According to a recent ESPN article, the Oakland Athletics are starting to look at the idea of potentially relocating if Major League Baseball allows it. The potential relocation is one that the team hopes will put added pressure on local authorities in Oakland and the Bay Area to advocate for a new stadium that has been pondered for years.
The franchise has had a team in Oakland since 1968 at RingCentral Stadium, which is fairly outdated when compared to other modern-day ballparks across the majors. The stadium is now 55 years old and does not provide modern-day amenities and revenue streams typically found in more recently constructed stadiums.
The team has tried a number of times to get a new stadium built in downtown Oakland but has been unable to strike a deal with local city council officials for enough funding. The A’s have already pursued getting a ballpark built in nearby Fremont and San Jose but have come up empty.
The latest setback occurred in early May and now has the team looking into the other option of relocating. This recent proposal, called the “Howard Terminal project”, would have meant a privately funded $1 billion stadium along with affordable housing and other commercial space in the area.
Officials involved with the A’s still intend to try to get a deal done but this latest setback means that a new stadium would not be completed until at least 2027.
The potential relocation of the A’s from Oakland would leave the city without a team after the NBA’s Golden State Warriors left recently to nearby San Francisco and the Raiders moved out of the area entirely to Las Vegas.
Of course, Major League Baseball would prefer to keep the team in Oakland and oversee the building of a new stadium rather than a full relocation. The league is opposed to the team rebuilding a new stadium at the current site while the A’s lease expires in 2024.
There are a number of other cities that would be happy to give the A’s a new home in the near future if it were to occur. Other potential landing spots for the team include Las Vegas, Nashville, Charlotte, Portland, and Montreal.
For now, the A’s will play in Oakland but there is certainly an added sense of urgency after the latest setback. The A’s have moved twice in their own history, first from Philadelphia to Kansas City and then to Oakland. The last team to relocate was the then Montreal Expos to Washington D.C., where they became the Washington Nationals.