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Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Oakland Athletics to start looking at relocating elsewhere, sources say

The Oakland Athletics will start exploring the possibility of relocating with the blessing of Major League Baseball, a move that could put pressure on local government officials to greenlight a new stadium project that has spent years in limbo, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN.

The A’s, who have played in Oakland since 1968, have prioritized building a waterfront stadium in downtown Oakland at the Howard Terminal site. But after years of failed stadium plans—and weeks after the organization asked for the city council to vote on the $12 billion mixed-use development before its late-July summer recess—the long-anticipated specter of the A’s looking into relocation on Tuesday became a reality.

“The future success of the A’s depends on a new ballpark,” A’s owner John Fisher said in a statement. “Oakland is a great baseball town, and we will continue to pursue our waterfront ballpark project. We will also follow MLB’s direction to explore other markets.”

The A’s are the lone remaining major professional sports team in Oakland after the NBA’s Golden State Warriors moved across the bay to San Francisco and the Raiders left for Las Vegas. Their pursuit of a new stadium to replace the now-55-year-old RingCentral Coliseum has included multiple sites in Oakland, dalliances with Fremont and San Jose, and two decades without a groundbreaking.

The Howard Terminal project—in which the A’s have proposed privately funding a $1 billion stadium and spending more on a development that would include 3,000 units of affordable housing, office and retail space, and a hotel—is the latest and has been seen as the likeliest to succeed.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 02:19 PM | 40 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: athletics

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   1. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: May 11, 2021 at 02:28 PM (#6018291)
The story also says that the most likely relocation site for the A's would be Las Vegas, though Manfred has also mentioned Vancouver, Nashville, Charlotte, Portland, and Montreal.

I'm rooting for Montreal, but on paper, Vegas makes the most sense, right? I mean, by all accounts, the NHL and NFL are very happy to be in Vegas.
   2. GregD Posted: May 11, 2021 at 02:48 PM (#6018301)
Hoping this is a negotiating tactic. I don't fully understand the commitment to the Howard Terminal site instead of the incredibly simple rebuild on the Coliseum parking lot, but I assume Oakland will give it to them.

I also assume/hope MLB is saving as many cities as possible as bidders for expansion. The other owners will make more money by having 2 expansion sites (and 2-3 other potential bidders) than by letting the As move to one of them.
   3. For the Turnstiles (andeux) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 03:45 PM (#6018322)
So basically, all the same cities they were going to move to if the league didn't approve their San Jose plans.
   4. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: May 11, 2021 at 03:50 PM (#6018324)
Hoping this is a negotiating tactic. I don't fully understand the commitment to the Howard Terminal site instead of the incredibly simple rebuild on the Coliseum parking lot, but I assume Oakland will give it to them.


By all indications the Battery Atlanta is significantly more profitable than the Braves, I would be shocked if we don't see more and more of sports teams trying to use their stadiums as an anchor for mixed use development.
   5. Traderdave Posted: May 11, 2021 at 04:31 PM (#6018333)
Hoping this is a negotiating tactic. I don't fully understand the commitment to the Howard Terminal site instead of the incredibly simple rebuild on the Coliseum parking lot, but I assume Oakland will give it to them.


To a rational mind, the Coliseum site is THE answer, but this sitch is 80% A's suffer from Waterfront Ballpark Delusional Envy Syndrome, and 20% Let's Put Up a Plan That Can't Succeed So We Have Excuse to Move.


By all indications the Battery Atlanta is significantly more profitable than the Braves, I would be shocked if we don't see more and more of sports teams trying to use their stadiums as an anchor for mixed use development.


The Coliseum has a BART station, a freeway exit, and over 100 acres of parking, a large chunk of which can be converted to housing & mixed use. It could be a much larger and more profitable development, and much greater community benefit as well.
   6. Vitor Artur Posted: May 11, 2021 at 04:38 PM (#6018337)
Plus the Coliseum site is sunny and non-bougie and fun. Would suck if they left it.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 04:38 PM (#6018338)
So someone explain to me why the A's are so hellbent on the Howard Terminal site and why the city is so hellbent on the Coliseum site.
   8. Traderdave Posted: May 11, 2021 at 04:44 PM (#6018339)
The story also says that the most likely relocation site for the A's would be Las Vegas, though Manfred has also mentioned Vancouver, Nashville, Charlotte, Portland, and Montreal.


