The University of California at Berkeley has reached an agreement with the San Francisco Giants for Cal's football team to play their home games in 2011 at AT&T Park in San Francisco while its own stadium is being retrofitted and renovated.
Cal's Memorial Stadium, which opened in 1923, is located on top of the Hayward earthquake fault and is being upgraded so it will be more seismically safe. The work is expected to cost $321 million and is scheduled to be completed in 2012. Cal's football team will be able to play its home games at Memorial Stadium this fall but has been looking for an alternate site for 2011.
Cal said its 2011 schedule is not complete and will be released later. The team said it will make a collaborative effort with the San Francisco Giants and Major League Baseball to accommodate both teams' playing requirements during September and October of 2011.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford said in a statement, "We are thrilled to be playing our 2011 home games at AT&T Park."
Tedford said, "The facility is one of the finest sports venues in the world and is located in a nearby and desirable location in San Francisco. It is a terrific setting for college football and our team and fans had a fantastic experience there during the 2008 Emerald Bowl victory against the University of Miami."
He said, "We look forward to our fans helping us create a tremendous home field advantage at AT&T Park in 2011 while enjoying amenities on par with what the renovated Memorial Stadium will feature when we return in 2012."
Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour said, "While our own Memorial Stadium is undergoing much-needed improvements, I believe we have selected the best possible location to support the needs of our players, coaches and fans. Both Cal Athletics and the staff at AT&T Park are committed to work together to make the stadium feel like a true home away from home for the Golden Bears."
Cal officials said one of the advantages of AT&T Park is its proximity to public transportation, as that's an important factor for the football team's fans in the East Bay. Cal Athletics will also provide bus service for Cal students to attend games to help ensure their continued support for the Bears.
The university said sideline bleachers will be added in the baseball outfield and an adjusted field alignment will allow for team benches to be on opposite sides of the field, as opposed to the bowl games, when both teams were on the same side of the field. The capacity for Cal football games at AT&T Park will be just over 45,000.
San Francisco Giants President and Chief Operating Officer Larry Baer said in a statement, "The Giants are honored to welcome Cal football to AT&T Park for the Bears' 2011 season."
Baer said, "The opportunity to have two of the Bay Area's most storied institutions share the same playing field is really exciting and will provide a unique experience for both Giants and Cal fans."
University officials said the retrofit and renovation of Memorial Stadium will create a restored facility that will address existing seismic safety issues, modernize game-day facilities and services and upgrade access for the disabled.
They said preliminary construction activities will begin this summer, which will include moving the football office and athletic training and weight training facilities to temporary quarters adjacent to Witter Rugby Field.