Cisco Field to be wired for the future
A's new ballpark to be state-of-the-art on site in Fremont
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Before Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff started the A's press conference on Tuesday, the only items on the Cisco Systems stage were a couple of tables, a lecture stand and a Ticket Kiosk machine placed in the back.
The Ticket Kiosk is a sign of things to come for the Oakland A's and the city of Fremont. The Kiosk showed pictures of dining and spa treatments with "Relax after the game at The Spa" and "Reserve your seats now for one of our dining experiences."
The Kiosk also had an option for fans to upgrade their seats.
The Oakland A's are definitely headed for an upgrade from McAfee Coliseum and the future is in Fremont.
Wolff announced on Tuesday that the A's have reached an agreement to purchase a 143-acre parcel from Cisco Systems with the plan of building a baseball park in Fremont to be named Cisco Field.
"Today marks the beginning of a new era in A's baseball in the Bay Area," Wolff said. "Cisco Field will become a destination attraction that will be enjoyed by baseball fans throughout the Bay Area and beyond for generations to come. The location of the ballpark will enable us to significantly expand our marketplace while giving our fans a unique experience at what promises to be one of the most exciting venues in the country."
The Coliseum is also the home of the Oakland Raiders and has fielded the Athletics since 1968. The A's are now headed in the direction of many other teams such as the Giants at AT&T Park and the Mariners in Safeco Field.
"If you're playing in a stadium that can't produce the revenue streams that you need, then you are really rendering that franchise and the players," said Bud Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball. "This is a classic situation of a team that needs to take control of their own destiny and they have done it very, very well. They did what they had to do. They had no alternative."
Fremont is about 20 miles south of the Coliseum and 12 miles from downtown San Jose. With a population of over 210,000, Fremont is the fourth-most populous city in the Bay Area. The ballpark site is proposed to be located on the west side of Interstate 880 off the Auto Mall Parkway.
Wolff said that the team wouldn't decide on whether to associate "Oakland" with the A's for 2-3 years.
Cisco Field will be one of the more technologically advanced stadiums around. Cisco's technology will be used to enhance ticketing, concessions and management of game-day operations.
John Chambers, CEO and president of Cisco Systems, said the technology-enhanced stadium "will help change the future of sports."
"Technology is changing every aspect of our life experiences and for Cisco," Chambers said. "This is an opportunity to harness the power of our own innovative technologies to create a truly unique experience that transcends sports, connects communities and takes the fan experience to a whole new level."
The stadium will hold about 34,000 fans, and Wolff said the goal is to "bring fans as close to the game as possible."
Initial designs of the stadium show little foul territory, a huge scoreboard above the centerfield wall and a swimming pool by the right-field foul pole. 360 Architecture will serve as the primary design company for the ballpark.
The project will start once the A's gain approval from the city of Fremont, Alameda County and other government agencies. The estimated cost of the ballpark is between $400-500 million, with construction time taking between 24-36 months.
A's president Michael Crowley said that the A's are shooting for 2011 or 2012 for the first game in Fremont, and that an optimistic starting date for construction would be in 18 months.
Wolff didn't talk about specifics on where funding for the ballpark will come from.
"The financial plan will be presented to the City of Fremont and [Alemeda] County first," Wolff said. "Then we will discuss it [with the media]."
The A's are in contract with the city of Oakland to stay at the Coliseum through 2010 and have an option until 2013.
Wolff said that the A's have not closed the door on Oakland, but that Fremont is the team's direction for the future.
Oakland ranked 26th among 30 teams in attendance last season, averaging 24,402 fans per game -- by far the lowest among playoff teams.
Ryan Quinn is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.