Oakland offers A’s five-year, $97M lease extension for Coliseum

Agreement would require MLB team to sell its half of the 155-acre site

Oakland Offers A’s Five-Year, $97M Extension for Coliseum
Mayor Sheng Thao and Oakland Athletics' John Fisher 7000 South Coliseum Way (City of Oakland, Getty, Quintin Soloviev, CC BY 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

The City of Oakland is dangling $97 million before the owner of the Oakland Athletics, hoping to land a contract extension to play at its Coliseum.

The city officials will meet with the MLB team on Tuesday, April 2, to pitch a five-year, $97 million extension of the team’s lease at 7000 South Coliseum Way, the East Bay Times reported, citing documents obtained by ESPN and ABC7.

As part of the deal, which includes an opt-out after three years, the city wants the A’s to sell its half of the 155-acre Coliseum.

That’s a major leap from what the A’s have offered — a two-year deal worth $17 million, according to ESPN’s report, which put the current lease at $1.5 million per year. 

If the team stays the full five years, according to Oakland’s offer, its annual cost would be $19.4 million. If it opts out, the cost would be $32.3 million, according to the East Bay Times.

A major incentive for the A’s to stay in Oakland is the reported $67 million a year from the team’s deal to broadcast games on NBC Sports California. If the team were to leave for Sacramento — one of two cities it has targeted outside of Oakland and Las Vegas —  it could potentially broadcast games on that channel.

The opt-out after three years would align with the A’s target date of opening a proposed stadium on the Las Vegas Strip in time for the 2028 season, though the Tropicana still sits on that site. The casino is set to close Tuesday as owners prepare to demolish it.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

But the team still could be delayed by legal challenges to the $380 million in public funding earmarked for the stadium, which would be MLB’s smallest.

Oakland also asks that the A’s sell its 50 percent share of the Coliseum as part of the deal. 

The city also plans to ask MLB to commit to a year-long exclusive window to negotiate for an expansion team, if and when the league adds franchises, or a vote to leave the A’s brand in Oakland. 

A third alternative, according to ESPN, would be to facilitate the team’s sale to a local buyer. But the A’s owner, billionaire John Fisher, has said repeatedly that he does not plan to sell the A’s, despite fan protests.

The wrangling over the East Oakland stadium comes after a consortium of Black-owned investors offering to buy the Oakland A’s half of the Oakland Coliseum struck out last fall, as the MLB franchise refused to play ball.

The Oakland Athletics rejected an offer from the African American Sports and Entertainment Group, which held up a $5 billion redevelopment plan for the 58-year-old complex that includes the baseball stadium, Oakland Arena and a large parking lot. The group’s plans called for homes, shops and restaurants, nightlife and Black-owned NFL and WNBA teams.

— Dana Bartholomew

Read more