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MLB urges Oakland Athletics to relocate

Delays with new venue plans see league up pressure on local authority.

12 May 2021 Tom Bassam
  • Oakland has lost its NFL and NBA teams in recent years
  • Plans for waterfront venue held up since being unveiled in 2018
  • Las Vegas touted as favourite for relocation

Major League Baseball (MLB) has told the Oakland Athletics that its RingCentral Coliseum is ‘not a viable option for the future vision of baseball’ and said the franchise should explore a relocation.

The Athletics have been pursuing a new home in Oakland for some time and announced plans to develop a waterfront location at Howard’s Terminal in the city port for a new stadium in 2018, with the aim of opening by 2023. That would include building a gondola from downtown Oakland to the new venue, solving the location’s lack of mass transit options.

Those plans have been held up by various redesigns and wrangles with the local authorities. The Athletics asked the Oakland city council to vote on the proposals for the US$12 billion redevelopment project.

Now, MLB is pushing the franchise to make progress and said it should leave Oakland – following the National Football League’ s (NFL) Las Vegas Raiders and National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Golden State Warriors out of the city – if the baseball club cannot agree a planning deal.

‘MLB is concerned with the rate of progress on the A’s new ballpark effort with local officials and other stakeholders in Oakland,’ MLB 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.’

Athletics owner John Fisher said in a statement on 11th May that the franchise would heed MLB’s instructions but that they remain committed to the Oakland project.

‘The future success of the A’s depends on a new ballpark,’ Fisher said. ‘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.’

According to the Associated Press (AP), Las Vegas is the most likely relocation destination for the Athletics. Portland in Oregon, Nashville, Tennessee, as well as the Canadian cities of Vancouver and Montreal are reportedly other possibilities.

MLB has told the Oakland Athletics to consider relocating

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