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Chris Giles steps down as Oakland A’s chief operating officer

Chris Giles has abruptly stepped down as the chief operating officer of Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics to create his own business venture, Greenfield Sports Group.

“We thank Chris for his contributions to the A’s and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” A’s president Dave Kaval said in a brief, two-sentence statement from the club.

Giles joined the A’s in 2017 following a spell as an executive with the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers. He played a key role in engaging and expanding the team’s fanbase, including launching the innovative, membership-based A’s Access ticketing plan, which led in large part to the team’s average attendance rising from 19,427 in 2018 to 20,521 in 2019. The A’s ticketing initiative has also helped spur innovation in the space among other MLB clubs.

He tweeted following the surprise announcement: “I’d like to thank [A’s owner] John Fisher, @davekaval, the incredibly talented and hard working @athletics front office team, and all of the green and gold faithful for an amazing 3 years. Love you all!!!”

Giles’s departure comes amid the A’s ongoing efforts to find a new stadium solution in Oakland to replace the badly outdated Oakland Coliseum, which includes a complex two-pronged plan to open new ballpark at Howard Terminal.

Giles intends Greenfield Sports Group to aid in the creation of membership-based ticketing programs for other sports teams, including the development of software to manage those programs.

Read this: Two-site ballpark plan gives Oakland A’s new hope in long-running facility search