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O.co Coliseum
The Coliseum, Oakland Coliseum
Oakland Coliseum field from Mt. Davis
Ballpark
Location 7000 Coliseum Way
Oakland, California 94621
Broke ground 1962
Opened September 18, 1966
Renovated 1995-1996
Owner Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority (City of Oakland and Alameda County)
Operator SMG
Surface Bluegrass
Construction cost $25.5 million USD
$200 million USD (1995-1996 renovation)
Architect Skidmore, Owings and Merrill; HTNB
Former names Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (1966-1998, 2008-2011)
Network Associates Coliseum (1998–2004)
McAfee Coliseum (2004–2008)
Tenants Oakland Athletics (MLB) (1968–present)
Oakland Raiders (AFL / NFL) (1966–1981, 1995–present)
San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) (2008–2009) [1]
Capacity Baseball: 35,067
Football: 63,026
Soccer: 47,416 or 63,026 (depending on configuration)

O.co Coliseum (originally Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, formerly Network Associates Coliseum and McAfee Coliseum and commonly The Oakland Coliseum or The Coliseum) is a multi-purpose stadium, located in Oakland, California, in the Coliseum Industrial area. It contains 6,300 club seats (2,700 of these are available for Athletics games) and 143 luxury suites (125 of these are available for Athletics games).

It is part of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum complex, which consists of the stadium and neighboring Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors.

It is currently home to the Oakland Athletics, of MLB and the Oakland Raiders, of the NFL. It was also home to the San Jose Earthquakes of MLS, who used the stadium for several larger attendance games during the 2008/2009 seasons.

It also hosted some of the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Stadium historyEdit

1960sEdit

Business and political leaders in Oakland had long been in competition with its neighbor, San Francisco, as well as other cities in the West, and were also trying for Oakland and its suburbs (the greater East Bay) to be seen 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 caliber 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 Nahas headed this group (which included other prominent East Bay business leaders such as William Knowland and Edgar F. Kaiser), 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.[2]

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 then-recently completed Nimitz Freeway. A downtown site adjacent to Lake Merritt and the Oakland Auditorium (which itself, many years later, would be renamed the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center) was also originally considered.[2] The Port of Oakland played a key role in the East Oakland site selection; The Port swapped 157 acres at the head of San Leandro Bay to the East Bay Regional Park District, in exchange for 105 acres 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.[3]

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 of Major League Baseball publicly indicated that it wished to include Oakland in its West Coast expansion plans. In 1963, AL president Joe Cronin suggested that Coliseum officials model some aspects of the new ballpark after then-brand-new Dodger Stadium, which impressed him,[4] 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 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.[5]

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 A's, unhappy in Kansas City, impressed by Oakland's new stadium and personally convinced to consider Oakland by Nahas,[6] eventually got permission after several unsuccessful attempts and amid considerable controversy, to relocate his American League franchise to the stadium for the 1968 season.

The Raiders played their first game at the stadium on September 18, 1966. In 1968, the Kansas City Athletics became the Oakland Athletics and began play at the new stadium. The Athletics' first game was played on April 17, 1968. The stadium complex cost S25.5 million to build and rests on 120 acres of land. On May 8 of that year, Catfish Hunter of the A's pitched the ninth perfect game in Major League history at the Coliseum.

The Coliseum features an underground design where the playing surface is actually below ground level (21 feet / 6 meters 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.

In its baseball configuration, the Coliseum has far and away the most foul territory of any major league ballpark. This is especially the case along the foul lines. Thus, many balls that would reach the seats in other ballparks are caught for outs at the Coliseum. The distance to the backstop was initially 90 feet, but was reduced to 60 feet in 1969.

The Rolling Stones performed two shows at the stadium during their 1969 North American Tour on November 9, 1969.

1970sEdit

Black Hole at Falcons at Raiders 11-2-08

The Black Hole (sections 104, 105, 106, and 107) during a Raiders home game against the Atlanta Falcons on November 2, 2008

Creedence Clearwater Revival performed and recorded their show, on January 31, 1970, which was recorded and later released as a live album, entitled The Concert, originally mistitled as The Royal Albert Hall Concert.

In 1972, the A's won their first of three straight World Series championships and their first since their years in Philadelphia.

