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Oakland Coliseum lease talks reportedly go well: A’s, government officials

Oakland A'sA meeting between Oakland, Alameda County and Oakland A’s officials today reportedly went well, enhancing the chances the team will be able to reach a deal to continue play at the Oakland Coliseum until a new Las Vegas ballpark opens in 2028 or 2029.

When the meeting was first announced this week, we described it as inevitable: at the end of the day, the revenue potential at the Oakland Coliseum–including the team’s fairly decent $67-million deal for broadcast rights with NBC Sports California, which runs through 2034–is more than the A’s could realize at a Minor League Baseball ballpark. Visits to Sutter Health Ballpark in Sacramento and an under-construction facility in South Jordan, Utah, didn’t seem to generate much enthusiasm from anyone involved. Complicating things: The A’s will soon close on their purchase of half of the Coliseum/Arena complex, and although they won’t be involved in day-to-day management, ownership does have some privileges.

What is a little surprising is that after months of invective on both sides, there seems to be a decent level of civility involved–at least in the public statements made by the folks involved. (For the record: the meeting included Oakland chief of staff Leigh Hanson, City Council member Rebecca Kaplan, county supervisor David Haubert and A’s President Dave Kaval.) From the Mercury News:

“It’s a recognition that we all have to work together, we’re all in the same boat to some degree,” Haubert said. “The fact that we had a dialogue, had a positive dialogue, is a good thing. There were no food fights. No backstabbing. No yelling at each other. It’s professional dialogue.”…

“We had a positive meeting with the city and county,” said an A’s spokesperson familiar with Thursday’s meeting. “We look forward to further discussions regarding a lease extension at the Coliseum for the interim period before the Vegas ballpark opens.”

There are some roadblocks, but it’s hard to say if there are large enough to doom a deal. They include stipulations that the A’s just cannot deliver: they can’t promise an expansion franchise to the city, as demanded by Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, which would surely be opposed by the San Francisco Giants ownership. The A’s could leave team marks and club records with an Oakland expansion team, but this seems rather hollow considering the team’s long history in Philadelphia and shorter tenure in Kansas City. And undoubtedly there will be a rent hike past 2024’s $1.2 million lease, though we’re highly dubious of Baseball Twitter claims there are other entities willing to outbid the A’s for the lease. This is the Oakland Coliseum we’re discussing, after all.

The next step: more talks. And, for the A’s, continued work on a new Las Vegas ballpark.

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