AT&T Park was designed specifically for Major League Baseball, but the stadium sure doesn’t act like it. In 2007, motocross, monster trucks, ski jumping, ice skating, an opera simulcast, college football and live concerts shared the same field as the San Francisco Giants and the MLB All-Star Game.Those alternative events, which helped boost the building’s overall attendance to 3.7 million for the year, didn’t come to town by accident. Team owner Peter Magowan paid for the $357 million facility and formed a separate company to aggressively book nonbaseball events to help recoup the investment.
Giants Enterprises, led by 31-year team executive Pat Gallagher, schedules those dates and pays rent back to the club. Since it opened in 2000, AT&T Park has booked 900 nonbaseball events inside or near the stadium.
The most spectacular event has been the Esurance-sponsored Icer Air, a production that includes ski jumping, snowboard jumping, BMX bike and skateboard competitions, and live music. It has played the building the past two years, generating net revenue in the low six figures for each date, and has been successful enough that Gallagher is talking to other clubs about organizing an action sports tour of MLB venues.
“I think Pat Gallagher is simply one of the best entrepreneurs in our business,” said Richard Andersen, executive vice president of ballpark management for the San Diego Padres.
The event side is just one aspect of AT&T Park’s excellence. The Giants, because of their proximity to Silicon Valley, have been at the forefront of sports technology inside their building. They were among the first MLB teams to install an in-stadium wireless network.
The team promotes local brands and foods at the park, and Centerplate’s concessions operation consistently ranks among the best in sports. The waterfront site in one of America’s most beautiful cities doesn’t hurt, either.
Said Giants President Larry Baer: “We like to take people on tours of the park and tell them, ‘We are now taking you to the worst seats in the house,’ in the last row of the upper deck, that has a breathtaking view of the city, the ocean and the bridge.”