It’s no secret that the Oakland A’s have struggled with viewership. You’ve struggled in this department for years. However, 2022 is a whole different monster for the A’s. After two series on the road to open the season, the A’s came back home modest audience from 17,503. That number dropped drastically for Game 2 of the series as attendance dropped to almost 80 percent 3,748. Game 3 was no better as attendance dropped even further to just 2,703. The A’s saw another surge in attendance four days later for the final game of their series against division rivals Texas, although that game (11,083 fans in attendance) still failed to match attendance at the A’s home opener.
National media have taken notice. Everywhere you look rumors are circulating about how attendance got so bad. Are A’s fans finally done with the constant rebuilding the team has gone through since the late 2000s? Are fans rejected by everyone wild cats walking around the RingCentral Coliseum? Maybe fans just don’t care about a team that has that not interested in staying in Oakland? Why would fans want to go to games after all their best players have been traded away? AND Ticket prices and parking options just risen? There are a variety of reasons why A’s fans don’t go to games and most of the blame for this lack of attendance can be placed on the team’s front office and their unwillingness to listen to the fans. Perhaps fans would support their team if the A’s slashed ticket prices, spent decent money on free agents, and actually attempted to make the postseason after finishing five games from a playoff berth a year ago.
The front office should do that. You know what you absolutely shouldn’t do? Try to convince their fans that every team has similar crowding problems, but that’s exactly what team president Dave Kaval tried to do last night.
This tweet was the first of many tweets criticizing the Giants’ lack of attendance during the first game of the Bay Bridge series last night. Kaval would end up retweeting A’s fans and their pictures showing empty seats in Oracle Park. He would criticize the San Francisco media for pushing the narrative that the A’s are struggling to attend without mentioning how badly the Giants are doing. All of these would be great points…if any of them were true. In fact, the Giants didn’t really have an attendance problem last night. Corresponding baseball reference, last night’s game against the Giants had an attendance of 32,898. That’s about 78.5 percent of the maximum utilization (41,915).
Those 32,898 fans in attendance last night is more than any four-game stretch the A’s have had all season. In addition, the Giants did not have a single home game with fewer than 20,000 spectators that year. Their low point of the season came April 11, the first game of a series against the Padres. There were 23,279 fans there. That’s more than the A’s had their entire opening series against Baltimore.
The Giants are 11th in MLB average home visit this year. In 2021They finished twelfth and averaged almost 12,000 fewer fans per home game. Of course, this year’s numbers will go down as we get into midseason, but this is still a good start for the Giants. In the 20 game mark Last season, the Giants drew a total of 19,000 fans for their series with the Miami Marlins. Of course, the Giants had zero expectations of doing well last year, which likely played a role in the lack of attendance, but based on last year’s numbers, the Giants are actually a lot better off now than they were a year ago. The same cannot be said about athletics.
There’s always a chance the numbers are spoofed and the Giants aren’t really attracting that many fans. The images Kaval retweeted would certainly advance that narrative, but they’re also taken out of context. For example, check out this image Kaval retweeted:
The stands are sparse but definitely not what you would see at an A game this year. Also, this picture was taken between the first and second innings of yesterday’s game. As someone who grew up in the Bay Area and grew up watching a lot of Giants and A’s games, I can tell you that weekday night games usually have fans showing up a little later. Additionally, since it was taken between the innings, no action was underway. This is the perfect time for fans to get out of their seats and stroll the stadium, looking for friends or queuing for concessions. There were most likely dozens of people occupying these seats just moments before this picture was taken.
No matter how you slice it, the A’s are the team with the biggest attendance problem in MLB right now. They average 7,942 fans per home game, just over half of the next best team, the Pittsburgh Pirates (13,118). Blame should be placed on the front office, and as much as they’d like to think that every other MLB team suffers from viewership, that’s just not true. Congratulations Kaval, you made your bed when you traded Matt Olson, Matt Chapman and Sean Manaea. Now you lie in it. Stop spreading false narratives about your competitors at least trying to field a competitive team in 2022.