Sitting hard by the I-880 amidst factories, warehouses and other blue-collar type facilities,
the Network Associates Coliseum was opened in 1968 to serve as the home of the NFL
Raiders and the newly relocated Athletics. Also, this facility is part of a sports complex that
is home to the New Arena at Oakland, home to pro basketball?s (in theory) Golden State
Warriors. The Raiders left following the 1981 season for Los Angeles and then returned in
1995 after an extensive renovation was done to bring the venue up to more modern
standards. What was opened as a multipurpose stadium in the 60?s now stands as strange
mix of seating designed for football and some for baseball, yet does not appear to serve
either sport particularly well.
Outside the venue
Plenty of parking sits in the huge lots surrounding the facility and getting there is not a
problem as the Nimitz Freeway runs alongside this complex. Getting here by train is also
very easy as there is a BART rapid transit station across the street from the venue with a
pedestrian overpass connecting the station and venue. If you are coming here from this
walkway you are greeted by two huge banners of the home tenants of the coliseum. In the
area between the Arena and Coliseum is a monument dedicated to those who helped in
returning the Raiders to their original home in 1995. Plush landscaping nicely spruces up
the exterior of this facility. Unlike Dodger Stadium, tailgating is permitted, however there
was not much to be found at this sparsely attended Thursday matinee.
If you are searching for a great sports bar or some type of entertainment area near the
Coliseum you will be greatly disappointed. We did find one semi-respectable place that
seems like it never left the 70's and a strip of fast food joints, all a few blocks away.
Otherwise, not much else.
Being an older facility the concourses are rather narrow. However with the smaller crowd
on hand we had no problems making our way around the facility. The lower concourse
offers a view of the field from many vantage points and there are plenty of concessions
and merchandise stands both permanent and temporary on either side. There are ramps
that transport people to the upper level, but one can also get from lower to club to upper
level simply by walking up the stairs one would use to get to any particular section
In the club level there are two restaurants, the West Side Club and the East Side Club. We
wandered into the West Side Club and found a restaurant and bar with loads of A's and
Raiders memorabilia everywhere along the walls. Near here is an Oakland Sports Hall of
Fame with the plaques of many former Oakland sports greats that either wore an Oakland
jersey or native to the Oakland area. Opposite this are some photos of past Raider glory.
In the newer concourse built in 1995 the walking space is much wider, yet since this area
was sparsely populated on this afternoon we didn't spend much time in this area. In
general, the concourses as a whole were somewhat gray, dingy, dimly lit, and lacked color.
Quite a wide variety of food and drink to be found here at the ?Net, which was a big
improvement over what was witnessed by us at Dodger Stadium. Peter, who never met a
pretzel he didn't enjoy, got a real kick out of cinnamon flavored pretzels with apple filling
inside the pretzel itself. Even a stand run by a Black Muslim organization, though we
couldn''t remember what they had to offer. The brats and sausages are large and filling,
the area staple - garlic fries, is on the menu, and the assortment of food is pretty good. The
concessions here are definitely one of the finer points of this venue. Team merchandise
stores are scattered throughout the main concourse with a fairly good assortment of
The Coliseum has the classic three level seating setup with a large lower and upper level
and a smaller seating area in between. Being built in 1968, this facility employs the circular
"cookie cutte"? style of seating design surrounding the playing surface basically from foul
pole to foul pole. Sixty four suites(they are clearly numbered on the windows) sit between
the second and third deck. This venue originally had this circular seating design going the
full circumference with only a single deck behind the outfield fences. However, when the
Raiders returned here in 1995 the outfield seats were gutted and replaced with state of the
art seating with two levels of suites and another three levels of outdoor seating that
certainly is designed for football and as a result has created a bizarre mishmash of football
and baseball seating. It kind of reminded us of when we were in Raleigh for a NHL
Hurricanes game where two sports teams share a venue and the place really doesn?t have
the feel of being either a hockey or basketball arena but a strange mix of the two.
As is the trend in baseball, there is also some premium seating behind home plate.
Two jumbotron scoreboards sit above the left field and right field stands at right about the
point where the endzones are located for football.
On the outfield fence are murals of Athletics uniforms honoring Rollie Fingers and the late
Jim "Catfish" Hunter and a man named Haas along with a sign celebrating the A's 2000
Division title. Also on one of the balconies are the names of great players from and titles
won by the A's throughout the 100 years of their existence. We couldn't figure out
whether the players listed were also retired numbers, yet we sensed otherwise after
seeing more recent names such as Rickey Henderson and Mark McGwire.
We had the best baseball seats on the USRT location wise here in Oakland. Just seven
rows off the field just to the 3rd base side of the net behind the plate. Thirty five for the
pair from your basic unauthorized ticket vendor just off Coliseum grounds. Not too shabby.
To help bring fans to more games, the A's have a special promotion in which upper deck
seats go for just one dollar!! This promo occurs for selected Wednesday night events at
the Coliseum. Gotta wonder how the A's are going to find the money to resign Giambi with
that kind of a deal yet it sure is great for the fans.
Just as in the arena across the parking lot, this place is an older venue that underwent
major renovations to modernize the facility and help to create more revenue for its
tenants. And again just like the arena as well as other places where this was done, we
came away thinking they may be better off with a completely new facility built from scratch
instead. There have been some plans tossed around for a new yard in Santa Clara, but
plans remain just that for now. In the meantime the 'Net is a nice place, maybe not mind
blowing yet a sturdy, if not eye pleasing and inexpensive place to see Major League
Baseball. Basically a place that is definitely Oakland - tough, sturdy, blue collar, and does
what is asked of it without the flash and pizzazz of its neighbor across the bay.
Fan Support 5
Concourses/fan comfort 4
Bonus: Cheap tickets 1