The Oakland Athletics will begin looking into relocating from their current city after getting the green light from Major League Baseball to do so, as first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan on Tuesday.
The initial hope is that the prospect of searching for a new hometown will get the local government in Oakland to OK a $12 billion multi-use development at the Howard Terminal site. It’s just the latest proposal sent in by the Athletics to which they’ve received little no support from the city.
“The future success of the A’s depends on a new ballpark,” A’s owner John Fisher said in a statement (h/t ESPN). “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.”
Oakland’s seemingly inactive local government has already lost two of its previous three “Big 4” sports teams after the Golden State Warriors moved to San Francisco and the Oakland Raiders headed east to Las Vegas —a city that Passan mentions as a potential frontrunner for the Athletics should they leave Oakland. Other cities that could be interested in welcoming the Athletics would be Portland, Vancouver, Nashville, Charlotte, and Montreal.
The Athletics have called Oakland home since 1968 having moved two times before that. The franchise was established in 1901 in Philadelphia before moving to Kansas City in 1955.
They’ve spent the last 55 years at the RingCentral Coliseum, which is dilapidated and considered by many to be one of the worst ballparks in the majors. Updating the stadium is not a “viable” option, according to MLB.
“MLB is concerned with the rate of progress on the A’s new ballpark effort with local officials and other stakeholders in Oakland,” a statement from the league read. “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.”