How Oakland Coliseum Switches from Football to Baseball and Why Portable Aluminum Bleachers are a Game Venue Changer

woman in aluminum bleachers cheering

Woman in aluminum bleachers cheering

By Gerald Dlubala

We know that aluminum bleachers are cost effective, low maintenance, and just plain common sense when it comes to securely and safely providing seating for large crowds.

But bleachers are also extremely versatile when it comes to your particular layout needs, with the ability transform your venue seating from a standard, generic layout into a more customized, specific configuration.

An excellent example of this is the Oakland Coliseum, shared home of the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League and the Oakland Athletics Major League Baseball team.

In the fall, when these two sports overlap and the teams must share the same venue, the use of additional, portable bleachers makes them a “game changer” in the literal sense of the word.

The Oakland Coliseum is the last venue to provide shared use for two unique pro sports teams, and is truly a present day example of the versatility, dependability, and usability that portable bleachers provide in the adaptation of a stadium venue to a specific sport or event.

According to Dave Rinetti, Vice President of Stadium Operations for the Oakland Coliseum, it takes a mere 16-20 hours to completely transform a professional baseball stadium into a professional football stadium. (Here’s a video on how they do it).

This includes signage, lighting scheme, merchandise swap, and the transportation and installation of additional, portable bleachers to change the seating configuration, giving the fans a more intimate and up-close game experience with better sightlines.

aluminum bleachers towed by lawn tractor

Aluminum bleachers towed by lawn tractor

The first step in this transformation is the removal of the outfield wall, panel by panel, to allow unobstructed access to the Coliseum’s parking lot.

There, the portable bleachers are staged and ready to be brought in. With the help of cranes, hoists and pulleys, the bleacher sections are set in place and secured directly behind the end zone, in the area that has come to be affectionately known as The Black Hole.

The Black Hole is traditionally the home to the “craziest and rowdiest” of the Oakland fan base. But without the addition of the extra bleachers, these passionate fans wouldn’t have the opportunity to demonstrate their antics so close to their team and the field of play. These fans are now an important part of the game, and an important home field component for the team.

Additionally, three pitching mounds need to be removed from the field of play and the bullpens. Instead of the old way of digging up the dirt every time they need the mound removed, each pitching mound is constructed on a removable, concrete disc, consisting of 24000 pounds of concrete, dirt, and steel connecting rods.

With help of chains and a lift, the discs are lifted out of the ground like a sewer lid, and then replaced with custom cut, ground leveling sod for the football game.

When you consider the other impression-based changes that must be made, like signage and lighting, you can look to the dual residency of The New York Jets and The New York Giants at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

With around 1100 manual changes that need to be made, the transformation resembles a 2.1 million square foot puzzle that 18 – 26 employees have been given the task of putting together in at most, 24 hours.

Using industrial equipment, the end zones have to be switched out to reflect the proper team logos. Those team specific end zones are made of interlocking trays, 40 per end zone.

The trays weigh in at 2000 pounds per, and are fitted and checked by hand to make sure there are no overlaps or holes.

Over 200 outdoor pole banners, welcoming fans to the game, are switched depending on the team that is hosting on that particular day.

Add in the 25 interior, large wall banners, the team-specific merchandise stocked in the stores, and the team-specific color of the interior and exterior lights, and you can see how these transformations can seem overwhelming.

Yet the purpose is important, and that’s to show the administration, players, and the fans, that this is not only your field, but also your home field. All traces of the sharing team are removed.

Aluminum bleachers that are portable can be used to increase fan participation

This type of home field advantage and team branding isn’t only a professional luxury.

Rowdy, enthusiastic, and high-spirited fans have also been known to inhabit local high schools and middle schools, and in some instances, they rival or exceed the pro fan in their team spirit and energy.

With the smart use of portable aluminum bleachers, you can transform the traditional, generically laid out school fields into venues that are more specifically suited to the activity. You can, and should make the field a true, home field by bringing your home fans to be closer to the action. Doing so breeds enthusiasm, activity, and excitement, for both fans and players.

Adding portable bleachers Creates Seating With Atmosphere In Many Situations

– For use in single field, multiple sport situations, lightweight, portable aluminum bleachers are the perfect solution. Many schools don’t have the luxury of having separate fields for their individual sports teams, having to accommodate multiple sporting events on one field. Using basic landscape equipment like lawn tractors, portable bleachers are easy to maneuver, providing field seating for football, soccer, baseball, etc. They can be moved and positioned closer to the action for a more involved fan experience. You can even be creative and set up unique outfield seating or up close end zone seating for a more upscale, stadium feel.

aluminum bleachers portable 5-row

Aluminum bleachers portable 5-row

– High schools and middle schools having no true home field, instead playing on a shared, community field that is used by other schools and teams. Sharing a community or public field can leave the players, families, and fans feeling distanced from the school they are representing. Strategically placed portable bleachers can transform that field into your field, with specialized fan areas, a place for the school band or boosters to sit, or even an area behind the players dugout or sideline. With more and closer familiar faces and fans, the players will realize the excitement of playing on their own home field.

– Fill the seating gaps when fields need to be split or decreased in size for tournament use or for smaller layout sports, like field hockey and lacrosse. Field specific seating allows better focus on the game and the players that the fans came to see. It will also give the players an extra boost by playing in front of a closer, more vocal and responsive crowd.

– If those same fields are home to some of our future all stars, those little ones participating in instructional leagues, little leagues and peewee leagues, portable bleachers can be positioned so that the kids can play in close proximity to their enthusiastic parents and families. This reassuring atmosphere is exactly what some kids need to build the courage and confidence to join in and have fun playing team sports.

Just like the successful situation in the Oakland Coliseum, portable bleachers allow more fans to come and watch the game. Because they can be positioned in the exact places that you want them in, you are directing the crowd to sit where you want them to sit.

For multiple sports situations, economical and long lasting portable bleachers are easily maneuvered, in a short period of time, to your preferred seating configurations.

And who knows, while maneuvering those portable bleachers in place for your enthusiastic home fans, you may help develop your school’s own Black Hole, the aluminum bleachers that are home to your school’s loudest, rowdiest, most excitable, cheering, superfans.





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This content was contributed by staff at The Park Catalog.

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