Commencing in 1973, the stadium hosted an annual Days on the Green concert series, presented by Bill Graham and his company Bill Graham Presents, which continued on into the early 90s.

In 1974, Marvin Gaye performed at the stadium, his first live show in four years. It was released as a live album, titled Marvin Gaye Live!.

In 1976, the Raiders won Super Bowl XI.

In 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd performed through the Independence Day weekend, as part of the above-mentioned Days on the Green series; this specific event lasted three days.

Led Zeppelin played what turned out to be their final North American concerts with twin shows during their 1977 North American Tour. After their first show on July 23, members of Led Zeppelin's entourage were arrested after a member of promoter Bill Graham's staff was physically assaulted and badly injured, following the performance.

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 17 April 1979, only 653 fans attended the game versus the Seattle Mariners.[7] During this time, it was popularly known as the "Oakland Mausoleum."

1980sEdit

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 sold 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 was forced to sell the team 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 DiamondVision videoscreen was installed.

Oakland Coliseum 1980

An A's game at the Coliseum in 1981

The Grateful Dead played many concerts at the stadium during the 80s, through to the mid-90s and would typically perform "runs" of shows, in which the band would perform several shows over the course of three to five days, as was often customary for Grateful Dead concert tours in various U.S. cities. They played a total of 68 concerts at the stadium, from 1980–1995 and in total, played 71 concerts at the stadium, the most by any entertainer. Live albums recorded here include, Dylan & the Dead, with Bob Dylan and View from the Vault, Volume Four.

HBO filmed two Earth, Wind & Fire concerts on December 30–31, 1981, one of them including The Phenix Horns.

The 1987 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was held at the stadium. From 1988-1990, the venue saw three more World Series. In 1989, the Oakland A's won their fourth Series since moving to Oakland, as "Bash Brothers" José Canseco and Mark McGwire, of the A's, defeated the San Francisco Giants in the earthquake-interrupted "Bay Bridge" Series or "BART" Series.

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.

1990sEdit

Template:Unreferenced section In the 1990s, several major concerts were held, but these were not "Days on the Green", by definition, because they occurred at night.

Richard Marx shot the video for "Take This Heart" on the baseball field of the Coliseum.

Metallica and Guns N' Roses brought the Guns N' Roses/Metallica Stadium Tour to the coliseum on September 24, 1992, with Body Count as their opening act.

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.

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 occupy one end zone seating during football games.

Along with the since-demolished Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, the stadium features the unusual configuration of laying the football field on a line from first to third base rather than laying it from home plate to center field, or parallel to one of the foul lines, as with most multipurpose facilities. Thus, a seat behind home plate for baseball is behind the 50-yard line for football. With the Miami Marlins opening their own ballpark in 2012, the stadium became the last remaining venue in the United States that hosts both a Major League Baseball and a National Football League team.

2000sEdit

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.

On September 8, 2006, the stadium played host to The Gigantour, featuring performances by Megadeth, Lamb of God, Opeth, Arch Enemy, Overkill, Into Eternity, Sanctity and The SmashUp.[8]

In November 2007, the San Jose Earthquakes, of MLS, announced they would be playing their "big draw" games, such as those featuring David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy, at the stadium. Regular draw games are being played at Buck Shaw Stadium, in Santa Clara.[9]

Midway through the decade, the stadium established a "no re-entry" policy. Each ticket can only be used once, after which a second ticket must be purchased in order to re-enter the Coliseum.

2010sEdit

Template:Unreferenced section 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.

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. As an emergency replacement, The Crunchees filled in at the last minute.

Stadium name changesEdit

File:McAfee Coliseum.svg.png
File:Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.svg.png
File:Overstock.com-coliseum-print.jpg

For more than its first three decades (1966–1998) the stadium was known as Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum.[10]

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 $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".[11]

In 2003, Network Associates renewed the contract 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.

In 2008, McAfee was offered a renewal of the naming contract, but it was declined. On September 19, 2008, the name reverted to the pre-1997 name of Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum. The stadium retained its original name until April 27, 2011, when it was renamed Overstock.com Coliseum via a 6 year, 1.2 million dollar naming rights deal with online retailer Overstock.com.

