A’s ticket price hike could be the last straw

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It’s almost like the Oakland A’s are methodically following a step-by-step plan on how to kill a fanbase.

The latter – or the latter? – step of increasing the prices of subscriptions without warning, justification or public declaration, seems destined to drive out even the most faithful.

The reaction of those who are still subscribers? You hear things like “last drop”, “ridiculous” and “slap in the face”.

“It’s such a disillusionment,” said Veeve Detmer, who has been a loyal customer since the mid-1990s and can recite her subscription number by heart. “I’m known as the Pollyanna when it comes to A’s, but that seems so unheard of.

“I think a lot of loyal A fans are re-evaluating a relationship that they feel is unhealthy.”

The latter and most loyal refractories were shocked at the rate hikes in their subscription email this week.

Other fans have already been disgusted by the team’s approach, collapsing at different times during the team’s systematic alienation.

Here is the plan :

1. Not putting money back on the squad or re-signing local stars, but instead pocket money received from revenue sharing over the years, until that pot runs dry.

2. Have a billionaire owner who is totally irresponsible or present during their 16 years of ownership.

3. Denigrate their home stadium as a worthless and horrible place, implying that anyone who shows up there is an asshole.

4. Do your best, for many years, to escape Oakland, to San Jose or Fremont.

5. When those plans fail, turn the tide and pretend to be “rooted in Oakland.”

6. Prematurely announce a stadium location after chasing it for months – surprise! – so as not to be a viable location. (Hello and goodbye, Laney College.)

7. Emphasize that another problematic stadium site is the only option. You are now supposed to trust the decision makers on the team.

8. Show a complete and utter lack of imagination at the existing 155 acre site which comes with ideal transportation solutions.

9. Present a plan that is one of the biggest and most ambitious real estate projects in Oakland history and insist that it must be passed immediately by city council.

10. When the city council suggests that it should study another financing plan, it pouted and claimed that it had no more options.

11. Embark on a search for a “parallel” stadium in southern Nevada, constantly visiting, being drunk and dined by Nevada officials, and searching for locations in 106 degree gardens like Henderson.

And finally, this week’s development:

12. Post season ticket prices for the upcoming season at nearly double the current cost, alienating the most loyal remaining fans.

It’s a hell of a 12-step program.

Customers were shocked to see their ticket prices skyrocket. In some cases, you can get a cheaper ticket to attend a Giants game at Oracle Park.

Longtime season ticket holder Steve Stevenson, who estimates he attends 60 to 70 games a year, has seen his ticket soar by $ 1,800.

“If I thought they were going to put the money back into the squad, re-sign Starling Marte, or do something cool, that would be one thing,” Stevenson said. “Instead, it feels like we’re not doing this.”

The benefits of the popular A’s Access plan launched in 2019 are no longer there. A’s Access appears to have been a victim of the pandemic, but some A fans feel the property ditched it because it wasn’t providing fast enough returns.

Bryan Johansen, a second-generation Season A season ticket holder and fan since the mid-1980s, has seen his 24-game plan nearly double in price. But he said he was renewing.

“I’m a sucker,” he said. “I love baseball. And I don’t mind that they increase the price of tickets, but that has to be justified by something. “

Instead, the A’s didn’t offer an explanation. The team did not respond to The Chronicle’s requests for comment on its new pricing plan.

“It feels like they are trying to swindle the few remaining fans, or purposely kick the fans out,” said Ryan Thibodaux, a longtime fan and former season ticket holder.

If it sounds bad, it’s because it could be. The A’s have already got Commissioner Rob Manfred to intimidate Oakland by announcing that Colosseum real estate is not a viable site, that the team is at their wit’s end with Oakland, and, laughing, insists John Fisher went out of his way to keep the Oakland team. If Manfred can point to the decrease in the A’s season ticket base, wouldn’t that be further proof that the A’s should move?

But some believe this is less of an evil conspiracy than sheer nonsense, brought on by an understaffed trading office run by a cheap owner.

“I just see incompetence,” Stevenson said. “It’s just a long failed PR nightmare.”

Threats, mismanagement and missteps have undermined the joy of attending games for many.

“They’ve lost so much credibility along the way,” Detmer said. “It just feels like they’re sending us the message – you’re not important.”

And a sports team without fans is, well, nothing.

The A’s have done a lot of harm. Unfortunately, they’re pretty effective at alienating the people they need most.

Ann Killion is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @annkillion



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