A's Nearing 10-Year Lease Extension At O.co Coliseum, With Opt-Out Likely Included
The A's are nearing a 10-year lease extension with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority for O.co Coliseum. The move is a marked reversal from a turbulent period in which the club earlier this year temporarily cut off negotiations with the authority and briefly considered alternate venues for after its current lease term ends following the '15 season. A's Owner Lew Wolff said a signed extension could arrive by the end of the month. The decade-long deal promises to provide a newly extended opportunity for the club to evaluate its options for a future ballpark. Wolff said, "We're working quite well with local officials right now and I am optimistic something will soon get done. This gives us a chance to catch our breath and figure out where we're going to go (long term)." Wolff did not disclose key deal points. But industry sources said the proposed deal will likely allow the A's to buy out the remaining years of the lease term should they succeed in finalizing a plan for a new ballpark, as well as contains provisions to escape the lease should the Raiders begin a new football-only stadium on the Coliseum property. Beyond the parallel stadium talks between the authority and the Raiders, the A's long-term status remains heavily clouded. There is still a lack of resolution from MLB's ongoing task force studying the issue and now in sixth year of work, as well as an ongoing challenge from San Jose regarding MLB's antitrust exemption that allows the Giants to claim territorial rights over that city and Santa Clara County. Despite various proposals from Oakland officials regarding a possible waterfront stadium plan, Wolff said the club's ballpark options in that city remain focused on the Coliseum property in addition to the long-desired San Jose market. Wolff: "Our first choice remains where we can get a venue that improves the experience for the fans" (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).
FUTURE STILL UNCERTAIN: Oakland City Council member Larry Reid said that the authority "has scheduled a special closed door meeting Friday morning to review recent lease negotiations" with the A's (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 6/5). In San Jose, Mark Purdy wrote, "Even if the A's do sign this agreement with Oakland, that does not mean Wolff's interest in moving his team to San Jose is dead. And it doesn't mean that the San Jose ballpark project is a dead issue for Wolff and co-owner John Fisher." Wolff "still doesn't know what Oakland wants to do in terms of its ballpark/stadium problem with the Raiders and the A's." Raiders Owner Mark Davis "is on record as saying he wants the structure to be built on the site of the Coliseum, which would have to be demolished." But if the A's have a lease to play there for 10 years, it would "obviously be difficult to tear down the facility" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/5).