Black-led consortium wants to buy A’s share of Oakland Coliseum

Team owner shows no interest in selling his half, holding up $5B redevelopment

Black-Led Group Wants to Buy A’s Share of Oakland Coliseum
AASEG's Ray Bobbitt, Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher and 7000 South Coliseum Way (Getty, AASEG, redlegsfan21/CC BY-SA 2.0/via Wikimedia Commons)

The African American Sports and Entertainment Group has offered to buy the Oakland A’s share of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for an undisclosed price.

The Black-led consortium led by Oakland native Ray Bobbitt fired off an offer letter describing its interest in “expediting the future redevelopment” of the 155-acre complex at 7000 South Coliseum Way in East Oakland, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The 57-year-old complex includes the baseball stadium and the Oakland Arena, plus the parking lot between them.

The sports and entertainment group offered to negotiate with the MLB franchise over the terms of a potential buyout, noting the team’s plan to build a new Las Vegas ballpark by 2028.

The offer suggests the Sacramento-based AASEG doesn’t want its plan to redevelop the Coliseum with homes, shops and restaurants, nightlife and Black-owned NFL and WNBA teams to be put at risk by the A’s staying in town too long.

The A’s acquired half the property rights to the Coliseum complex in 2019 for $85 million. The City of Oakland has cut a deal with AASEG for a $5 billion Coliseum redevelopment. The group has offered $115 million to buy the city’s half-interest in the property.

The sports and entertainment consortium includes former Oakland City Manager Robert Bobb, Oakland developer Alan Dones, former chair of the Oakland African American Chamber of Commerce Shonda Scott, former NBA player and sports agent Bill Duffy, and Loop Capital, an African American-owned investment firm. 

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Retired WNBA star Alana Beard has linked up with the group to help lure a women’s professional basketball franchise to the East Bay city. Talks include building a temporary arena for a minor-league soccer team.

The A’s has taken issue with the concrete Coliseum, which is rundown, has sewage problems and an opossum invasion. The franchise itself is the worst in Major League Baseball, with the lowest payroll of all 30 teams.

The Oakland Arena reported its most profitable season last year, with 65 concerts.

The A’s owner, billionaire John Fisher, has given no indication he would agree to a buyout of his share of the property, even as he appears set on a Vegas team move. 

The team is on the hook to find a ballpark by January or risk losing millions in revenue-sharing guaranteed by the MLB. The team said back in February it “could not commit to any meaningful discussions or planning with AASEG” until then.

If the franchise refuses AASEG’s undisclosed offer to buy out its half of the Coliseum, it could throw a wrench into the group’s redevelopment plans. 

— Dana Bartholomew

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