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Focus Increases on A’s Ballpark Search

Coliseum City, Oakland

In the aftermath of a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), the Oakland A’s could be left with no choice but to increase their push for a new ballpark. 

Leading up to the finalized CBA between Major League Baseball and the Players Association, reports indicated that the A’s ability to receive revenue sharing funds was in jeopardy. There was apparent dissatisfaction among the union and some owners about the fact that the A’s continued to receive revenue sharing money, while fielding an noncompetitive team at the antiquated Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

One of the main reasons that the A’s had always been eligible for revenue sharing funds was because of their limited revenue streams at the Coliseum. There has been an expectation over the years, however, that the A’s would obtain a new ballpark sooner rather than later, but that has not been the case. Over the course of this year, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has been encouraging the team to seek a new facility in Oakland.

Amidst talk that their revenue sharing funds could drop, the A’s made a series of personnel moves–Lew Wolff stepped down as managing partner, selling most of his shares in the A’s to John Fisher, while Dave Kaval was named team president in place of Michael Crowley. With it now being reported that the A’s will be phased off revenue sharing, the onus is on the team to rectify its ballpark situation sooner rather than later. More from The Mercury News:

As first reported by Fox’s Ken Rosenthal, the A’s will gradually see a diminution of payoffs by the end of the five-year agreement. Oakland’s take from revenue sharing was almost $35 million, so it’s a serious blow.

It’s all the more reason that the A’s need to get a move on securing a new stadium. Both players and owners weren’t happy with the way the A’s, a large market team thanks to being able to draw fans from throughout the Bay Area, weren’t more competitive. The A’s have had consecutive last-place finishes in the American League West.

The A’s knew something like this might be coming, hence the renewed vigor with which majority owner John Fisher is weighing the club’s potential stadium options. He brought in a new club president, Dave Kaval, whose primary goal is to get the A’s in a new facility. Kaval has experience, having recently been the driving force behind a new home for the San Jose Earthquakes.

“That’s the reason they brought Dave in,” one source said. “The A’s needed to show MLB they were serious about getting going on a new stadium.”

One of the areas that looms largest in the ballpark search is the selection of a site. Oakland officials are dangling a plan to keep the Oakland Raiders by building a new stadium at the Coliseum site, which could force the A’s to look elsewhere in the city. Alternatives that have been mentioned in recent months include Howard Terminal, a location near Laney College, and another across Interstate-880 from the school.

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