11 Oct 2016

Transforming a Field from MLB to NFL – How Portable Bleachers Can Change Any Stadium

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oakland coliseum

Oakland Coliseum where seating is re-arranged for football and baseball games.

There’s only one stadium left that regularly converts a Major League Baseball field into an NFL field with aluminum bleachers and all—the Oakland Coliseum, which houses both the Oakland Athletics and the Oakland Raiders. Most of the year, sharing the stadium isn’t a hassle, but during the fall, when NFL pre-season and early season games are kicking off and MLB is wrapping up their summer season, grounds crews work a tireless 16-20 hours transforming the fields between games.

In the past, there has been as little as 24 hours between the end of one game and the beginning of another, making the transformation at Oakland Coliseum a very tight window.

Time lapse videos showing the transformation are incredible. The sun sets and rises, but crews continue moving bleachers, swapping signage, and removing pitching mounds. The design of the pitching mounds is carefully thought out, with each mound constructed on a removable concrete disc weighing 24,000 pounds. Using chains and a lift, the mounds are lifted out of the ground and replaced with custom-cut sod.

When the mounds and infield dirt are re-installed for baseball, they have to be perfectly placed to make the ground even. An uneven field makes it difficult for the players, although it may be a slight home-field advantage since Oakland Athletics players are accustomed to the change.

The Raiders are considering a move to a new stadium in Las Vegas, but that wouldn’t happen until 2019. A significant amount of funding and policies have to fall into place to make the move in the first place. Until then, the Raiders will continue sharing the Oakland Stadium with the Athletics.

An essential part of the Oakland Stadium’s ability to easily switch back and forth between sports is their use of portable bleachers, which are brought in using cranes, hoists, and pulleys. These are installed in the east side of the field, making the biggest change that the stadium undergoes. The bleachers require laying plywood to protect the grass, carrying sections of bleachers through the center-field tunnel, and hoisting them into place. The entire process takes 45 workers around 12 hours.

Without installing portable bleachers, the Raiders would not be able to fill what’s known as The Black Hole behind the end zone. This section is where the rowdy, loud fans sit, so it is essential for helping the Raiders play at their best.

If the Raiders can relocate massive aluminum bleachers, so can local high schools and middle schools

portable aluminum bleachers

Portable aluminum bleachers can be moved strategically to different fields or parts of a field.

The same is true on a smaller scale at local middle school or high school sporting events. School or community fields are used for a huge variety of sports and events, which means seating needs to be versatile. Portable bleachers are easy to move and install in different locations as needed—many can be hauled using a driving lawn mower or similar available equipment.

Using portable aluminum bleachers, it’s easy to install the bleachers close to the action to improve the audience’s view, face bleachers in opposite directions to provide a natural split when two games are happening at once, or remove and store the bleachers during the off-season to protect them from weather damage.

Portable aluminum bleachers are sophisticated enough for the big leagues, while also affordable and easy enough for younger players.

If you are interested in portable aluminum bleachers at your facility’s next sporting event, consider checking out some from AluminumBleachers.com.

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