On June 6, 2011, the Coliseum was renamed O.co Coliseum, after Overstock.com's marketing name.[12] However, due to a contract dispute with the Athletics regarding the Overstock/O.co naming rights deal, the A's continue to refer to the stadium as the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum in all official team communications and on team websites.[13]

Possible replacementsEdit

On August 12, 2005, the A's new owner Lewis Wolff made the A's first official proposal for a new ballpark in Oakland to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority. 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 made known their wish to not 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 Template:Convert/acre parcel of land in Fremont, California 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.[14] Speculation was raised as to whether or not the Athletics franchise would remain in Northern California in the long term as a result of the termination of the Cisco Field plan.

Oakland Coliseum outfield 1980
Mount Davis
Mt. Davis, Oakland Coliseum from section 319

The Coliseum in 1981 before construction of the Mount Davis structure (top) and Mt. Davis during baseball season in 2006, with tarp-covered upper deck (middle); the structure during football season. (bottom)

In 2010, two building sites have become leading candidates for a new Athletics' home: a site in downtown San Jose located near SAP Center (home of the NHL's San Jose Sharks) and a proposed stadium near Jack London Square in Oakland at a site referred to as Victory Court.[15]

Under any such replacement proposals, the Oakland Raiders would presumably continue to play football in the Coliseum, although there have been recent 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.[16][17][18]

Recently, the Oakland Raiders have proposed a 50,000 seat stadium in the same spot of their current stadium. It would 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. [19]

CriticismEdit

BaseballEdit

In recent years, the Coliseum has been criticized as being one of the "worst stadiums in baseball".[20] Problems cited include the large amount of foul territory and the addition of Mount Davis. The former allows for more foul-outs while the latter has been criticized for "ruining" the ambience of the original configuration.

Mount DavisEdit

One feature of the 1996 expansion was the addition of over 10,000 seats in the upper deck that now spans the outfield in the baseball configuration. The effect of these new stands, comprising sections 335–355, was to completely enclose the stadium, eliminating the view of the Oakland hills that had been the stadium's backdrop for 30 years. The stands are very narrow and steeply pitched, bringing the back row of its uppermost tier to a height rarely seen in modern stadiums. 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 O.co Coliseum look ever more like a football stadium, and not at all one for baseball.[21] From 1997 through 2004, the A's left the section open, but it was rarely filled except for fireworks nights and the postseason. The A's did not count the area in the listed capacity for baseball; hence, even though the "official" baseball capacity was 43,662 (48,219 with standing room), the "actual" capacity was 55,945[22] (approximately 60,000 with standing room).

The tarpEdit

King Booth

The Bill King Broadcast Booth, with the tarp on the third deck

In 2006, the Athletics covered the entire third deck with a tarp, reducing capacity to 34,077—the smallest capacity in the majors. For the 2008 season, Sections 316–318 of the 3rd deck behind home plate were re-opened as the A's introduced their own "All-You-Can-Eat" ("AYCE") seating area, similar to the right field bleachers at Dodger Stadium. This has increased the Coliseum's capacity for baseball to 35,067.[23] For the 2009 season, seats were $35 and only sold on a single game basis; All-You-Can-Eat seating was offered for every game in 2008, but for 2009 the section was only open for weekend games (Friday-Sunday) & all games against the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and San Francisco Giants. For 2010, the A's discontinued All-You-Can-Eat, instead rebranding the area as the "Value Deck". Prices for these seats have decreased to a starting price of $12 and are sold for every game (individual game prices vary due to the implementation of Dynamic Pricing as of 2012). To help compensate for the loss of AYCE, the A's have introduced Jumbo-Tickets that have stored stadium credit for food & merchandise ($10 on Plaza Club tickets & $6 for Value Deck tickets).[24]

Even if the game is otherwise sold out, the A's will not sell any seats in the area that remains covered except if they make the World Series. The A's say that closing off the upper deck will create a "more intimate environment" for baseball. This has drawn criticism from fans, the Oakland City Council, and sports marketing analysts baffled at owner Lew Wolff's decision, with some stating that this is cover for a possible move to San Jose (see Cisco Field). There are 20,878 seats covered up by the tarp which would otherwise be usable for baseball.[22] However, in the 2013 American League Division Series, the tarp was removed over the seats behind home plate (although not Mount Davis) and the attendance for the first game of the ALDS was 48,401, the highest since 2004.[25]

On 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 reduces capacity to 53,250, by far the smallest in the NFL (no other stadium seats fewer than 61,000) and only 3,000 seats above the NFL's minimum capacity. Under NFL rules, the tarps have to stay in place throughout the season, even if the Raiders make the playoffs.[26] However, if the Raiders ever host the AFC Championship Game, the Coliseum can easily be expanded to full capacity; the Arizona Cardinals were allowed to expand University of Phoenix Stadium to 72,000 seats when they hosted the 2008-09 NFC Championship Game.

