There is hope yet that despite losing the Raiders to Las Vegas and the Warriors to San Francisco, Oakland will be able to keep its professional baseball team in the city over the coming years.
Oakland mayor Libby Schaaff signed a select agreement today with the Oakland Athletics that would position the city to deal exclusively with the team as they look for a new home somewhere along the Oakland waterfront.
The agreement was announced during a press conference attended by the mayor and team president David Kaval. The Oakland Athletics are currently in the process of figuring out what to do and where to go as their aging stadium—currently shared with the Raiders—prepares to lose the football team in either 2021 or 2022.
“We are trying to make sure we retain as many options as possible so we can remain ‘rooted in Oakland,’” Kaval said, according to Mercury News.
The city of Oakland currently owns the site of the Oakland Coliseum, the last remaining dual-purpose professional sports stadium in the country, which the Athletics are interested in purchasing outright. The team has expressed interest in the 120-acre site, including the adjacent Oracle Arena basketball stadium, in an effort to establish ownership of their playing facilities. The current facilities are easily accessible to the region’s mass transit system and feature extensive surface parking. Estimates put the cost of buying the property at $135 million.
But the athletics are also interested potentially in relocating entirely to a site roughly two miles away called Howard Terminal. Howard Terminal is an existing shipping port that is due for redevelopment. The team has been scoping out a variety of sites in the area as well, including a recently abandoned plan to potentially relocate to the nearby Peralta Community College campus. The scheme was abandoned when its announcement drew forth a great deal of heated opposition when first made public earlier this year.
The city’s exclusive agreement allows the municipality to help the Athletics pursue both options concurrently. After today’s meeting, Schaaf said, “I am so excited to be supporting exclusive negotiating agreements at both the Coliseum and at Howard Terminal so that we double our changes to [keep the team].”
City and team leaders are hoping to have a final purchase agreement for one of e sites by the end of the year.