Last week, the Shock announced a venue change for their first homestand weekend on March 28-29. Their “First Arrival” weekend has been moved from the historic Cow Palace to Zellerbach Hall at the University of California at Berkeley. Here are some pros and cons of the move, as well as an update to the Homestand Report.
Goodbye, Cow Palace
Despite the historic relevance of the Cow Palace, hosting the first-ever Shock homestand there was ambitious to say the least. The arena could hold 11,000 people for sporting events, and up to 16,000 during concerts. They say “go big or go home,” but this arena might have been too big for the initial foray into localization. The 2019 homestands saw great crowds and so did the Grand Finals in Philadelphia, but it’s hard to know what to expect for turnouts in a season of solely homestands.
Cow Palace is right off Highway 101, allowing fairly easy access by car, but has little in the way of public transportation to the venue. The Palace was a charming location to be sure, but maybe not the most ideal for this event. However, everyone that has already purchased tickets will be given equivalent tickets for the new site.
Hello, Zellerbach Hall
The Shock’s website states that this venue is the location they had dreamed about for their fans, so they are excited to have officially booked it. Located on the Cal Berkeley campus, it is a more intimate space with a 2000-seat auditorium. While this seems much smaller than the Cow Palace, the seating area remains around the same size, as the ticket map showed much of the arena being closed off for seating.
Being on the campus of Berkeley is a huge upgrade for the team and the homestand experience. The hall provides for a much better viewing experience for the fans, with viewing angles more suited for an event like this. The venue itself is much more accessible due to the Bay Area Rapid Transit system located nearby. Not only does this allow easier access, but also is a sensible move if they are selling beer in the stands so people do not necessarily have to drive home.
Having the Zellerbach as the home for ShockFest should work in the team’s favor in the long run too. A partnership with Cal will go a long way, especially due to the flourishing esports programs and community on the campus. One can expect an incorporation of that into the homestand, as they have some of the premier Hearthstone, League of Legends and Super Smash Bros. teams in the country, among other esports. This presence and the surrounding community will make this event electric for the Shock, as interest should be through the roof and they should have little problem selling most if not all the tickets.
Even though the Cow Palace has much more historic presence in the San Francisco sports world, the move to Zellenbach Hall makes complete sense for the team. The accommodations are more fitting for this type of event, and the esports presence around Cal Berkeley should make this into an incredible weekend for all.
Featured image courtesy of San Francisco Shock Twitter.
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