Today, with nearly 60,000 seats the Oakland Coliseum looks very different than when it opened. In the mid 1940s Oakland officials first proposed that a new stadium be built in the area to attempt to lure a professional baseball and football team. It was 1960 before a site was chosen to build the stadium, near the C.W. Nimitz Freeway. Construction on the multipurpose stadium began in 1962. The stadium was constructed deep in the ground allowing fans to enter on the upper deck level. Originally named the Oakland Coliseum, it was completed in four years. The Oakland Raiders played the first game ever at the the coliseum on September 18, 1966. For years fans had strongly supported the Oakland Pacific Coast League franchise. Because of this Kansas City A’s owner Charlie Finley decided to move his baseball team to the Oakland Coliseum after the 1967 season. The Kansas City A’s were renamed the Oakland A’s.
The A’s played their first game on April 17, 1968 when 50,219 fans packed the three tiered stadium. Built in a circular shape, many of the seats stretched from foul pole to foul pole, with bleachers beyond the outfield fence. Two Diamond Vision video/scoreboards were located above both the left and right field bleachers. Over the years, few changes took place at the Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders moved out of the coliseum to Los Angeles in 1981 but moved back in 1995.The coliseum remained an excellent place to watch a ballgame until 1995 when the Raiders moved back as drastic changes occurred at the Oakland Coliseum.
As part of an agreement when the Raiders moved back to Oakland, the coliseum was expanded. All of the outfield bleachers were removed replaced by a four-tier section of 22,000 seats. All of the orange seats were replaced by new green seats. The video boards are now above the stadium rim down both the left and right field lines. The coliseum was renamed UMAX Coliseum in 1997, but was later renamed Network Associates Coliseum in 1998. After the 2004 season, the stadium was renamed again and was known as McAfee Coliseum. After the 2008 season McAfee chose not to renew their naming rights contract and the stadium name reverted back to its original name, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. In April 2011 Overstock.com purchased the naming rights to the coliseum for six years at $1.2 million annually. In June 2011 the coliseum was officially named O.co Coliseum. In March 2016, Overstock ended their naming rights agreement with the coliseum, and it is now known as the Oakland Coliseum again. In 2017 the A’s named the playing field at the coliseum in honor of Hall of Famer Ricky Henderson.
Fans can easily arrive at the stadium via the BART Metro or drive and park in many of the lots that surround the coliseum. Before the game, fans can be found tailgating, discussing baseball and enjoying each others company. Upon entering the stadium fans can easily access their seats in the first or second levels. The main concourse serves both the lower and second decks of the stadium allowing easy access for fans wanting views from different parts of the stadium. An all you can eat section is located in three sections of the upper deck directly behind homeplate. Only fans with tickets to this section can access these seats.
In 2006, the A’s closed all sections of the upper deck at the Oakland Coliseum, moving fans closer to the action on the field and making the stadium more intimate. All seating sections in the upper deck, with the exception of three sections were closed and covered with tarps decreasing the seating capacity to 35,000. In 2017 the team announced plans to reopen the third deck, except for in the outfield. This increased the seating capacity to 47,170.
The Athletics continue to share the Oakland Coliseum with the Oakland Raiders. In March 2017 the Raiders announced plans to relocate to Las Vegas. A new stadium will be built here and open in 2020. The Raiders will likely play the next two to three seasons at the coliseum, making the facility the last multi-purpose stadium. With the recent announcement of the Raiders relocation, the Athletics continue to seek to have a new ballpark built. The team hopes to announce plans for their preferred location to build a new ballpark in Oakland by the end of 2017.
Oakland Coliseum Pictures