SBD/July 7, 2014/Facilities

A's Reach Lease Extension At O.co Coliseum After Selig Threatens Relocation

Improvements at O.co Coliseum include the installation of a new HD video board
The A's and the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority on Thursday agreed on a new 10-year extension to play games at O.co Coliseum through the '24 season. The agreement will be finalized after approvals from both the Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors later this month. Among the terms of the extension is settlement of all outstanding issues between the two parties and a commitment of more than $10M by the A's to significantly upgrade O.co Coliseum. The improvements include the installation of new HD video boards, ribbon boards between the field and plaza level of the stadium and associated control room equipment. All upgrades will be completed by the start of the '15 season (A's). In S.F., Carolyn Jones noted Oakland officials "abruptly dropped their opposition" to the lease after A's co-Owner Lew Wolff informed city and county leaders that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "gave the team permission to immediately seek a new home outside Oakland." Wolff in a 10:00pm PT e-mail to officials on Wednesday wrote that Selig "authorized an immediate move for the team because of Oakland officials' 'political maneuvering' that blindsided the A's and jeopardized a lease deal the team had agreed to with the board that manages the O.co Coliseum." Jones noted the "threat of losing the team prompted city officials to back off their plan to kill the lease deal Thursday." The City Council had directed four members of the Coliseum Authority to "vote against the proposal," but the board "approved the lease deal with a 6-2 vote Thursday morning." 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 deal allows the team to "give two years' notice of its intent to leave Oakland but requires the team to continue paying the lease for the remainder of the 10-year term, even if the team leaves." The deal lets the A's "off the hook for making those lease payments only if they move to another stadium within Oakland" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/4).

BLUFF CITY: In S.F., John Shea wrote Selig's threat "was made to get the deal done." The A's "always had the power to go elsewhere in the Bay Area (in their territory) or even leave the Bay Area so long as they got three-quarters of the owners' votes, but there's nowhere feasible to relocate, at least in this country" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/6). However, in Oakland, Marcus Thompson II wrote the JPA "should have called Wolff's bluff and voted down the lease agreement." Thompson: "Getting played like this is so unlike Oakland. ... There is no way a sports team should wield this kind of power over a city" (INSIDEBAYAREA.com, 7/3). Meanwhile, longtime baseball reporter Murray Chass wrote it is "about time Selig did something for Wolff, but his noble act shouldn't be exaggerated." He was "acting on his own behalf as well as Wolff's." Chass noted, "Conspicuously absent from the itinerary Selig handed Wolff was a ticket to San Jose, the owner's destination of choice" (MURRAYCHASS.com, 7/6). 

BIG ENOUGH FOR BOTH? ESPN.com's Paul Gutierrez noted the "knee-jerk reaction" is that 81 MLB games "is preferable to 10 NFL home games (two in the preseason, eight in the regular season." But the Raiders, which share O.co Coliseum with the A's, "might now want to take their ball and go home ... wherever that might be -- Dublin, Concord, Los Angeles, Portland, San Antonio, Parts Unknown" (ESPN.com, 7/4).
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