- Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics are likely getting a new stadium — the question is if it will be in Oakland, California, or if the team will leave the city and the aging Oakland Coliseum behind.
- The team has pushed for building a waterfront ballpark downtown at Howard Terminal (pictured above) for three years, ESPN reported, but years of planning have failed to come to fruition. The decision to possibly relocate became public when the organization requested the city council vote on the $12 billion mixed-use development.
- The potential move comes with the approval of the league. On May 11, the team's Twitter account released a statement from MLB, saying, "The Oakland Coliseum site is not a viable option for the future vision of baseball. We have instructed the Athletics to begin to explore other markets." According to the city council, that statement misrepresents where the Howard Terminal negotiations stand.
Should they depart, the Athletics would be the third major Oakland sports franchise to relocate from the community recently. The NBA's Golden State Warriors crossed the bay to San Francisco and the NFL's Raiders moved to Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
The Athletics have threatened to leave the 55-year-old Oakland Coliseum — which the team used to share with the Raiders — on many occasions.
On April 23, A's President Dave Kaval released a development agreement term sheet — the financial offer for the Oakland City Council to review and vote on. The plans provided some details on the Howard Terminal ballpark, including:
- A $1 billion, privately financed, state-of-the-art ballpark on Oakland's waterfront.
- Fully funded on-site projects through private financing and project-generated revenues, including public parks, protection against sea level rise and environmental remediation.
- A commitment to unionized labor in the construction and operation of the ballpark.
- $450 million from project-generated revenue to be used for community benefits like affordable housing.
According to the city council, however, the statement from the Athletics and the MLB paints a false narrative about the negotiations.
"We want to make clear that it is entirely false that the city council is delaying or refusing to consider the A's project proposal," read a statement from the council. "In fact, many people, including city staff negotiating with the A's, have been hard at work developing the work needed to bring a project proposal forward for potential approval."
The statement goes on to say the team's leadership changed its requests, and instead of sharing full terms for consideration by the council, the A's announced they were demanding the council vote on the summary term sheet without the full details.
The original goal had been to open the new ballpark in 2023, but now, even if approved by the city council this summer, it would not be ready until 2027, according to ESPN. The A's are under lease to play in the Coliseum until 2024.