OAKLAND (CBS SF) — A high-profile visit to a proposed site for a waterfront ballpark for the Oakland A’s is giving new hope for fans of both the A’s and the Raiders that their teams will stay in town.
Port of Oakland engineers escorted A’s majority owner John Fisher Thursday afternoon on a tour of Howard Terminal, a 50-acre site on the waterfront just steps from Jack London Square.
While this could be the visit that brings about a brand new A’s ballpark – it could also be a dog-and-pony show that means a whole lot of nothing, as so many other stay-in-Oakland proposals have.
“There’s interest. This is exploratory,” said Port of Oakland spokesman Mike Zampa. “It’s preliminary so I wouldn’t read too much into it yet.”
Mayor Libby Schaaf and city leaders have long encouraged the A’s to build a stadium at the site.
The challenge is the lack of public transit and the amount of money needed to clean up the site. Right now, it’s an active part of the port.
Sources say Fisher brought along his own engineers to evaluate the site and the potential costs.
If the A’s are willing to build at the terminal, city leaders and fans say it would benefit the Oakland Raiders since the Raiders could take full control of the Coliseum site and stay in town.
“A win-win for the Oakland A’s, our politicians and the Oakland Raiders,” said Griz Jones, founder of the fan group Forever Oakland.
“If this comes to fruition, we’ve been talking about it, it would definitely be a game changer,” said Chris Dobbins, co-founder of the group Save Oakland Sports.
It wasn’t all good news for Raiders fans Thursday. The team this week filed a trademark application for the name “Las Vegas Raiders.”
Las Vegas leaders Thursday also released artistic renderings of a football stadium just off the strip.
“It’s a kick in the face for Oakland Raiders fans,” said Dobbins. “Just because they get a trademark doesn’t mean they’re moving because of all the hurdles.”
As far as the proposed Howard Terminal ballpark site, A’s co-owner Lew Wolff has said he doesn’t like the site because of the associated costs and lack of transit.
But Wolff said the decision is now up to majority-owner Fisher, who has taken charge of the site search aspect of the stadium issue.