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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Cal Football -- It's Not Free Anymore

Posted By on Tue, Aug 2, 2011 at 1:50 PM

click to enlarge The best band money can buy ... - VANCE CARDELL
  • Vance Cardell
  • The best band money can buy ...

Those who used to "attend" U.C. Berkeley football games by decamping on aptly named Tightwad Hill could delude themselves into believing there were bigger reasons for eschewing stadium seating than free entry, your own booze, and your own ... other stuff.

Memorial Stadium, famously, sits directly atop the exposed Hayward Fault. Two of its sections resemble a broken collarbone, and are moving away from one another. This sort of casual flirtation with disaster seems more akin to something one would witness on a small Greek isle in the shadow of a volcano -- not a university town inhabited by litigious American NIMBYs.

Heading off the Big One while Memorial is gutted and retrofitted, Cal will this year play at AT&T Park -- a spectacular venue for football, and one where the chances of perishing in an earthquake don't exceed the Bay Area's daily norms. Still, when you get a gander at ticket prices, it's hard not to lament for the good ol' days atop Tightwad Hill.

Gaining entry to a Cal game this year -- for those who aren't students or recent enough grads to still resemble their college IDs -- is going to cost a pretty penny.

You won't get into the season opener vs. Fresno State at Candlestick Park -- laughingly referred to as a "neutral site" -- for less than $40.

Attending the five games at AT&T can't be done for less than $65 per contest or $225 for the season. That $65 game, incidentally, is vs. Presbyterian College -- perhaps Cal's softest opponent of all time. Seats for games against conference opponents Washington State and Oregon State might also be had for that total, but you're shelling out $85 to see USC or Utah.

Watching Cal for free last year -- while under the influence of various chemicals -- was taxing enough. Paying good money to do so within the confines of a stadium rather than a hilltop bacchanalia may grow wearisome by midseason.

As far as the team's outlook, hope always springs eternal prior to opening day. For aging alums' financial outlook, however, the prognosis is decidedly grim.   

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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