SBD/September 19, 2013/Franchises

A's Owner Wolff Continues To Search For Answers To Home Attendance Problems

A's Owner Lew Wolff yesterday continued talking about the low attendance figures the team has drawn at Coliseum this season despite heading to the postseason for the second straight year, noting the fans "that we have are loyal fans that come," but adding it would be "nice for the ballplayers and the energy to have more people here." The A's are averaging 22,140 through 77 home games this season, and Wolff said on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area's "Yahoo Sports Talk Live" of the team's attendance woes, "It's a mystery to me. Is it the venue? Is it the market? Is it the fan base? Is it the corporation base?" The Indians and Rays are also struggling to draw despite still being alive in the wild card race, and Wolff said, "Here's Cleveland with a pretty new stadium. Tampa Bay and we are sort of mutual bedfellows. Their owner has written me a couple of times today already and we're confused. We don't know." Wolff said in terms of getting a new ballpark, "Baseball is the one that told me we needed a new home. But right now, all that is sort of irrelevant." He doubted a long run in the playoffs would help the A's efforts to land a new park, saying, "If I haven't been able to get it by now, I'm not sure that anything further helps anymore than what we've done. I just want a new location, more compact, a single sport, just like the Raiders want for themselves. I'm getting a little older, so maybe somebody in my office will have to take care of that." Following the interview, the S.F. Chronicle's Ann Killion said of Wolff, "He probably should kind of button his lips right now. He shouldn't be talking. They just had this amazing sellout where they sold out all the divisional games in like two hours." San Jose Mercury News columnist Tim Kawakami said, "The reason he hasn't gotten it done is because he's 'buffoonage,' because he's irresponsible, because he says the wrong thing at the wrong times with the wrong mood" ("Yahoo Sports Talk Live," CSN Bay Area, 9/18).

TROUBLE AT THE TROP: CBSSN's Doug Gottlieb said of the Rays' small home crowds at Tropicana Field, "They're giving you great baseball down the stretch. ... I don't want to tell people how to spend their money, but this is really amazing." CBSSN's Allie LaForce: "Baseball attendance in general has been down, but you would think that with this one extra wild card game, which has done incredible things for baseball. You have six teams fighting for three-and-a-half spots that more people would show up to the games, especially late in the season. But it just isn't a sport anymore where people would rather watch in person" ("Lead Off," CBSSN, 9/18). ESPN's Buster Olney noted there has been "some criticism from players and some members of the media over the lack of fan support." Olney said, "It's a really, really bad idea for any member of an organization or media to criticize people for not going to games. People are allowed to spend their money the way they want to spend their money. They're not obligated to hand dollars over to any business." However, "you can't blame the Rays for working to move to another ballpark because it's not working in St. Petersburg. The location of the ballpark there is something that chases fans away and the ballpark itself is kind of a mess. But nobody -- nobody -- should get on fans for not shelling out their money" ("Baseball Tonight,", 9/18).
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