SewageEdit

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 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. [27]

According to numerous reports,Template:Citation needed sewage problems are very common at the stadium. For instance, on one occasion the Angels complained about E. coli in the visiting team's training room after a backup. The plumbing is so old that backups occur even when no events are taking place there.[28] For instance, 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 find out that food service had been halted due to a sewage leak in the kitchen.[29]

ColiseumPanoramaSept08

The Coliseum during A's game in September 2008

See alsoEdit

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ReferencesEdit

  1. Official statements concerning the cancellation of gr and prix arizona. Retrieved on 2007-09-15.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Oakland Tribune, November 3, 1960, front page
  3. Chapter 2 - LWVO Study
  4. Oakland Tribune, January 27, 1963, pg. 39E
  5. Oakland Tribune, April 3, 1964, page E49
  6. Robert Nahas obituary, San Francisco Chronicle, February 26, 2002. Retrieved 4-13-2008.
  7. April 17, 1979 Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics Box Score and Play by Play - Baseball-Reference.com
  8. Gigantour 2008 Official site[dead link]
  9. San Jose Earthquakes: Home: FAQ[dead link]
  10. Woodall, Angela. "Oakland Coliseum Still Bears O.co Name", April 7, 2012. Retrieved on May 27, 2012. 
  11. "New Name in Oakland Sports: Overstock.com Coliseum", May 12, 2011. Retrieved on May 29, 2011. 
  12. About Us: History. Oracle Arena and O.co Coliseum official website. SMG (management company). Retrieved September 20, 2011. See also: About SMG (SMG official website. Retrieved September 20, 2011.) and SMG At-a-Glance: Stadiums (SMG official website. Retrieved September 20, 2011.).
  13. Athletics: No go for O.co. Ballpark Digest. August Publications (April 9, 2012). Retrieved on October 6, 2012.
  14. Goll, David. "A's Abandon Plans for Fremont Ballpark", Bizjournals.com, February 24, 2009. Retrieved on November 15, 2010. 
  15. Purdy, Mark (December 3, 2010). Bud Selig shouldn't bite on Oakland's sketchy pitch for A's. San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  16. NFL: 49ers & Raiders Should Share Stadium – NFL – Rumors. FanNation (January 25, 2009). Retrieved on November 15, 2010.
  17. 49ers and Raiders to Share Stadium from mvn.com[dead link]
  18. Los Angeles stadium planner: Talks held with five NFL teams – Sports Illustrated, June 10, 2011
  19. Oakland Raiders want new $800M stadium when lease expires after 2013 season | OregonLive.com
  20. The 5 Worst Stadiums in All of Major League Baseball. Bleacher Report (January 30, 2011). Retrieved on October 6, 2012.
  21. Inside the Press Box: Oakland: Less Seats, More Filling. Retrieved on September 15, 2007.
  22. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named tarpcap
  23. McCarthy, Michael. "All-You-Can-Eat Seats for 2008", March 7, 2008. Retrieved on October 6, 2012. 
  24. Jumbo Tickets « A's Ticket Services. Ticketservices.mlblogs.com (January 25, 2010). Retrieved on October 6, 2012.
  25. Tigers quiet Coliseum with 3-2 win over A's in Game 1 of ALDS - Sports - Press and Guide
  26. Vic Tafur (2013-02-06). Raiders will tarp top of Mount Davis. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved on 2013-07-16.
  27. A's, M's forced into same locker room. ESPN, 2013-06-16.
  28. Slusser, Susan. Raw sewage on clubhouse level creates chaos. San Francisco Chronicle, 2013-06-16.
  29. Steward, Carl. Oakland A's owner Lew Wolff says Coliseum sewage mess not unusual. Oakland Tribune, 2013-06-17.

External linksEdit

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