“Moneyball,” a film about Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and his unorthodox use of baseball statistics, starred Brad Pitt — and Long Beach State’s Blair Field.
Some of the filming for Columbia Pictures’ “Moneyball” took place at Blair Field and Cal State Long Beach’s Parking Lot 20 for nearly a week in July 2010. Other locations included Fenway Park, O.co Coliseum and Dodger Stadium.
“I believe all of the spring training scenes were filmed at Blair,” said Cameron Ungar, LBSU director of event services and associate general manager of Walter Pyramid. “They also shot in the Blair Field locker room and coach’s office.”
In 1993, the LBSU baseball team officially made Blair Field its home. The facility is considered one of the best amateur baseball fields. Not only has it been home to numerous Big West championship teams, it has also played a number of parts in movies, television shows and commercials.
Despite many entertainment productions that have used Blair Field, including “Space Jam,” “BASEketball” and “Mr. Baseball,” “Moneyball” is one of the largest scale productions to ever grace Blair’s facility.
Ungar said that the school is approached about filming opportunities on a regular basis.
“LBSU is located in the ‘TMZ’ (30-mile zone) so it is convenient and cost-effective for production companies to work on our campus,” he said.
Also called the studio zone, the 30-mile Zone is an area used by entertainment industry unions to determine rates and work rules for their workers. Some of Hollywood’s most prominent studios have called it home.
The process of dealing with and coming to an agreement with a production company that wants to film at a certain location is quite long and arduous, according to Ungar.
“Generally, filming inquiries begin with a call for availability; if the facility is available, a location scout visits and takes pictures,” Ungar said. “The pictures are shown to the director/producer and if they like it a “tech scout” is scheduled.
“When the tech scout arrives, all of the shops and trades visit the facility to figure out what it will take from their respective departments to make the shoot work both artistically and logistically.”
Once this and negotiations have taken place, a contract is executed, and filming can begin.
The film, which grossed $20.6 million in its opening weekend, has brought a considerable amount of attention to LBSU athletics and the university.
“It’s a great thing to talk about when showcasing the department and facility to any interested parties,” Ungar said. “I also think it helps elevate our status as an athletic department in some ways.”
Ungar added: “The first benefit is financial, as filming is a legitimate revenue source for us. There is also a “psychic” benefit for hosting these events. The staff and students get excited to see our involvement in major events and that breeds pride in school and community.”
It certainly isn’t the first time LBSU has been approached in this type of situation, and it probably won’t be the last.