As expected, the Oakland A’s and the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority agreed to a 10-year O.co Coliseum lease extension, with Bud Selig calling it crucial in keeping the Athletics in Oakland.
Athletics managing partner Lew Wolff announced the deal, which had been in the works for several weeks and still faces (an expected) approval from the authority, city of Oakland and Alameda County Board of Supervisors. It’s widely seen as a concession that the future of the A’s — old ballpark and new — lies with Oakland and the Coliseum management. The 10-year lease is pretty standard: the A’s took control of Coliseum concessions (with Ovations contracted to provide them) and will continue that arrangement, but the rent will more than double. The A’s will also have an out clause should the Coliseum’s Joint Powers Authority come to an agreement for a new Oakland Raiders stadium. The A’s will also have the power to buy out the remainder of a lease should a new-ballpark agreement be made with another city, such as San Jose, but at the moment that clause is academic, as MLB has not granted the team permission to move.
And while Wolff and Selig both reiterated that a waterfront site near Jack London Square was not in the cards, they did stress the team’s future was in Oakland. The following statement was issued by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig:
“I commend the Oakland Athletics and the JPA for their efforts in reaching an extension for a lease at O.co Coliseum. The agreement on this extension is a crucial first step towards keeping Major League Baseball in Oakland.
“I continue to believe that the Athletics need a new facility and am fully supportive of the club’s view that the best site in Oakland is the Coliseum site. Contrary to what some have suggested, the committee that has studied this issue did not determine that the Howard Terminal site was the best location for a new facility in Oakland.”
During the many years of discussing the Oakland A’s and future ballpark plans, one fact was usually ignored: that Selig and the rest of the MLB leadership will a) be amazingly patient and b) give a city every chance possible to keep a team. Oakland has met the criteria set forth by Selig in finding potential ballpark sites, and while the downtown waterfront site appears to be dead, a ballpark somewhere on the existing Coliseum complex footprint is very much alive.
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