I walked down to Pier 48 on this rainy morning because there was a media event announcing a new Anchor Brewing facility at the Mission Rock site across the cove from AT&T Park. Besides a damp backpack and some photos, the main thing I took away was how in this age of gigantic TV contracts, the Giants are experts at making incredible amounts of money from the in-person experience.
The Giants’ marketing department takes a lot of ribbing, but you have to give them credit for knowing their audience. From panda hats to closers in gnome form, they know what their fans like. And the money made through souvenir sales pales in comparison to the dough that rolls in from food and beverage purchases.
However, up to this point most of the Giants’ gameday moneymaking has occurred inside AT&T Park. Starting in 2016, the Giants and Anchor Brewing Company will look to draw fans west of King Street, away from places like Momo’s, Paragon, Pedro’s Cantina and Zeke’s (especially Zeke’s, since that place is a no-good Packers bar). Anchor’s new facility will allow the company to increase their production from 180,000 barrels to 680,000 barrels annually, according to the information in the press packet. The new Pier 48 site will also include a restaurant, museum and educational facility.
In other words, the fans can come by and drink Anchor Steam and eat bar food in the hours leading up to the point where they head back over Lefty O’Doul Bridge and drink Anchor Steam and eat ballpark food. Since Giants fans love pregame consumption options, they’re fairly excited over the prospect of a San Francisco institution providing another spot so close to park that should feature a pretty choice view of the Bay Bridge.
It’s a great thing to hold a media event around, because fans like beer and food. The rest of the Mission Rock development is less about the fans and more about making money:
In case you don’t want to watch Larry Baer speak, the gist of this video is the Anchor facility is only about 5% of the square footage of the Mission Rock project. The rest will consist of more than eight acres of parks and open space (“Sort of this side of town, miniature version of Chrissy Field,” according to Baer.), between 650 and 1,500 residential units, up to 1.7 million square feet of office space, a parking structure “to accommodate ballpark visitors,” and “about 250,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, and public amenities,” including the Anchor brewpub.
The Giants are one of those lucky businesses that builds loyalty and public equity the more successful they are, both on the field and financially. Not surprisingly, the Giants believe those two areas are intertwined.
The new project is a chance not only to guide development of its next-door neighbor, but also to inject some cash into the team’s coffers, as Giants President and CEO Larry Baer freely admitted when he unveiled the plans for the project last April.
“We’ve been very open about the fact that for the Giants, we need to create revenue,” he said at the AT&T Park event. “Players aren’t getting any cheaper.”
It’ll be interesting to see if Anchor charges ballpark prices at the brewpub; I would imagine not, considering they won’t have a monopoly on pregame beer and food consumption.
Anchor has been giving tours on weekdays by reservation only at their Portrero Hill facility (which they said they’ll keep using) for as long as I can remember. I’ve heard good things and have always wanted to go, but since I usually try to stay moderately productive on weekdays (stop snickering, it’s kind of true) and making a reservation requires planning and scheduling, I’ve never taken the tour. Maybe with this new facility I’ll get a chance to finally do so, although I’m thinking this place might get a bit crowded during baseball season.
Also, I took a few photos while I was out there (and scanned a few from the media materials).