A’s fans balk at season ticket price increases for 2022 – Chico Enterprise-Record


OAKLAND — A’s fans are not happy.

Not only have their team’s dwindling postseason hopes taken a hit this week, season-ticket holders on Wednesday received an email from the team announcing ticket prices for the 2022 season would go up — way up — and that a fan-favorite A’s Access program would not be reinstated. On top of the uncertainty surrounding the team’s future home, the news did not sit well with fans.

Fans vented at the ballpark and on social media, but haven’t heard from A’s president Dave Kaval, who did not respond to requests for comment about the hiked season ticket prices on Thursday and Friday.

“Just crazy to see raised prices that much with no investment in the team, fan experience or commitment to stay,” said Bryan Johansen, a longtime season ticket holder who sits in left field bleachers, who said his season ticket prices jumped from $456 in 2019 to $840 in 2022.

Will MacNeil, a longtime season ticket holder who sits in the right field bleachers, added, “I guess A’s ownership lost a lot of money during the pandemic. I don’t really believe it. But we have a billionaire owner. It really kind of leaves a bad taste in your mouth going why is this happening.”

The price jump hits especially hard in context of Kaval’s recent comments disparaging the Coliseum experience. Embroiled in heated negotiations with the City of Oakland over the Howard Terminal ballpark project, Kaval has insisted the 55-year-old ballpark “is at the end of its useful life.” The team is yet to provide an answer for why they expect fans to pay more for a baseball experience they themselves deem suboptimal.

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Without answers, fans are jumping to their own conclusions. Some, inspired by the 1989 film “Major League,” assume the A’s are intentionally eroding fan interest so that the team may relocate. With Howard Terminal negotiations at a crawl, a group from A’s ownership, including A’s owner John Fisher and Kaval, have made frequent trips to Las Vegas to scout potential relocation destinations.

Others wonder if ownership is gouging fans to make up for financial losses during the pandemic. Frequent Coliseum attendees have grown accustomed to higher prices around the ballpark for the 2021 season — higher individual ticket prices, $30 parking and pricey food and beverage options.

That’s led to some of the smallest crowds in recent history at the Coliseum. No more than 5,000 fans attended any of the four games against the Seattle Mariners this week as the A’s face a closing postseason window and race for a wild card spot.

There’s been no good news out of the A’s camp of late. Doubling season ticket prices was yet another gut punch.

Byron Guo is one of those fans who was disappointed by the price increased. Gup didn’t grow up a baseball fan, but looking to get into baseball after his move to the Bay Area from the Pacific Northwest, Guo tried to hop on the San Francisco Giants’ train during their World Series runs. But the corporate vibe at Oracle Park didn’t entice. So Guo hopped over the Bay Bridge to attend some Oakland A’s games. Instantly, he was hooked by the crowd energy, leading him to buy season tickets through A’s Access in 2019.

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“I moved here to find a new home and I found a piece of real community at the Coliseum,” Guo said.

But Guo, 28, awoke Wednesday morning to a shattering email that went out to all A’s season ticket holders. Season ticket prices for the 2022 season had nearly doubled in price. And gone was the A’s Access program from 2019 that brought a host of fans into a flat season ticket deal with perks including discounted food, beverages, parking and merchandise.

With A’s Access in 2019, Guo paid a $300 flat fee. If Guo were to buy season tickets for next season, the cheapest he could get would be third-deck seats for $29 a pop. Those same seats are currently selling for $15 a game. Without the discount incentives; without promise that the A’s will field a watchable team; without guarantee that the A’s will even stay in Oakland, Guo doesn’t plan on renewing his season tickets.

“I could afford it but it doesn’t seem right,” Guo said. “I’m not a fan that believes boycotting games is the way to show Fisher up, but that doesn’t mean I think we should validate these season tickets prices.”

Guo’s sentiment seems to be consistent. The hiked prices are challenging the faith in even the most loyal, longtime season ticket holders.

MacNeil saw his prices jump from around $1,100 in 2019 to $2,050 for the entire 2022 season. MacNeil plans to renew his season tickets, but fears the already tiny Coliseum crowds will shrink even more next season as more fans are priced out.

“I know this is going to hurt our fanbase quite a bit as I know it will probably price some people out,” MacNeil said. “Which is a shame. I mean I’m almost priced out with the new prices they’re implementing.”

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High costs sting more after fans got a taste of A’s Access, where a season ticket came with 50 percent off food and drinks, discounts on parking and merchandise. The program that was set to return in 2020, but stopped with canceled in-person attendance in 2020 and capacity limits to start the 2021 season. Unlimited access for fans unfeasible. When the Coliseum opened to fans at full capacity, the A’s offered a voucher program for fans to use on single-game tickets. With full capacity in 2022 expected, the successful A’s Access program will not return.

“A’s Access is very much missed, as $14 beer hurts,” MacNeil said .



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