stadium.
Midway through the decade, the stadium established a "no re-entry" policy. Each ticket can be used only once, after which a second ticket must be purchased in order to re-enter the Coliseum.
On May 9, 2010, almost 42 years to the day of Catfish Hunter's perfect game, Dallas Braden pitched the 19th perfect game in Major League history at the Coliseum. A commemorative graphic was placed on the baseball outfield wall next to Rickey Henderson's retired number on May 17, their next home game.
With the Miami Marlins opening their own ballpark in 2012, the stadium became the last remaining venue in the United States that hosted both a Major League Baseball and a National Football League team.
As part of a new ten-year lease signed by the Athletics with the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum Authority in 2014, the Oakland Coliseum had a new $10 million scoreboard system (two large outfield scoreboards, 36 feet tall and 145 feet wide, and two ribbon scoreboards) installed for the start of the 2015 MLB season. Also part of the new lease, the Coliseum Authority agreed to pay $1 million a year, with five percent annual increases, into a fund to maintain the stadium.
For the 2017 Major League Baseball season, the tarp covering a large amount of the baseball configuration has been removed, increasing the capacity to over 47,000 for the first time since 1995. The tarp remains on the football-only Mt. Davis.
From 2016 onward, the A's have invested heavily in improvements to the Coliseum. In 2017 the team created a new outdoor plaza area with food trucks and lawn games, called Championship Plaza. The West Side Club was also entirely renovated and rebranded into Shibe Park Tavern, the Coliseum's new destination restaurant and bar with more than twenty different beers on tap. In 2018, the A's created a brand new destination indoor/outdoor bar concept in the left field corner called The Treehouse. The Treehouse has brought a new demographic of fans to the Coliseum through nightly themed discounts and through its innovative subscription ticketing product, the Treehouse Pass.
On April 17, 2018, the Athletics opened the gates to the Coliseum for a free admission game versus the Chicago White Sox. It was the 50th anniversary of the club's first game played in Oakland back on April 17, 1968. 46,028 fans were on hand for the 10–2 Athletics victory and Kaval called the game "a gift to Oakland".
On December 15, 2019, the Raiders played their last scheduled game at the Coliseum, losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 20–16, giving up 17 unanswered points in the second half. Fans booed the team as they exited the field for the last time.
Commencing in 1973, the stadium hosted an annual Day on the Green concert series, presented by Bill Graham and his company Bill Graham Presents, which continued on into the early 1990s.
Led Zeppelin played what turned out to be their final North American concerts with twin shows during their 1977 North American Tour. Following the second show Bill Graham barred the band from the venue and his other managed venues in response to the band's manager Peter Grant, drummer John Bonham and security 'co-ordinator' John Bindon's brutal assault on one of Graham's security employees during the first show, following the employee's refusal to allow Grant's 11-year-old son Warren to take an item belonging to the venue as memorabilia. The death of Plant's young son Karac three days later and the resulting cancellation of the remaining tour dates rendered Graham's action academic.
The stadium played host to Amnesty International's Human Rights Now! Benefit Concert on September 23, 1988. The show was headlined by Sting and Peter Gabriel and also featured Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, Tracy Chapman, Youssou N'Dour, Roy Orbison and Joan Baez.
U2 performed during their 360° Tour on June 7, 2011, with Lenny Kravitz and Moonalice as their opening acts. The show was originally scheduled to take place on June 16, 2010, but was postponed, due to Bono's emergency back surgery.
In popular culture
The stadium was the location for the 1994 Disney movie Angels in the Outfield. Although Angel Stadium of Anaheim (known as Anaheim Stadium at the time) was where the Angels actually played, it was damaged in the 1994 Southern California earthquake. Anaheim Stadium was used for views from the outside and aerial views, while the Coliseum was used for interior shots.
International soccer matches
|January 9, 2000||International Friendly||Mexico||2–1||Iran||34,289|
This article's Criticism or Controversy section may compromise the article's neutral point of view of the subject. (July 2013)
In recent years, the Coliseum has been criticized as being one of the "worst stadiums in baseball". For instance, in 2011, Bleacher Report named it the fifth-worst stadium in the majors, partly due to its expansive foul territory. In 2017 The New York Times called the Coliseum "a bland, charmless concrete monstrosity" that "isn't worthy of preservation ... perhaps America's most hated sports stadium".
Two years later, in another Times article, writer Jack Nicas not only defended the Coliseum against criticism, he argued that its perceived failings were actually strengths. "Yes, the Coliseum is ugly, but it is cheap, gritty and fun," he said. To his surprise, on moving to Oakland four years earlier, he had come to love the Coliseum as much as he had loved Fenway Park while growing up in Boston, and Wrigley Field when attending college in Chicago. If those parks were the baseball equivalent of classic pubs, Nicas wrote, "the Coliseum is baseball's last dive bar."
As a season ticket holder, Nicas got concessions at half price, leading to a combined cost of $7 for a hot dog and beer, a deal that he doubted could be matched anywhere else in the city. The Coliseum was also more spacious than Fenway or Wrigley, and while its expansive foul territory put fans at a distance it also allowed them more opportunities to see great catches by fielders. But while he found other A's fans who appreciated what the Coliseum had to offer and, like him, feared it would be lost in a new ballpark, he admitted those virtues had not drawn enough spectators to the Coliseum for the team to justify remaining there.
