Cal will spend the upcoming 2010 football season in Memorial Stadium before major construction begins after the team's final home game, and the Bears will return to campus for the 2012 campaign. Cal's 2011 schedule is not yet complete and will be released at a later date. A collaborative effort will be made with the San Francisco Giants and Major League Baseball to accommodate both teams' playing requirements during September and October.
"We are thrilled to be playing our 2011 home games at AT&T Park," Cal football coach Jeff Tedford said. "The facility is one of the finest sports venues in the world and is located in a nearby and desirable location in San Francisco. It is a terrific setting for college football and our team and fans had a fantastic experience there during the 2008 Emerald Bowl victory against the University of Miami. We look forward to our fans helping us create a tremendous home field advantage at AT&T Park in 2011 while enjoying amenities on par with what the renovated Memorial Stadium will feature when we return in 2012."
Many members of the Cal team and staff already have familiarity with San Francisco's AT&T Park, as the Bears defeated Miami (Fla.), 24-17, in the 2008 Emerald Bowl to complete a 9-4 campaign. AT&T Park has been the site for the bowl game - now called the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl - since 2003, and the facility has also hosted professional football games in the XFL and UFL, as well as the East-West Shrine Game.
"I am excited to say that we will play our 2011 football games at AT&T Park, one of our country's premier athletic venues," Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour said. "While our own Memorial Stadium is undergoing much-needed improvements, I believe we have selected the best possible location to support the needs of our players, coaches and fans. Both Cal Athletics and the staff at AT&T Park are committed to work together to make the stadium feel like a true home away from home for the Golden Bears."
Although the Bears and their fans will be at a different location for one season, AT&T Park will provide a host of modern amenities to enjoy, much of it similar to what they will have in the renovated Memorial Stadium. In addition, one of the primary advantages of AT&T Park is its proximity to public transportation, an important factor for Cal's fans in the East Bay. Cal Athletics will also provide bus service for Cal students to attend games to help ensure their continued support for the Bears.
Sideline bleachers will be added in the baseball outfield and an adjusted field alignment will allow for team benches to be on opposite sides of the field (as opposed to the bowl games when both teams were on the same side of the field). Capacity for Cal football games at AT&T Park will be just over 45,000.
"The Giants are honored to welcome Cal football to AT&T Park for the Bears' 2011 season," said Larry Baer, Giants president and chief operating officer. "The opportunity to have two of the Bay Area's most storied institutions share the same playing field is really exciting and will provide a unique experience for both Giants and Cal fans."
The $321 million retrofit and renovation of Memorial Stadium will create a restored facility that will address existing seismic safety issues, modernize gameday facilities and services, and upgrade access for the disabled. Preliminary construction activities will begin this summer, which will include moving the football office and athletic training and weight training facilities to temporary quarters adjacent to Witter Rugby Field. Funding for the interest and principal payments associated with construction financing for the stadium will come out of the Intercollegiate Athletics operating budget, which will be enhanced by revenues generated from and returns on the investment of proceeds from Endowment Seating Program (ESP) sales, future philanthropic contributions to the project as well as revenue generated by new sponsorship opportunities.
ESP makes available long-term rights to approximately 3,000 seats in Memorial Stadium (less than 5 percent of total capacity) and will create an endowment that will provide long-term stability for the Athletic Department's budget while funding the annual operating needs for Cal's more than 800 student-athletes. To date, donors have made commitments for nearly 1,700 of the ESP seats.
Cal season-ticket holders can take advantage of securing the best seats in AT&T Park by participating in ESP. Fans who sign up by June 30 will be guaranteed chairback seats on the west side of AT&T Park and, as a special offer, receive complimentary bowl tickets, should the Bears earn a berth, for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. For more information, visit CalESP.com or call (510) 642-2427.
Since opening its gates in 2000, AT&T Park has become internationally-renowned as a premier venue in the world of both sports and entertainment. AT&T Park was chosen as the 2008 Sports Facility of the Year by Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily as part of the inaugural Sports Business Awards program. More than 32 million spectators have watched baseball games at the stadium over the past 10 years, highlighted by the Giants appearance in the 2002 World Series and the 78th Major League Baseball All-Star Game in 2007. AT&T Park has also played host to some of music's biggest acts, including the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band, and Green Day.