Given that each of these has significant downside (smaller populations, transplants/tourists instead of a fan base, already lost a team etc) is it fair to say that MLB has reached its limit of expansion already?


Plus the Coliseum site is sunny and non-bougie and fun. Would suck if they left it.


Best. Tailgating. Site. Ever.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 04:47 PM (#6018340)

Given that each of these has significant downside (smaller populations, transplants/tourists instead of a fan base, already lost a team etc) is it fair to say that MLB has reached its limit of expansion already?


They all bring the upside of lucrative expansion fees! Besides, didn't every market come into the league with some downside? My money would be on Nashville because of their population trends and the south seems kinda underrepresented geographically in MLB, particularly when you consider where the players come from. The long term viability for any of these cities likely will have to do with where the stadium is and how nice it is, and how stable ownership is with spending levels.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: May 11, 2021 at 04:49 PM (#6018341)
Best. Tailgating. Site. Ever.


Do I hear an objection from the representative from Wisconsin?

   11. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: May 11, 2021 at 04:52 PM (#6018342)
the south seems kinda underrepresented geographically in MLB, particularly when you consider where the players come from
Yeah, but putting a team in the Dominican would have pretty major logistical issues.
   12. Traderdave Posted: May 11, 2021 at 04:56 PM (#6018344)
Do I hear an objection from the representative from Wisconsin?


WI gets points for the extremely elaborate equipment, sausage quality, and deeply ingrained culture, but Oakland edges out based on wider food variety (fun to trade with neighboring setups), hotter women, nicer weather and deeper wiffle ball talent pool.

The matter is settled.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: May 11, 2021 at 05:26 PM (#6018350)
Les Athletiques de Montreal has a certain ring to it. I have no idea if Athletiques is an actual French word but ... Les Expos.

It would serve the A's right to move to Vegas and once again have to play in a Raiders monstrosity. (Or is the LV football stadium actually nice?) I went to a game in Oakland a long time ago, before the Raiders came back. The stadium wasn't much but the area was lovely. A retro (or even modern) stadium with a nice view of the hills would be great. That said, I got the impression nothing else was around there. (But all we did was get off/on at the convenient BART station, not like we looked around.)
   14. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 11, 2021 at 05:50 PM (#6018354)
So someone explain to me why the A's are so hellbent on the Howard Terminal site and why the city is so hellbent on the Coliseum site.
No idea about the parties preferences, but the obvious ‘compromise’ is for the city to offer a Coliseum deal that is too good for the A’s to pass up.
   15. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 06:03 PM (#6018357)
The story also says that the most likely relocation site for the A's would be Las Vegas, though Manfred has also mentioned Vancouver, Nashville, Charlotte, Portland, and Montreal.


Population-wise, the only plausible ones of these are really Portland, Vancouver, and Montreal. And all are significantly smaller than a fair chunk of the Bay Area, and other than Vancouver, the Bay Area is also far richer than any of these.

I find the Las Vegas thing kind of baffling. The NFL can do it because they only play 16 games a year. 10x that many and you're going to have a lot, lot, lot of empty seats at the Desert Dome or whatever they build there.
   16. The Duke Posted: May 11, 2021 at 06:06 PM (#6018359)
It’s interesting that SF-Oakland-San Jose market is about 8th biggest media market, whereas LV is around 30th. But I don’t think oakland gets tv rights that are anywhere near that 8th status- I saw one article that has them in the bottom half of local tv deals. So they may be in the 8th market but their tv contract is something more like 15-20th.

So a move to LV is still worse. Plus, the climate is terrible for summer baseball.

Charlotte and Nashville would be better answers. Not sure where Montreal ranks in media markets but even in the best case I can’t think it is better than Charlotte/LV/Nashville.

If I were relocating I’d try to find another team or two to move with me to London and set up shop there like the Dodgers and Giants did in California (I’m talking to you Baltimore and Tampa bay).
   17. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 06:15 PM (#6018361)
Not sure where Montreal ranks in media markets but even in the best case I can’t think it is better than Charlotte/LV/Nashville.

