A's Decide On Downtown Oakland Site For New Ballpark, Hope To Play There In '23
The A's have "settled on land near Laney College as their preferred spot for a 35,000-seat, privately financed ballpark to replace" Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, according to a front-page piece by Matier & Ross of the S.F. CHRONICLE. A's President Dave Kaval on the 13-acre location near downtown said, "Finally, we've got our site." The A's selected the site after also "considering the Oakland Coliseum site and land on the waterfront northwest of Jack London Square." The A's "hope to play their first game" at their $500M-plus ballpark in '23. But there is "a lot that has to happen first -- starting with cutting a deal with the Peralta Community College District, which owns the site and has its headquarters there." Kaval last night made the A’s intentions official in a letter to Peralta District Chancellor Jowel Laguerre, asking to "begin negotiations to buy or lease the land." Matier & Ross note as for the Coliseum, the A’s "plan to pitch Oakland and Alameda County on the idea of turning the site into a community sports park and urban youth baseball academy in partnership" with MLB. Meanwhile, the A’s "expect to spend the next nine months to a year negotiating with the college district." If that agreement can be worked out, the A’s "expect to spend another 18 months completing an environmental impact report." Under the "most optimistic projections, construction would begin" in '21, and the ballpark would "open two years later." However, there are "other obstacles in front of the A’s." Although they plan to privately finance the ballpark’s construction, the A’s will "need support from the Oakland City Council to come up with what outside experts say could be hundreds of millions of dollars in federal, state and local funding" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 9/13).
IMPORTANT OPPORTUNITY: NBCSPORTSBAYAREA.com's Ray Ratto wrote the A's want to open their new ballpark in '23 at "exactly the time that they stop being sub-mediocre." If the A's management makes the ballpark construction "march hand in hand with the roster construction, they will have at last a fighting chance" to match the Giants "blow for blow in a market that has tilted far too long to the west" (NBCSPORTSBAYAREA.com, 9/12). In N.Y., Kevin Draper writes Kaval is "building up a reservoir of good will from A's fans who have endured decades of owners' threats to move the team out of Oakland." Draper: "But good will alone will not build a ballpark." Kaval has to "unify the team, the city and county governments, public agencies, interest groups and residents behind his vision" for the ballpark. He has to "secure financing for a baseball-only stadium that could cost more than a billion dollars." He has to "persuade corporations to lend their dollars in the form of sponsorships, naming rights and luxury box purchases." But perhaps "most difficult of all, he has to rebuild a fan base that has eroded after years of the team's attempting to leave Oakland and trading away popular players" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/13).