Whether the Oakland Athletics stay in the Bay Area or relocate to Southern Nevada or elsewhere, the timeline on that decision likely doesn’t extend beyond this year.
A’s President Dave Kaval said in an exclusive interview with the Review-Journal on Thursday that team officials would like to know the future of the team before the end of the year.
Their lease for RingCentral Coliseum is up in 2024. “I think this year everything shakes out, one way or another,” Kaval said. “We have to. We don’t have any more time in our current venue. The clock is ticking.”
In Oakland, the team awaits a vote by the city council later this summer on the economic framework for a proposed waterfront ballpark with surrounding mixed-use development. That’s not the last vote needed to get the stadium going; another vote would be needed later this year on the environmental approval, Kaval noted.
“We have a path in Oakland that we’re pursuing, but it’s already been almost five years on that path and we have a critical vote coming up on the 20th of July,” Kaval said. “We’re hopeful that all the effort and time that we put in, that could be positive. But at the same time it’s taking so long … we have to start looking at some other options, for real.”
Even if Oakland officials approve the waterfront ballpark proposal in July, Kaval said the A’s would still be five to six years away from having a new stadium in the Bay Area.
“We are running out of time,” he said. “Our current facility is 10 years past what it should be… the Raiders will tell you that too. We can barely keep the lights on… the field is below sea level, there’s some real challenges.”
Kaval mentioned he was impressed by the speed at which large projects are planned, constructed and opened in Southern Nevada. Talks regarding Allegiant Stadium — home of the Las Vegas Raiders — began in 2016, then four years later the $2 billion, 65,000-seat stadium was built. The construction process itself was completed in just over 32 months following the groundbreaking ceremony.
“The Raiders thing is probably a good timeline (for a potential MLB stadium being built in Las Vegas) to look at as possible,” Kaval said. “Three or four years. We need a tight timeline because we’re running out of time. Before you know it, we’ll be there (2024). So I think that’s another big reason why the league was so directive on ‘Hey, you guys really have to be serious about looking around.’ We agree with them.”
Hinting that the week-long trip was more than a ploy to put pressure on Oakland officials, Kaval noted additional trips to Nevada are already being planned. Those trips include more visits to Las Vegas and possibly Carson City to meet with Gov. Steve Sisolak.
Although the A’s and Raiders have had a contentious past, Kaval believes the A’s would be complementary to the Raiders if the team relocates to Las Vegas, especially since they would not be co-tenants at the same facility as they were in Oakland.
“We shared a venue, so obviously that’s not something that would happen here,” Kaval noted. “There’s a long history in any different community of sports teams being community partners, working together to foster community.”
Whenever a decision is made on a location for the A’s new home, it will be the end of a decades-long effort for the team.
“It’s really a 20-year saga,” Kaval said. “We have to understand, we have to make real progress. The process can’t be the product. There actually has to be a destination. We owe it to our community, our fans, our players, Major League Baseball, to find a solution. We are at the point where we have to get resolution.”