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Oakland A’s to Oakland B’s: Hold your horses

Oakland BallersAn attempt by the Pioneer League’s Oakland B’s to play a 2024 exhibition game at the Oakland Coliseum was quickly rejected by the Oakland A’s, which holds exclusive rights to baseball at the facility.

On the one hand, it was a pretty brilliant move by the Oakland Ballers to schedule a game at the Coliseum: the 2024 season will all be about setting up the expansion team for success in 2025 and beyond, and that success looks to depend mightily on playing at the Coliseum after the A’s depart. (The team will spend 2024 playing at the Laney College Baseball Field, a small facility.)

So playing a game as a promo for the Oakland B’s makes sense. Team ownership went through ASM Global, which manages the Coliseum on behalf of the Coliseum Authority, to rent the Coliseum for a game, signing a contract and putting down a deposit.

Hold on a second, said the A’s–we’re not dead yet. The A’s have exclusive rights to baseball at the Coliseum, which gives them the rights to reject any proposal for other baseball games there. So no late June Oakland B’s game at the Coliseum.

Of course, the future of the Coliseum is far from assured: the site is now half-owned by the A’s, and there are multiple entities eying the facility. USL Championship’s Oakland Roots has pitched a temporary USL Championship stadium in the far reaches of the parking lot–or maybe at the Coliseum if available. And the city has discussed a sports/entertainment complex with the African American Sports and Entertainment Group.

And then there’s the chance the A’s will end up at the Coliseum until a 2028 move to Las Vegas: the city and the team are at odds at the moment, but business considerations have a funny way of healing wounds and bringing compromises. The current Coliseum lease ends after the 2024 season, so much is still up in the air regarding the A’s and the Coliseum.

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