Montreal's metro area has 4 million people. The largest of Charlotte/LV/Nashville is barely half that size at 2.6 million.
   18. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: May 11, 2021 at 06:57 PM (#6018369)
the most likely relocation site for the A's would be Las Vegas

An Oakland team moving to Las Vegas? Ridiculous. (What's next, a Vegas team playing for the Stanley Cup...?!)
   19. For the Turnstiles (andeux) Posted: May 11, 2021 at 07:12 PM (#6018373)
why the A's are so hellbent on the Howard Terminal site


Waterfront view, closer to things like bars and restaurants, plus they want to do a bunch of essentially unrelated development (luxury condos and retail) that work better closer to downtown. (They will probably be required to include some affordable housing, and will shunt that part off to the current coliseum site.)

the city is so hellbent on the Coliseum site.


I wouldn't say the city is hellbent on the Coliseum site, but it's certainly an easier sell. Howard Terminal involves displacing some existing industry, a fair amount of environmental mitigation and transportation infrastructure changes, and will be right next to a working port. The Coliseum would be replacing one stadium with another (probably plus some added development there).
   20. GregD Posted: May 11, 2021 at 07:25 PM (#6018376)
I do mourn the Laney site....though I get why that was hard to pull off.

The As are trying to be a mega-developer (on both sites) and pull off something at Howard that no normal developer could do. So I get the upside, but there's a lot between here and there. Kind of wild to imagine a stadium where neither parking nor public transportation are easy!
   21. Brian C Posted: May 11, 2021 at 08:10 PM (#6018383)
I think there's a bug in the Newsfeed, it's popped this 20-year-old article about the A's "starting" to look at relocating onto the front page.
   22. crict Posted: May 11, 2021 at 09:05 PM (#6018399)
Les Athletiques de Montreal has a certain ring to it. I have no idea if Athletiques is an actual French word but ... Les Expos.


It is, with some teams in Quebec having used it.
   23. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: May 11, 2021 at 10:15 PM (#6018441)
The big problem with the A's deal is that they want the city to pay (via increased taxes in the vicinity of the ballpark) $1.2 billion for "infrastructure and community benefits". The ballpark they are proposing to build is supposedly going to cost $1 billion itself, and it will be 1 mile from the nearest BART station, have very poor freeway access and no parking, and they want to get people there via aerial gondolas (really!), a fine solution for moving a few people at a time at a steady rate, but a terrible solution for moving a lot of people all at once, like when the game is over. I'm speaking as an A's fan, and I think the Coliseum is fine, put some condos there on the parking lot, and fix the stadium up a little (or if they have to, build a new stadium in the parking lot and tear the old one down and build housing there). They can make "Coliseum Village" as part of their housing development in the parking lot, with a bunch of shops and bars or what-have-you there. Would be nice - the worst thing about going to the Coliseum is that when the game is over, all you can really do is crowd onto the BART platform and BART station and wait for the trains to come. If there were some places to hang out near the stadium, well, I betcha people would do that.
   24. GregD Posted: May 11, 2021 at 10:20 PM (#6018446)
I'm speaking as an A's fan, and I think the Coliseum is fine, put some condos there on the parking lot, and fix the stadium up a little (or if they have to, build a new stadium in the parking lot and tear the old one down and build housing there). They can make "Coliseum Village" as part of their housing development in the parking lot, with a bunch of shops and bars or what-have-you there. Would be nice - the worst thing about going to the Coliseum is that when the game is over, all you can really do is crowd onto the BART platform and BART station and wait for the trains to come. If there were some places to hang out near the stadium, well, I betcha people would do that.
Definitely I'd be pleased with this. I don't think it's an amazing outcome but it's a reasonable and fast one.
   25. Cooper Nielson Posted: May 12, 2021 at 01:32 AM (#6018489)
I'm speaking as an A's fan, and I think the Coliseum is fine, put some condos there on the parking lot, and fix the stadium up a little (or if they have to, build a new stadium in the parking lot and tear the old one down and build housing there). They can make "Coliseum Village" as part of their housing development in the parking lot, with a bunch of shops and bars or what-have-you there. Would be nice - the worst thing about going to the Coliseum is that when the game is over, all you can really do is crowd onto the BART platform and BART station and wait for the trains to come. If there were some places to hang out near the stadium, well, I betcha people would do that.