A 1996 expansion of the stadium was funded by a controversial issuance—critics said that "(Oakland) Raiders' late owner, Al Davis, fleeced local officials at the expense of taxpayers"—of some $220 million of public debt by both Alameda County and the City of Oakland, resulting in substantial debt service payments for both governments. As of spring of 2018, the City of Oakland still owed $135 million for the expansion.
In December 2019, Alameda County officials announced the sale of the county's interest in the stadium to the Oakland A's baseball club, saying the $85 million deal would allow the county to pay off its share of the debt. In a joint statement, Supervisor Scott Haggerty and Supervisor Nate Miley noted that the two Supervisors "have led the negotiations and played instrumental roles in moving the sale of the county's share forward in the hope that, once finalized, the $85 million valuation will relieve the county of debt which has weighed on taxpayers for decades."
One feature of the 1996 expansion was the addition of more than 10,000 seats in the upper deck that now spans the outfield in the baseball configuration, enclosing the stadium. Due to the stands' height and the loss of the Oakland hills view, A's fans have derisively nicknamed the structure "Mount Davis", after late Raiders owner Al Davis. It has been criticized as an area which has made the Oakland Coliseum look ever more like a football stadium, and not at all one for baseball. From 1997 to 2005, while the A's opened part of the upper deck for baseball, they did not count it as part of listed capacity; while the "official" capacity was 43,962, the "actual" capacity was 55,945.
In 2006, the Athletics covered the entire third deck with a tarpaulin (tarp), reducing capacity to 34,077—the smallest capacity in MLB at the time. Even if a game was otherwise sold out, the A's would not sell any seats in the area. It would remain covered except if they made the World Series. The A's said that closing off the upper deck would create a "more intimate environment" for baseball. This drew criticism from fans, the Oakland City Council, and sports marketing analysts baffled at owner Lew Wolff's decision, with some stating that this was cover for a possible move to San Jose (see Cisco Field). There were 20,878 seats covered up by the tarp which would otherwise have been usable for baseball. In 2017, new team President Dave Kaval decided to open several sections in the original third deck that were covered by tarps, though Mount Davis stayed tarped. This increased capacity by 12,103 to 47,170.
In February 2013, the Oakland Raiders announced that they would cover 11,000 seats in the Mount Davis section with a tarp to avoid blackouts. This reduced capacity to 53,250, making the coliseum by far the smallest in the NFL in seating capacity for its final years in the league (league rules required a minimum capacity of 50,000, and no other stadium, barring the temporary-used Dignity Health Sports Park, seated fewer than 61,000). Under NFL rules, the tarps had to stay in place all season long, no matter whether they made the playoffs.
On June 16, 2013, following the game against the Seattle Mariners, the Coliseum experienced a severe sewage backup. This led to pipes leaking out puddles of sewage into the showers, offices, visitor training room and storage areas on the clubhouse level of the stadium, all of which are 3 feet (0.91 m) below sea level. After the game, the A's and Mariners were forced to share the Oakland Raiders locker room, located on the stadium's second floor. According to Coliseum officials, the stadium's aging plumbing system was overtaxed after a six-game homestand that drew close to baseball capacity crowds totaling 171,756 fans.
This was not the first time sewage problems cropped up at the stadium. For instance, on one occasion the Los Angeles Angels complained about E. coli in the visiting team's training room after a backup. Backups occur even when no events are taking place there. For instance, Lew Wolff wanted to go to dinner on June 12, 2013 (while the A's were on the road) at one of the Coliseum's restaurants, only to discover that food service had been halted due to a sewage leak in the kitchen.
- "2019 Oakland A's Media Guide" (PDF). Major League Baseball Advanced Media. February 4, 2019. p. 650. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
- Jones, Carolyn (October 5, 2012). "A's Refuse to Remove Tarp". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved October 7, 2012.
- "Quick Facts" (PDF). 2015 Oakland Raiders Media Guide. Oakland Raiders. July 27, 2015. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
- "Oakland Raiders Fan Guide". Oakland Raiders. Archived from the original on January 22, 2018. Retrieved May 14, 2016.
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 1, 2020.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.|
- Official Oakland Coliseum website
- County Coliseum_coliseum.htm Visit to Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
- History of Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
- Oaklandathletics.com: Coliseum website
- FootballGeography.com: College football at the Oakland Coliseum[permanent dead link]
- YouTube.com: Time-lapse video of the conversion between seating arrangement
|Events and tenants|
| Home of the Oakland Athletics
Frank Youell Field
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
| Home of the Oakland Raiders
Allegiant Stadium (planned)
| Host of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game
| Home of the
San Jose Earthquakes
(with Buck Shaw Stadium)
Buck Shaw Stadium
Miami Orange Bowl
Three Rivers Stadium
| Host of AFC Championship Game
Three Rivers Stadium
Mile High Stadium