May 10, 2010
SAN FRANCISCO -
Cal director of athletics Sandy Barbour, head football coach Jeff Tedford, and San Francisco Giants president and chief operating officer Larry Baer addressed the media Monday following the announcement that Cal will play its 2011 home football games at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Following are selected comments of what each had to say.
"We are excited today to announce that Cal has reached an agreement with the San Francisco Giants to play our 2011 home games here at AT&T Park while California Memorial Stadium across the Bay in Berkeley in being renovated. This was a process that included mutual interests in all three of the local professional venues, but overall, AT&T offered us the best facility to meet the needs of our fans, our student-athletes and our football program. Because of the gameday amenities offered here, AT&T Park provides a perfect bridge for Cal football and the University of California into the 2012 season, when we will return to Memorial Stadium and the renovated west side project.
"AT&T Park provides phenomenal pregame and postgame opportunities, obviously a beautiful venue located in San Francisco and provides easy access for our East Bay fans; has a staff that is experienced at hosting college football, and obviously the University of California and our football program had a tremendous experience here in the 2008 Emerald Bowl. But I also want to outline very clearly the enthusiastic partnership that has been established here and I want to thank Larry Baer and all of his staff, and everyone involved with the San Francisco Giants and AT&T Park, in welcoming us and making the 2011 season for Cal home football games here at AT&T Park a possibility.
"We're thrilled about the progress that's being made in Berkeley on our renovations on campus and this announcement today and this decision is a big part and a big piece in the puzzle in that renovation. We still have the 2010 season to play in California Memorial Stadium, but making this announcement today allows us to complete all of the logistics that are necessary in order to make the 2011 season here in AT&T Park successful. As well, it allows our fans to make their plans to be with us here in AT&T Park in 2011.
"Again, I'd like to thank Larry and his team for making this possible. We very much look forward to the partnership and look forward to the 2011 season here at AT&T Park."
On why AT&T Park was chosen over the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and Candlestick Park
"There were certainly three venues that there was mutual interest. They all had different positive factors, but certainly AT&T in the end, in terms of proximity to campus, ease of transportation, the fabulous facility, the opportunity for our fans to come into the city, the amenities at the ballpark, all of that really in the end made AT&T the clear choice."
On additional fan activities planned in Berkeley or elsewhere on gameday, taking into consideration that fewer fans can attend the games at AT&T Park compared to Memorial Stadium's capacity
"In terms of our season-ticket holders, we believe that the 45,000 capacity can accommodate our current season-ticket holders. One of the things that absolutely will be reduced is the visiting team allotments as well as the numbers of promotions and those kinds of things we do. Any seats that will go on sale from a single-game standpoint will obviously be at a premium. Once we determine what that overflow is, then I think we can look at what other kinds of activities can satisfy the appetite for Cal football of our fans."
On how logistics such as concessions and the scoreboard will be handled
"All of that was discussed with the Giants in terms of how we will move forward, and I really think it is a true partnership in terms of how the season will go. One of the attractive parts of this was that we would have access to everything that this beautiful stadium has to offer."
On whether decisions have been made regarding where certain sections at Memorial Stadium will be seated during football games at AT&T Park
"We've begun to consider that but at this point, having just solidified this as our venue, I think it would be premature to point those out."
On how long the negotiations took to arrive at this agreement
"We have been talking about this for several years. As it became clear that in the life of our renovation project that we were going to be out a year, we didn't know at that point which year, we certainly started talking, Larry and I personally, about what coming to AT&T might look like. The actual negotiations happened very quickly after we identified that it would be 2011 and identified what our needs would be. So that came together relatively quickly."
"I would just like to reiterate how excited we are about this venue. We had a great experience here two years ago in our victory over Miami in the bowl game. I don't think I talked to one fan that didn't enjoy their experience here. They did a great job of putting the bowl game on here and I know the Giants have been very helpful in this process to have us out, have us look around and have been very helpful through this. I have a lot of confidence that our kids are going to enjoy this atmosphere and this environment. I think this provides us a great home field advantage similar to Memorial Stadium. I know our fans will be excited about this. Like I said before, the bowl game was a great, great experience for our players and our fans. I want to thank Larry again for everything that he's done to allow this to happen. I'd like to thank Sandy for going through the process very professionally as she has done, and we're just happy to be here and looking forward to the 2011 season here. [There is] a lot of work to be done in 2010 before we get there, though."
