OAKLAND – The A’s and the city of Oakland, at long last, have finalized an agreement on a 10-year lease that could keep the team playing at the Coliseum through the 2024 season.
All that’s left is for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors to approve the lease on July 29, and the county has said all along it would approve the deal. So, after more than 14 months of oftentimes contentious negotiations, the A’s have a long-term deal to remain at the Coliseum, their home since 1968. Their current lease was due to expire after next season.
“We appreciate the cooperation and efforts of Oakland city officials in this process and are optimistic that our negotiations have led to a fair and mutually-beneficial relationship,” A’s managing partner Lew Wolff said in a statement. “Most of all, we are happy for our great fans who, pending the county’s vote, will know that the Oakland Athletics will continue to play its games at O.co Coliseum.”
The bigger question, of course, is whether this agreement helps open the door to serious negotiations for the team to build a new ballpark on the current Coliseum site. Wolff sounds more agreeable than ever to consider such a project. In a letter to Oakland officials last week, Wolff said the team is considering whether it can make an offer to buy the property that the Coliseum currently sits on, which is owned jointly by the city and Alameda County.
Among features of the 10-year lease: The A’s can leave the Coliseum after the 2018 season but they must pay the remaining rent money through 2024. If the Raiders execute a plan to build a new football stadium that would require demolition of the current Coliseum, the A’s can be asked to leave but must be given two years’ notice.
“We know we’re going to be here a while so that’s a good thing,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said before Tuesday’s game against Houston. “It had so many twists and turns and plots to it, I think everybody tuned it out as far as the players go. You just assume you’re gonna play here regardless. But to actually have it done is a good thing.”