IN THANKFUL MEMORY
OF THOSE CALIFORNIANS
WHO IN THE WAR OF NATIONS
GAVE THEIR ALL
THAT WE MIGHT
Cal football to temp at AT&T Park
John Crumpacker, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
In a three-park race, AT&T was an easy winner over Candlestick and the Oakland Coliseum when it came time for California to find a football home for 2011, while aging Memorial Stadium is being retrofitted and renovated to 21st century standards.
The university reached an agreement with the Giants to play six home games at China Basin next year, deciding the baseball park fit its football needs for a one-year hiatus from Berkeley.
"Overall, AT&T offers us the best facility to meet the needs of our football program, students and fans," athletic director Sandy Barbour said Monday in a news conference on the field at the park. "AT&T provides a perfect bridge for Cal football to the 2012 season, when we return to Memorial Stadium. It provides easy access for our East Bay fans. It has a staff used to hosting college football."
Candlestick and the Coliseum were considered, Barbour said, but had more negatives than positives. Candlestick is the farthest facility from Berkeley and does not have convenient public transportation. The Coliseum provided the scheduling complication of two permanent tenants, the A's and Raiders.
"We've been talking about this for several years," Barbour said. "As it became clear we were going to need to be out (of Memorial Stadium) for a year, we started talking, Larry (Baer) and I, about what coming to AT&T would look like. It came together relatively quickly."
Like Barbour, Giants president Baer said Cal's playing at AT&T in 2011 would serve as a bridge for the team and its fans.
"We feel we'd be the best park to provide that bridge to the new stadium," said Baer, a Cal graduate. "As a neighborly act, we think this makes sense for both partners."
The Bears will play six home games in AT&T in 2011: against Oregon State on Sept. 24, Washington State on Oct. 15, Arizona on Oct. 29 and USC on Nov. 12, with two dates yet to be filled.
The university will pay rent to the Giants for the home games. Financial details of the arrangement were not available because a contract between the school and the club has not yet been signed.
The only potential complication is if the Giants reach the postseason in 2011 and have an extended playoff run. That would necessitate another alternative playing site for the Bears.
"There's a possibility in October that we may have to lose a (Cal football) game or two if the Giants qualify for the postseason," Baer said. "We will play up to six games of Cal football here in 2011."
Cal will take a hit on attendance as the China Basin ballpark seats 45,000 for football compared with 71,000 at Memorial Stadium, but the game-day experience for players and fans could be enhanced by a more intimate setting, school officials said.
Bears coach Jeff Tedford was enthused about the one-year foray to AT&T, based on the positive experience the Bears had playing there in the 2008 Emerald Bowl, a 24-17 victory over Miami.
"I'm very, very happy about coming to a place that's so familiar to us," Tedford said. "It felt like home. Such a classy place. I think our kids are going to get jacked up about playing here."
Tedford said the only negative about the bowl game was having both teams on the same side of the field. That won't be the case in 2011, as teams will be on opposite sidelines of a football field stretching from the first-base line to left-center field.
Barbour said Cal's 38,000 season ticket holders will be accommodated at AT&T, although the exact seating arrangements have yet to be made. Barbour said fans who purchased tickets in the school's Endowment Seating Program for Memorial Stadium will have access to the best seats at AT&T, including chair-back seats on the park's west side.
AT&T has been the site of a postseason college football bowl - formerly the Emerald Bowl, now known as Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - since 2003 and has hosted games in two pro football leagues, the now-defunct XFL and the UFL.
CAL TO BE READY FOR KICKOFF
April 26, 2012
Copyright 2012 MediaVentures
Berkeley, Calif. - University of California athletic director Sandy Barbour expects a smooth
opening in time for the Sept. 1 football opener against Nevada following a $321 million renovation and seismic retrofit of Memorial Stadium.
The San Jose Mercury News said the new 63,000-seat facility will be ready to go, she said, "barring some kind of natural disaster." Every seat figures to be occupied.
Officials confirmed that the crew of 300 is on pace to complete all the necessary work. Cal will return to its home field after one season at AT&T Park and 89 years after Memorial Stadium originally opened as a tribute to World War I veterans.
"It's going to be a little rough on the edges," said Cal's assistant athletic director of capital planning & management, Bob Milano, explaining that not all finishing touches will be complete. "But our fans will enjoy being back in Strawberry Canyon."
A recent tour of the stadium - and its companion facility, the $153 million Simpson Student-Athlete High Performance Center - provided an in-depth look at a complex transformation. A 21Ú2 -level outdoor facility has become an eight-level structure. A modern gameday experience will be available in a structure that still has historic feel of its 1923 origin, the newspaper said.
An aesthetic priority for Cal was preserving the Neo-Roman facade, a key element in Memorial Stadium being added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. That was achieved by stripping off previous coats of paint and applying a mineral stain that simulates the original off-white-to-gray tone.
Inside, the facility will include stadium clubs for season-ticketholders, improved restrooms, concessions and circulation flow in the concourses, a modern two-level pressbox and a new Hall of Fame that stretches 100 yards along the lowest level.
The new building was constructed behind the original wall and designed to meet modern earthquake standards for a structure that sits atop the Hayward fault. Several types of seismic technology were employed, including a system that allows the building to slide as much as six feet horizontally in the event of a quake.
"Instead of trying to fight the movement of the ground, it just kind of goes along with the ride," said Rene Vignos, a principal with Forell/Elsesser structural engineers.