It's been a while since I lived in the Bay Area ('90s) but I always thought the Coliseum was fine except for the problem mentioned here -- there's nothing to do in the area before or after the game, at least for BART commuters. So this "Coliseum Village" idea sounds pretty good to me.

Having the devoted BART station really is nice and shouldn't be overlooked. I lived in downtown-ish San Francisco, but before PacBell Park was built, it was a lot easier/faster for me to go to an A's game than a Giants game.
   26. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 12, 2021 at 10:51 AM (#6018515)
The ballpark they are proposing to build is supposedly going to cost $1 billion itself, and it will be 1 mile from the nearest BART station, have very poor freeway access and no parking,

This just seems insane. A stadium has to have either 1) good transit access (trains not buses) or 2) tons of parking close to highways that aren't jammed at game time. Having neither is disastrous. Either no one will show, or you'll have massive gridlock and parking wars on the local streets.
   27. Traderdave Posted: May 12, 2021 at 11:08 AM (#6018526)
This just seems insane. A stadium has to have either 1) good transit access (trains not buses) or 2) tons of parking close to highways that aren't jammed at game time. Having neither is disastrous. Either no one will show, or you'll have massive gridlock and parking wars on the local streets.


The Coliseum has both. Howard has neither.
   28. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: May 12, 2021 at 11:10 AM (#6018527)
There are a lot of insane things about the ballpark plan. One of the main issues is it is right next to the Port of Oakland, one of the major if not the major employer in Oakland (considering all the businesses which depend on it or are located in or near Oakland because of proximity to the port). The dual-track main West Coast rail line used by Union Pacific and Amtrak runs right next to the proposed park location (which, after all, is currently a marine terminal) AT GRADE, down the middle of an (industrial) street, Embarcadero. The draft EIR does not propose eliminating this at grade rail line (the obvious solution being to raise it up above street level, with all manner of issues regarding how to cross the street/rail line, etc.), basically because they think it will be too difficult and take too long, though UP and Amtrak, among others, all think this is beyond the pale, having that many (drunk, probably) people right next to a trunk line railroad without separation. Even without this, there are huge questions as to whether this development will greatly impede port operations in general. Plus there are a lot of strange financial shenanigans going on.

A nice summary of various articles and statistics regarding Oakland A's ballpark proposals over the years
   29. bunyon Posted: May 12, 2021 at 11:15 AM (#6018529)
I think they should relocate to the same place.
   30. Jobu is silent on the changeup Posted: May 12, 2021 at 11:39 AM (#6018537)
#29 - I was on my way to say exactly that. Though perhaps we should postpone this discussion until later.
   31. McCoy Posted: May 12, 2021 at 11:41 AM (#6018539)
Liberty Media, as part of the deal, got apartment buildings at The Battery. Their revenue was dwarfed by the team revenue and I think at one point they were looking to cash out. The apartment buildings might be more profitable but value and revenue wise they came compete with owning a baseball team.

The value at The Battery is owning the land and having it appreciate wildly.
   32. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: May 12, 2021 at 11:48 AM (#6018541)
They're going back to Kansas City!
   33. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 12, 2021 at 11:56 AM (#6018543)
A's to Kansas City, Kansas, Royals stay in Kansas City, MO. Think of the rivalry.
   34. bunyon Posted: May 12, 2021 at 12:11 PM (#6018545)
30: :)
   35. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: May 12, 2021 at 01:03 PM (#6018552)

