Congratulations, just in time for Lew Wolff stepping away from his role as villain-in-chief of the Oakland Athletics ownership group, the A’s will no longer rely on what was an over $30 million revenue sharing check. That total will be phased out over the next four years, reports Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the idea being that the A’s will by that time be well on their way to constructing a new baseball park, whether at the Coliseum, elsewhere in Oakland, or elsewhere in North America.
Of course, the anticipated loss of revenue sharing, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser at the end of October, could be the big reason why Mr. Wolff sold most of his minority share of the team and stepped away as managing partner. What happens next is that the A’s must make up the shortfall somehow. The obvious thing is that the drawdown is designed to force the A’s to build a baseball stadium in order to make up the lost revenue.
But now with Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf going along with Ronnie Lott’s investment group’s proposal to keep the Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum site, the A’s future becomes a little less clear. Mayor Schaaf’s hope is that, while there is still much to be arranged in finalizing any proposal to build a new football stadium in Oakland and Mark Davis is dead set on Las Vegas, the preliminary plans will be enough to make NFL owners postpone a decision on where the Raiders should ultimately play for another season, reports the Chronicle’s Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross.
It’s not an impossible ask. The NFL long used Los Angeles as its cudgel to make local politicos elsewhere give away huge sums to fund NFL stadiums. There’s little reason why this cabal of billionaires would treat Las Vegas any differently.
And if the A’s end up needing to find a baseball stadium site that’s not at the Coliseum, they’ll have to make a bigger ask for public money, whether that be remediating Howard Terminal and massively rearranging the transportation infrastructure for game day and freight traffic or finding a place for Laney College athletics or doing something else.
And what happens when the City of Oakland balks at the bigger number and the A’s have no place to go in the East Bay? Well, Montreal beckons.
It could all work out, and I’m hopeful that the new leadership in place can make an A’s stadium work. All that losing revenue sharing does is force the issue. Instead of waiting for an opportune moment to take over the Coliseum site, A’s fans are at the mercy of events.