Oakland A’s lease wins vote 6-2, threatens Raiders future
By Chase Ruttig
Jul 3, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; A bunny in the stands during the first inning between the Oakland Athletics and the Toronto Blue Jays at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
It was an inevitability and it became a reality before the Fourth of July long weekend as the Coliseum board passed a 10 year lease for the Oakland A’s to remain at the Oakland Coliseum by a 6-2 vote, handing the A’s a deal that is extremely in favor of the MLB franchise and has a variety of out clauses that suit owner Lew Wolff very well.
Coliseum board voters threatened to boycott the vote, but that was only until MLB commissioner Bud Selig gave the A’s permission to immediately seek a move outside of the city should the vote not pass. Forcing the voters hands, who in turn passed the deal.
The vote came hours after a report came out that the city was poised to kill the deal, one that was from the start blatantly one sided in terms of benefits towards the A’s.
“The city council directed us to vote against it,” said Larry Reid to the San Francisco Chronicle before the vote passed, one of the representatives to the Authority. “This process has been extremely frustrating for me. I just hope Major League Baseball and the A’s can have a little more patience with this council.”
That was before commissioner Selig sent out the threat of the A’s packing their bags and leaving town altogether should the lease not go through after the A’s had agreed to extend their lease for another ten years.
“I was informed tonight that Commissioner Selig, due to the possibility of not having the hearing and vote that we were purported to receive from the JPA, that we will immediately be allowed to seek a temporary or permanent location outside the city of Oakland,” Wolff wrote in an e-mail sent to city, council and A’s officials prior to the vote.
Now that the vote is passed, Oakland mayor Jean Quan released her statement to the Chronicle saying that if the city is to approve on the deal the A’s will have to go to the negotiation table to extend their commitment at the Coliseum from 2017 at the earliest to 2019.
From the Chronicle:
"In a joint statement released Thursday night, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan and Kernighan signaled the city’s ability to hold up the lease deal unless the A’s and Major League Baseball return to the negotiating table.“We are pleased that we have made progress over the last few weeks, and we are looking forward to working cooperatively and expeditiously with the Oakland A’s to close out remaining issues which center around economic and legal concerns,” the statement read.The deal is essentially the same proposal that the A’s and Coliseum board made public Tuesday – but that the Oakland City Council opposed. The council wants the A’s to pay $21 million over the 10-year term of the lease instead of $15.5 million, and it wants the A’s to commit to playing in the Coliseum until at least Dec. 31, 2019, instead of Dec. 31, 2017."
While the lease deal still has two more hurdles in the votes from both the Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to be passed, the 6-2 vote today shows just how much power the A’s are wielding thanks to the pressure being put on the city by the MLB and A’s owner Wolff. With the Raiders lease coming up, it is going to be interesting to see what type of leverage Mark Davis has with the city. Based on the nature of the stadium fight in the city thanks to two owners who don’t want to share a venue in the future, the A’s being first in the door with a decade long lease to stay in the Coliseum is not a positive sign for the future of the NFL in the city.
For now a fanbase and a city await what appears to be an inevitable power move by the A’s to be passed, one that will solve little but continue to cast doubt about the future of both teams in Oakland as the ultimate need for a new stadium for either franchise continues to be dragged out.