Updated August 30, 2023 - 7:15 pm
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao’s office said it told MLB commissioner Rob Manfred the city would consider extending the Athletics’ lease at the Coliseum, which expires after the 2024 season.
The list of stipulations included keeping the A’s in Oakland. But if the team relocates to Las Vegas, the city would retain the team’s brand and MLB would guarantee the city an expansion team, Mayor Thao’s chief of staff Leigh Hanson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday.
Hanson said that was communicated during a meeting with Manfred in July during All-Star weekend in Seattle.
An MLB spokesperson said Tuesday there was no discussion about the lease during that meeting. Hanson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on MLB’s denial.
“The mayor was clear that in order to negotiate the terms of that lease extension we would be looking for many of the same things that we had been discussing with the A’s,” Hanson said. “Those included the team obviously remaining in Oakland and insisting the owners do not approve the relocation application. If that did not work, we would want to have conversations about retaining the brand of the A’s, similar to the (Cleveland) Browns and other teams that kept their name. Then finally the guarantee of an expansion team in Oakland.”
Hanson said she along with Thao and Molly Mayburn, the city’s former lead negotiator of the Howard Terminal project, attended the meeting. Howard Terminal was the A’s planned $12 billion, mixed-use project centered around a $1 billion ballpark in Oakland. After years of trying to make the project come to fruition, the A’s announced in May they were focusing their stadium efforts on Las Vegas.
Of the matters discussed with Manfred, the most extensive were about an expansion team being awarded to Oakland, Hanson said.
Whether the two sides talked about the lease or not, the scenarios Hanson noted could still serve as the basis for the city approving the A’s playing at the Coliseum post 2024.
If 75 percent of league owners approve of the team’s relocation to Las Vegas, a temporary home would be needed for the 2025, 2026 and 2027 seasons until the team’s proposed $1.5 billion Southern Nevada ballpark would be ready in 2028.
Outside of playing at the Coliseum, the other likely temporary landing spots for the A’s in the interim years include Las Vegas Ballpark or sharing Oracle Park with the San Francisco Giants.
If Oracle Park turns out to be the A’s interim home, Hanson said that could make for an interesting situation.
“They should certainly anticipate that Oakland would fight (to block the move) and given the reverse boycott and the energy behind Giants fans support of A’s fans across the bay, I feel like that would put the Giants in a very challenging position,” Hanson said.
In the meantime,the city hopes to learn more about what is being shared to MLB owners in the relocation application regarding the potential for a lease extension in Oakland. The city is leaving all options on the board, including potential legal avenues, Hanson noted.
“So, we’re not immediately jumping to a legal solution, I think there’s still a lot of room here for negotiation. And we’re still very confident to be honest, that the plan in Vegas is not as lucrative as the Oakland deal. I think we’re still very hopeful and the mayor was very clear her number one goal is to keep the A’s in Oakland, and we’re not taking any options, including legal action off the table.”