On the locker rooms at AT&T Park, which were designed for the smaller rosters of baseball teams compared to football teams
"When we played here at the bowl game, it accommodated us very well, so I don't have any concerns about that. It all worked fine, didn't feel cramped or anything, so we feel like the accommodations are fine."
On whether it would make sense to arrange the schedule to have Cal's early games on the road during 2011
"We still have a couple of open dates, which we were waiting for this to happen to kind of solidify those dates and those opponents. And so there are a couple things that are in the works right now that should be taken care of pretty soon. But this is the first step to get that finalized."
"Welcome everybody, and especially welcome to the University of California. Go Bears. We're excited to have Cal football here in 2011, very excited. On behalf of the Giants, this has been something a couple years in the making as the Cal renovations of Memorial Stadium were coming to fruition and the plan was put together. This has been the product of a lot of hard work and we really appreciate the careful due diligence that Sandy and her staff, and Jeff on the football side, have taken to analyze the decision and put together this partnership. I want to thank Sandy, Jeff, Steve Holton, Dave Rosselli and their staffs for all the hard work in putting together this partnership.
"From our standpoint, it's a pairing of two venerable institutions and in many ways, for us, it's a neighborly act. We do not plan on being a football venue, that is, not a long-term, every year, but certainly if we can help out, we can help the University of California in 2011 in a way that allows for a compelling experience, as a football experience, for their fans, as Jeff mentioned, a very good experience when Cal played in the Emerald Bowl. The Emerald Bowl has been a very good experience for the fans and for the teams, I think, every year that's it's been played.
"We believe that this can offer Cal and Cal's fans an intimate experience, a loud experience for football and an exciting experience. This is not unprecedented. I think if you go back, you'll see that the New York stadiums have hosted football over the years when there's been a need for renovation of football stadiums. The New York baseball stadiums - Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium - have done it, and Wrigley Field was the host for the Chicago Bears and football was played there for many, many years. So we're very excited. We, on the scheduling front, we will be honest and there's a possibility in October, and it's not something we would be necessarily disappointed in, that we might have to lose a [Cal football] game or two if the Giants qualify for postseason, but all of that scheduling, obviously, will be determined as we play baseball in 2011. But we will play up to six games of Cal football here in 2011 and we're very excited to do so."
On transforming the field at AT&T Park to accommodate both baseball and football, how long that process takes and how the process will work
"The baseball schedule [for 2011] is not out so we don't know what the turnaround time is, but we do know that we have, with Jorge Costa and our grounds crew, that we have a 24-hour turnaround. If need be, we can do it in 24 hours. We've done it before. We've had some football here before in-season, back in the other professional leagues, the XFL etcetera. So, it can be done in that way. As the league's putting together [the schedule], I believe, for 2011, they will look at this park like they would look at an NFL facility, and they will make scheduling accommodations. But until the schedule is out, we can't say specifically what the turnaround will be, but we believe the league is well aware of the needs and the league will accommodate what we need."
On how the field's configuration will be changed compared to football games of the past
"I believe the major change will be the teams will not share sidelines. There will be sidelines that the opposing teams will face each other literally on opposite sidelines. We'll be adding some bleachers, so it'll be a capacity of 45,000. This was a fix that was done a couple years ago - there will be more space between the [north] end zone and the wall than there had been before. So those are the three major changes."
On how logistics such as concessions and the scoreboard will be handled
"We've seen the plans for the new Memorial Stadium for Cal, and it's our goal to simulate that experience in 2011 so that Cal fans can take a step toward what they will be experiencing in 2012. All the amenities, the concessions and the customer service that we try so hard to do, we're going to make sure is up to par with expectations for the new stadium starting in 2012."
On the history of football being played in Major League Baseball stadiums
"Just in discussions around baseball, Wrigley and the Cubs are actually hosting a Big Ten league game, Northwestern-Illinois, later this year. So baseball parks and big-time college football have a history and I think in certain circumstances it can make sense, and we think this is one where it does make sense."