The Oakland Athletics announced on Tuesday that it is considering the possibility of moving with the blessing of Major League Baseball. This could put pressure on local government officials to open a new stadium project that has been pending for years.
The A’s, who have played in Oakland since 1968, prioritized building a waterfront stadium in downtown Oakland at the Howard Terminal location. But after years of failed stadium plans – and weeks after the organization asked the city council to vote on the $ 12 billion mixed-use development before the late July summer break – the long-awaited specter became the A’s considering moving , to a reality on Tuesday.
“The future success of the A depends on a new ballpark,” A owner John Fisher said in a statement. “Oakland is a great baseball city and we will continue to pursue our waterfront ballpark project. We will also follow MLB’s direction to explore other markets.”
The A’s are the only remaining large professional sports team in Oakland after the NBA Golden State Warriors crossed the bay to San Francisco and the NFL Raiders left for Las Vegas. The quest for a new stadium to replace the now 55-year-old RingCentral Coliseum included multiple locations in Oakland, alliances with Fremont and San Jose, and two decades of no groundbreaking character.
The Howard Terminal project, where the A’s proposed to privately fund a $ 1 billion stadium and spend more on development that would include 3,000 units of affordable housing, office and retail space, and a hotel, is the most recent effort and has been seen as the most likely to succeed.
“We hope our really exciting plan for a privately funded waterfront ballpark will be taken up by the city council,” A-President Dave Kaval told The Associated Press on Tuesday – a cross-generational opportunity to redefine the waterfront. We will continue to pursue this and we still hope this is approved, but we have to be realistic about where we are with the schedules. ”
The goal had been to open in 2023, but now, even if it was approved by Oakland City Council this summer, it wouldn’t be ready until 2027.
“We share the urgency of MLB and their continued preference for Oakland. Today’s statement makes it clear that the only viable way to root the A in Oakland is through a waterfront ballpark,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said in a statement Tuesday .
“We have made great strides with the governor’s certification and publication of the EIR. With the recent start of financial discussions with the A, we are calling on our entire community – including regional and local partners – to join forces and support a new, financially viable one , world-class fiscally responsible waterfront neighborhood that enhances our city and region and keeps Oakland A’s where they belong. ”
The athletics proposal in late April is said to include $ 450 million in benefits, $ 955 million in general fund income, and a $ 855 million pledge from the city for infrastructure improvements. Afterward, a spokesman in the mayor’s office said in a statement that the A’s breakdown “appears to encourage public investment at the high end of projects of this type across the country.”
The lease for athletics at the RingCentral Coliseum runs until 2024. Rebuilding the Colosseum’s site, believed by some to be possible, “is not a viable option for the future vision of baseball,” a league statement said.
“MLB is concerned about the progress made in the A-ballpark’s new efforts with local officials and other stakeholders in Oakland,” the statement said. “The A’s have worked very hard over the past four years building a new baseball stadium in downtown Oakland. They have invested significant resources while facing multiple roadblocks. We know they continue to be strong for success in Engage Oakland, and Two Other Sports Franchises Just Left the Community Your commitment to Oakland is more important than ever today.
“The Oakland Coliseum location is not a viable option for the future vision of baseball. We have instructed athletics to explore other markets while continuing to operate a waterfront ballpark in Oakland. Athletics needs a new ballpark to keep it competitive in It is now in our best interest to consider other markets as well. “
While MLB didn’t want to expand, several cities have publicly expressed an interest in a franchise. The most likely option if the A’s are going to move would be Las Vegas, which had success with the NHL Raiders and Golden Knights, but Commissioner Rob Manfred has also cited Portland, Oregon in the past. Vancouver, British Columbia; Nashville, Tennessee; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Montreal as potential expansion locations for franchise companies.
“We’ll keep playing in Oakland until something changes,” A manager Bob Melvin told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s game in Boston. “It’s unfortunate that a couple of teams left. Certainly we don’t want that to happen and I don’t think anything that was said today suggests it’s going to happen. I think there’s MLB and that Organization just a few more. ” Options to look elsewhere, maybe. ”
Athletics has moved twice since the Philadelphia franchise was founded, arriving in Kansas City for the 1955 season and Oakland for the 1968 season.
Only two MLB teams have moved in the last half century: the Washington Senators expansion became the Texas Rangers for the 1972 season, and the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals for the 2005 season.
There were a number of switches in the 1950s and 1960s: the St. Louis Browns became the Baltimore Orioles (1954), the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles in 1958, the New York Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958, the original Washington Senators became the Minnesota Twins (1961) and the Seattle Pilots became the Milwaukee Brewers (1970).
The Braves also moved twice, moving from Boston to Milwaukee for the 1953 season and to Atlanta in 1966.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.