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Best of 2016: #7, Oakland A’s Ballpark Quest

Coliseum City, Oakland

We end 2016 with a countdown of the 10 biggest stories of the year on Ballpark Digest, as chosen by editors and partially based on page views. Today, #7: The Oakland A’s quest for a new ballpark amid financial pressure from Major League Baseball.

From Major League Baseball’s perspective, when it comes to getting a new stadium built in Oakland, the Athletics have been like a pitcher who stalls for time by constantly throwing to first base.

Now, after securing a new five-year collective bargaining agreement in early December, the league has made it clear to the A’s: It’s time to put the ball in play.

As part of the new CBA, the A’s will see their allotment of annual revenue sharing – reportedly around $35 million  – scaled back dramatically over the course of the next five years, until it is phased out entirely by 2022. The move is clearly intended to jolt the A’s into a greater state of urgency to leave dilapidated Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum and their limited revenue streams and find a new home in the Oakland area.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

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.

To that end, Fisher recently brought in Dave Kaval as team president. Kaval has plenty of experience in the Bay Area in terms of getting professional teams new stadiums, having secured a new facility for the MLS San Jose Earthquakes, for whom Kaval also serves as team president.

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

The A’s stadium search is partly complicated by the status of the Raiders, who are heavily considering moving to Las Vegas. Oakland officials have pitched a redevelopment concept for the Raiders that calls for a new stadium at the Coliseum site, but it has failed to wow NFL and team officials.

While the area surrounding the Coliseum has been not completely ruled out for the the A’s, they are also believed to be looking other sites. The Howard Terminal site, a waterfront location, offers the potential for added development. But the site faces some challenges when it comes to developing adequate parking facilities and creating easy access to public transportation. In addition, the team has also been linked to sites surrounding Laney College.

Previously in our Top Ten Stories of 2016 List:

#8: Rays Continue Ballpark Search

#9: Spring Training Overhauls

#10: Savannah Bananas


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