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A's ballpark would be smaller


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A's think small with stadium plans

Don Muret

The Oakland A's are thinking small while doing their research for a new facility.

 

They're considering suites that accommodate four to six people in a ballpark that would contain fewer than 35,000 seats, said Keith Wolff, son of Lewis Wolff, the team's co-owner and managing partner. That would make it the smallest stadium in Major League Baseball.

The A's also would like to feature loge boxes and terrace tables in their stadium. The club-seat/suite hybrid priced affordably for small businesses at NBA arenas is another idea that A's officials think could be adapted to their midlevel baseball market, Keith Wolff said.

 

The team hasn't selected a site or completed a financing package but continues to develop plans for a new venue. The sites under consideration have included the parking lot of the existing stadium and along the Oakland estuary.

 

The younger Wolff led a group of consultants hired by the A's that includes International Facilities Group LLC, 360 Architecture and Gensler Architects on a tour of about 30 ballparks, arenas and NFL stadiums to collect information on premium seating.

 

"We heard from a lot of teams that said they have too many suites," Wolff said. "In most markets, there aren't a lot of companies that can fill a 25-person suite consistently for 81 dates. We're thinking of having 40 traditional suites and 40 minisuites."

 

Lewis Wolff is the co-founder and chairman of Maritz, Wolff & Co., a privately held hotel investment firm, and Keith Wolff said he and his father are fully aware of how difficult it is to keep hotel rooms regularly occupied.

 

The same principle can be applied to a sports facility setting, Keith Wolff said.

 

The minisuites would likely have two rows of two seats, with a drink rail and two bar stool-style chairs in the back of the box, Wolff said.

 

"For a company that has only 20 employees (such as Maritz, Wolff) but has relationships with a lot of clients and desires a unique experience, it would be perfect," Wolff said.

 

Good approach by the A's. No use in having 30k in a 45 seat facility every night.

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If the Twins and now the A's get a stadium and we can't, you cannot deny the huge embarrassment that this team and city will face. It still amazes me that almost every team since the early 90's has some new kind of stadium to play in and we are still playing in Dolphins Stadium.

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