The Oakland Athletics have one of the richest histories in the American League with 26 postseason appearances, 16 division titles, and 9 World Series championships including their years in Philadelphia and Kansas City. There haven’t been any championships since 1989, but Moneyball has brought success back to the Bay Area. The A’s have made the postseason eight times since 2000, putting together one of the most consistent franchises in Major League Baseball. Eventually the team will have to get a new stadium, but for now, their games are played at O.co Coliseum. For those looking for a cheaper alternative to AT&T Park across the bay or some American League baseball, heading to an A’s game fills that need quite nicely.
Tickets & Seating Areas
Getting tickets to A’s games is easy because demand is moderate. Since O.co Coliseum is a stadium designed for both football and baseball, the A’s tarp the upper deck and play at a capacity of 35,067 for most games with an expandable capacity of up to 55,945. Available tickets can be bought through the A’s either online, via phone, or at the O.co Coliseum box office. There’s also plenty of inventory and options on the secondary market for better seats or sold-out games. Obviously, you have the well-known StubHub or a ticket aggregator (think Kayak for sports tickets) like SeatGeek and TiqIQ. You’ll likely find cheaper pricing there for off-peak days and weaker opponents than what you could buy on the primary market.
A’s tickets are in the bottom half of the league in terms of cost. The A’s also dynamically price their individual game tickets. Dynamic pricing means the A’s use a model to reflect the demand for a specific game and increase or decrease the price of tickets accordingly. This has been going on since 2012, but you’ll really only notice when quality opponents come to town and prices spike.
The A’s have a Value Deck offering seats of as low as $12, which is a nice option if you’re looking to save money. Lower Level seats are fairly priced with even the best seats in the house costing as low as $50. Since you’re watching the game in a stadium not specifically designed for baseball, you’ll want to be as close to the field as possible. There’s a diehard group of fans in the right-field bleachers who stand up for most of the game leading chants, waving flags, and chastising opposing outfielders. It’s a nice way to fully immerse yourself in the local fanfare.
There aren’t great options when it comes to Premium Seating, but you may end up in the Netsuite Diamond Level Suites if you have good connections or organize a group. Those seats are directly behind home plate and come with complimentary Wi-Fi access, private parking, two free alcoholic beverages, and all-you-can-eat food service delivered to your seat.
You have two options to get to O.co Coliseum. The first and cheaper option is to take the BART, the train system that runs through San Francisco and Oakland. There’s a stop right at O.co Coliseum Arena and it takes 25 minutes from downtown Oakland and 40 minutes from downtown San Francisco. The more expensive option is to drive to the game. Getting out of San Francisco during rush hour for a weekday game is a problem, so be prepared for heavy traffic as you’re getting to the entrance of the Bay Bridge. (Driving from Oakland is much easier.) That’s not the only problem you may encounter. There’s only one exit out of the parking lot for individual game ticket holders, so it could take you upwards of 30 minutes to get out of there if a close game keeps everyone in their seats until the end. Parking costs $20 for A’s games, but most things in the Bay Area are expensive these days.
Pregame & Postgame Fun
Unfortunately O.co Coliseum’s location doesn’t allow for any pregame and postgame scene for eating and drinking. It is in such a remote location that there isn’t just anything worthwhile around it. If anything that encourages people to either get to the stadium earlier to enjoy the Premium Seating areas or drink downtown, whether it be downtown Oakland or San Francisco. The same obviously goes for after the game as well. There are those that tailgate because of the large parking lots surrounding the stadium. It’s not a bad idea for a nice weekend game with good weather.
At the Game
Unfortunately O.co coliseum hasn’t completely caught up to the massive food scene of the Bay Area because of its age. Concessions will be greatly improved wherever the A’s play next, but for now you’ll have to make do with what’s there. Thankfully Ovation, a concession vendor, came into the ballpark a couple years ago and improved the concessions as best they could. Local barbecue joint Ribs & Things BBQ has a stand near Section 104 and it's one of the featured attractions in the ballpark. The brisket is the highlight with the ribs and links, which are smothered in barbecue sauce, being a notch below. It’s easily the best place to eat in the stadium. Saag’s, a local sausage institution, has a stand by Section 118 and it’s always a big hit with five different types of links: Big Atomic Hot, Bratwurst, Hot Link, Polish Sausage, and Sweet Italian. What fans don’t know is that the A’s Grill by Section 205 offers up the same selection of sausages with a much shorter line.
The West Side Club, open to all fans has reasonable good brick oven pizza. Margherita and Pepperoni are two options always on offer, but there’s a third special pizza that changes every homestand. You’ll also be able to find over ten different wines because we are near Napa and Sonoma after all. The Burrito District (Section 220) doesn’t give you burritos, nachos, or tacos as good as you’ll find in the Mission District of San Francisco, but they’ll fill your stomach without you being too upset. Those looking for something good to snack on can grab one of the four different poppers at the Ballpark Poppers stands located near each foul pole.
Fans looking for craft beers will be happy to know there are plenty of options. O.co Coliseum serves numerous varieties from Strike Brewing Co., as well as options from Sierra Nevada, Drake’s and Trumer Pils. Strike’s presence is the largest with a beer garage serving three draft and three bottle options each.
Where to Stay
You’ll most likely want to stay in San Francisco if you’re traveling to the Bay Area for an A's game. There are plenty of hotels in San Francisco and you’ll have to make the decision of whether you want to stay downtown or near Fisherman’s Wharf. My recommendation would be to stay downtown because it’s more convenient to get out to O.co Coliseum. Between the Courtyard by Marriott, Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, and Westin, you will be able to find a place rather easily. Just remember San Francisco is an expensive city. There are also a few options in downtown Oakland if you’d prefer to stay there. Your best option for finding hotels will be by using Trip Advisor as they can provide an aggregated search of available hotels while also providing high-quality reviews from previous customers., you can look into renting an apartment via AirBNB, VRBO, or HomeAway.