Just based on the economics, the A's proposal seemed pretty good to me: a privately-funded stadium, with the A's also contributing to surrounding development, including building housing. Yes, the city was asked to pay a ton ($850 million) in infrastructure, but wouldn't they be spending a portion of money in the area anyway. Am I missing something?
   36. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: May 12, 2021 at 01:13 PM (#6018557)
The Coliseum site is fine but must not be worth enough as a real estate deal to MLB / Fisher. The views of the hills are nice and it's always been there. If the park factors in Las Vegas are the same in MLB as they are in AAA it will be crazy.
   37. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: May 12, 2021 at 01:15 PM (#6018558)
Kansas City, Shmansas Shmity. Back to Philly!
   38. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: May 12, 2021 at 02:15 PM (#6018574)
Just based on the economics, the A's proposal seemed pretty good to me: a privately-funded stadium, with the A's also contributing to surrounding development, including building housing. Yes, the city was asked to pay a ton ($850 million) in infrastructure, but wouldn't they be spending a portion of money in the area anyway. Am I missing something?


I think the four issues are this:

a) In the proposal there is another $450 million in "community benefits". Nobody has exactly explained how that works. So some folks say that the total investment from the City is more like $1.3 billion. The City of Oakland and the County of Alameda are still smarting from (and paying back) the money they poured into the Coliseum for the Raiders and into the neighboring Oakland Arena for the Warriors, though the Warriors recently lost in court and have agreed to pay up.

Warriors finally agree to pay Arena debt and legal fees


b) The port and the rail interests have a huge amount of concerns, the most significant revolving around rail and grade separation, but there are other questions regarding port traffic, and the general issue of having such a large amount of housing right next to the port. Again, there is no transit located very close, and poor freeway access.
c) The $$ values and the plans are all kinda crazy. $12 billion? 3500 seat performing art space? Oakland has had a hard time figuring out what to do with the historic Oakland Civic Arena/Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, with it's 10,000 seat auditorium and 1,900 seat theatre, it lost ground to other venues, primarily those with better parking. Supposedly, the building with the theatre (but not the auditorium) intact was supposed to open this year (but who really knows now?):

Renovation of historic Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center/Calvin Simmons Theatre to proceed

d) Finally, the County already made a deal to sell the Coliesum (including the basketball arena) to the A's, and the City was negotiating to sell it's half of the site to them as well, and nothing has been mentioned about what is to happen at that site in the midst of the Howard Terminal hullabaloo, as far as I know:

City negotiating to sell it's share of the Coliseum site to the A's
   39. Traderdave Posted: May 12, 2021 at 02:19 PM (#6018575)
Just based on the economics, the A's proposal seemed pretty good to me: a privately-funded stadium, with the A's also contributing to surrounding development, including building housing. Yes, the city was asked to pay a ton ($850 million) in infrastructure, but wouldn't they be spending a portion of money in the area anyway. Am I missing something?


Oakland's annual General Fund budget is about 700MM per year. The A's are asking for 120% of an entire year's budget for one fairly small area of town to benefit a a privately owned non-essential entertainment business.

And the payback to the city is dubious at best, despite what the A's and their shills will tell you. Cities in CA have very little taxing power. Oakland gets approx 29% of the 1% base property tax rate (ie .29% of a property's assessed value) and .75% sales tax (county, states and special districts get most of the 9.50% gross sales tax. There are other sources like utilities tax etc but those two are the largest and they aren't all that much considering the circs. If the A's sell 100MM worth of beer & swag, the city nets 750M in sales tax, for example.

The state largely got rid of redevelopment and other TIF type structures severlas years ago, but the state also recently passed a bill that would allow Oakland to do these conduits for the ballpark, so there's every chance the city's GF would not get these revenues, the TIF district would and most of it would be going to debt service to fund the A's requested improvements. Even if the TIF covers the debt service on the improvements, the city still has increased law enforcement and other governing expenses and gets little or no revenue for that. There MIGHT be a pickup from property taxes on the new housing, but odds are very high that is sucked up by the TIF district. The city will not get these revenues unless/until the district's debt are retire4d, 30 years at least.

I've typed this on the fly and this not a complete picture, but it's an illustration of just how bad a deal this is for Oakland. The Coliseum, by compare, requires far far less infrastructure improvement and could hold far more taxable housing.
   40. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: May 12, 2021 at 05:29 PM (#6018620)
A's back to Kansas City, Royals to Philadelphia, Phillies back to Troy, New York.

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