© Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
The city of Oakland has seen two teams depart in the last two years. In 2019, the Warriors moved across the Bay to San Francisco, and last year, the Raiders completed their move to Las Vegas. Now, Major League Baseball and the A’s are threatening that Oakland could soon be without its last remaining franchise.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, the A’s are examining options for a potential relocation, which hinges entirely on the construction of a new, proposed stadium at Howard Terminal. The news comes, according to Passan, as talks for a new stadium have come to a standstill.
The following is a statement from A’s owner John Fisher:
“The future success of the A’s depends on a new ballpark. Oakland is a great baseball town, and we will continue to pursue our waterfront ballpark project. We will also follow MLB’s direction to explore other markets.”
A mid-April statement from the City, in response to the proposal, which the A’s say would include, “$450 million in community benefits, $955 million in general-fund revenues and an $855 million commitment from the city for infrastructure improvements,” suggests the burden on the city would be too high in comparison to similar projects.
A spokesperson from the mayor’s office said the following:
“The City is willing to bear its resources to help make this vision a reality; however, today’s proposal from the A’s appears to request public investment at the high end of projects of this type nationwide.”
While the A's have expressed that remaining in Oakland and building a $12 billion mixed-use development is their priority, the standstill of the project prompted today's move. The leading contender if the A's do move: Las Vegas. Plenty of other cities would welcome the team, too.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 11, 2021
It is clear at this juncture, that if the city and the A’s cannot agree on a new project, the threat of Oakland being left team-less, is very much real. MLB issued its own statement, saying that the Oakland Coliseum is not a viable option for the future of the A’s and a new stadium is necessary to keep the team in Oakland.
“MLB is concerned with the rate of progress on the A’s new ballpark effort with local officials and other stakeholders in Oakland,” the statement said. “The A’s have worked very hard to advance a new ballpark in downtown Oakland for the last four years, investing significant resources while facing multiple roadblocks. We know they remain deeply committed to succeeding in Oakland, and with two other sports franchises recently leaving the community, their commitment to Oakland is now more important than ever.
“The Oakland Coliseum site is not a viable option for the future vision of baseball. We have instructed the Athletics to begin to explore other markets while they continue to pursue a waterfront ballpark in Oakland. The Athletics need a new ballpark to remain competitive, so it is now in our best interest to also consider other markets.”