Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Oakland Athletics have unveiled plans to build a gondola that would ease access to their proposed new ballpark.
Including the cable transport system would cost a whopping US$123 million, according to team president Dave Kaval. The structure would be privately financed and would require approval from various state and local agencies.
The A’s announced plans for a new 34,000-seater waterfront ballpark back in November, with Kaval describing the project at the time as ‘bigger than baseball’. He said that the gondola would ideally be ready by 2023, when the stadium is slated to open.
Each gondola cabin would have space for around 30 to 35 passengers. The system would connect the stadium – located on the waterfront at the Howard Terminal site – to downtown Oakland, with each ride lasting approximately three minutes.
The gondola would not be limited to gamedays and would operate daily, with Kaval touting the system as a potential tourist attraction for the North California city.
“This is becoming a more mainstream transit option here in North America,” he said. “In San Francisco, people go to ride the cable car; in Oakland, people could come to ride the gondola. It could become that popular, from a tourist perspective.”
The A’s are the latest MLB franchise to float the idea of building a gondola to enhance the fan experience at their ballpark, with both the LA Dodgers and Washington Nationals expected to launch their own gondola operations to help spectators approach the gates.