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Oakland Athletics: Reinventing the Fan Experience and Business Model
Rochlin, Dave
Publication date: 11/1/2019, pages 1-17

This case focuses on the Oakland Athletics, one of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) 30 franchises, in its quest - starting during the 2018 season - to reinvent the fan experience through design thinking and business model innovation. Throughout the franchise’s five decades in Oakland - from original owner Charlie O’ Finley to current head of baseball operations Billy Beane - the A’s have had a history of innovation, both on and off the field, to create championship-caliber teams. Most of this organizational scrappiness has been largely driven by economics Even though the A’s operate in the sixth largest metropolitan market in the U.S., they share the market with its more successful cross-Bay rivals, the San Francisco Giants. The A’s also have one of the smallest payrolls in MLB; occupy the fourth-oldest stadium that is also the last multi-purpose venues in sports; and have seen home attendance and revenue consistently fall below the MLB average for most of its 50 years in Oakland. With plans to build a new ballpark in Oakland by the 2023 season, and faced with declining MLB attendance in general and the loss of a key small market exemption in particular to the A's, Chris Giles, the team's chief operating officer, is challenging long-accepted MLB marketing principles in the hopes of reinventing the fan experience and customer offerings at its present Oakland Coliseum home - with the intention of applying the most successful business innovations at the new ballpark and designing the new facility to best accommodate them.

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