By Eric Walker,
A long time rumored deal has finally been announced as the Sacramento River Cats have signed a contract to be the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants for the next two years. Interest is high because of the Giant’s recent success in leading the World Series against the Kansas City Royals 3-2.
The River Cats had 607,839 people attend the games this year according to Baseball-Reference.com, so the move is not about increasing attendance but expanding the popularity of the River Cats.
“When it comes to name recognition and marketing power, the Oakland A’s [the River Cats’ former affiliate] are no match for the Giants in Northern California,” said Mark Kreidler, host of the ‘Rise Guys’ on ESPN 1320.
“Although it, may seem harsh to change affiliations based on name recognition and marketing power it makes good business sense,” Kreidler said.
The River Cats are a fun team to watch no matter if the A’s or Giants are affiliated to them, according to A’s fan Vikram Singh. Singh is disappointed the A’s left the River Cats but is happy that the Giants are now affiliated with the River Cats.
Davis High Science teacher and Oakland A’s fan David Van Muyden sees a lot more people on campus wearing Giants gear due to their popularity so they may go to more games now that the River Cats are affiliated with the team they support.
Using data provided to them by Facebook, The New York Times was able to create a map of baseball teams each ZIP code favored. The map shows that the Oakland A’s are less popular than the Giants everywhere in Northern California, so being affiliated to the Giants will “draw more buzz leading to increased ticket sales and merchandise sales, “ Kreidler said.
“I am more excited to go to the games now than when they were affiliated with the A’s,” senior Max Williams said.
The River Cats have been able to draw a little more than 8,000 fans out to every game despite the A’s being less popular than the Giants according to the Pacific Coast League.
Raley Field where the River Cats play is a great venue for everyone and many people bring their kids to the games. DHS Social Studies teacher Kristin Swanstrom, a Giants fan, will go to more games with her children because she would much rather see minor leaguers from the team she roots for instead of the A’s.
Attendance will rise even higher for the River Cats now, according to Singh and Williams.
The River Cats have been affiliated with the A’s for almost 15 years, which is very uncommon in professional baseball and according to Kreidler it will be painful for long time fans to see the River Cats affiliated with the Giants.