OAKLAND (CBS SF) — It’s a scenario that is all too familiar to Oakland sports fans – officials from one of their beloved pro sports franchises traveling to Las Vegas to consider relocating.
The Oakland Athletics confirmed Tuesday that president and co-owner Dave Kaval and other team officials will travel to Nevada next week to meet with local city and county officials about a possible move by the franchise to Sin City.
It was the same path followed years ago by Mark Davis and the NFL’s Raiders franchise, who were in search of a new stadium and turned their attention to Las Vegas. The team moved into a new state-of-the-art facility in Nevada before last season, leaving behind a heartbroken fan base.
But the team was also quick to point out Tuesday they have not given up on their hopes of building a new waterfront ballpark in Oakland at the Howard Street Terminal.
Just as the buzz was swelling over the Las Vegas trip, Kaval tweeted that the team had “a great zoom negotiation session” with Oakland officials Tuesday morning.
— Dave Kaval (@DaveKaval) May 18, 2021
It was just a week ago that the A’s were given a green light by Major League Baseball to consider relocating to cities outside of the San Francisco Bay Area.
The team and league have both gotten frustrated by the lack of progress and endless meetings surrounding the A’s ownership’s desire to find an alternative site to the aging Oakland Coliseum.
The A’s want to build a ballpark and mixed-use development at the Port of Oakland that would include up to 3,000 residential units, a hotel, parks, and commercial and retail space.
“The future success of the A’s depends on a new ballpark,” said team majority owner John Fisher. “Oakland is a great baseball town, and we will continue to pursue our waterfront ballpark project. We will also follow MLB’s direction to explore other markets.”
Major League Baseball officials agree.
“MLB is concerned with the rate of progress on the A’s new ballpark effort with local officials and other stakeholders in Oakland,” league officials said in a statement. “The A’s have worked very hard to advance a new ballpark in downtown Oakland for the last four years, investing significant resources while facing multiple roadblocks. We know they remain deeply committed to succeeding in Oakland, and with two other sports franchises recently leaving the community, their commitment to Oakland is now more important than ever.
“The Oakland Coliseum site is not a viable option for the future vision of baseball. We have instructed the Athletics to begin to explore other markets while they continue to pursue a waterfront ballpark in Oakland. The Athletics need a new ballpark to remain competitive, so it is now in our best interest to also consider other markets.”
Following the last week’s announcement, a spokesperson for Mayor Libby Schaaf’s office said the city shared the league’s urgency.
“Today’s statement makes clear that the only viable path to keeping the A’s rooted in Oakland is a ballpark on the waterfront,” said the mayor’s office. “We have made great strides with the Governor’s certification and release of the EIR. Now, with the recent start of financial discussions with the A’s, we call on our entire community – regional and local partners included — to rally together and support a new, financially viable, fiscally responsible, world-class waterfront neighborhood that enhances our city and region, and keeps the A’s in Oakland where they belong.”