The A’s have reached an agreement on a 10-year lease extension to continue calling the Oakland Coliseum their home.
The news came Wednesday afternoon after months of negotiations with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, which oversees the venue. The previous lease was due to expire after the 2015 season.
The deal still needs to officially be approved by the Authority, the city of Oakland and Alameda County Board of Supervisors.
What all of this means for the A’s ultimate quest to build a new ballpark, somewhere in the Bay Area, remains to be seen.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig praised both the A’s and the Authority for reaching an agreement. Selig also was outspoken in throwing his support behind the current Coliseum site as the best site for a new ballpark in Oakland, as opposed to the Howard Terminal site near Jack London Square. It’s the rare instance where the commissioner has made any concrete statements regarding the A’s and their pursuit of a new ballpark.
Selig’s words jibe with A’s co-owner Lew Wolff, who has always said that of the two proposed Oakland sites, he strongly prefers the Coliseum site to Howard Terminal.
“The agreement on this extension is a crucial first step towards keeping Major League Baseball in Oakland,” Selig said in a statement. “I continue to believe that the Athletics need a new facility and am fully supportive of the club’s view that the best site in Oakland is the Coliseum site. Contrary to what some have suggested, the committee that has studied this issue did not determine that the Howard Terminal site was the best location for a new facility in Oakland.”
Selig refers to the committee he appointed back in March 2009 to study the A’s best ballpark options. There has been astonishingly little revealed about the committee’s findings since that time.
Wolff offered this in an e-mail to the Associated Press: “Howard Terminal as a potential ballpark site has been and is totally rejected by MLB and the A's.”
The A’s have not given up all hope on moving to San Jose, but that issue is currently held up in legal proceedings, and the Giants show no interest whatsoever in surrendering their territorial rights to Santa Clara County.
How the A’s long-term lease agreement impacts the Raiders quest for a new football stadium also remains to be seen. Both teams have expressed an interest in building new venues on the current Coliseum site.