The Oakland A’s 2021 season is over, but new rumblings are beginning in the eternal quest for a new stadium.
When we last checked in, back in July, the Oakland City Council approved a non-binding term sheet for the Howard Terminal ballpark and surrounding development. However, it wasn’t quite the same terms the team had proposed, meaning the two sides still had details to figure out regarding funding. One possible solution involved money being chipped in by Alameda County, and the county was set to discuss the matter in late October.
In the meantime, the A’s are keeping the option of relocation on the table in case they don’t work out a deal to stay in the Bay Area. They’ve continued to explore options in Las Vegas.
Here are the latest updates.
On Tuesday, the Hayward City Council put support behind getting the county involved in the A’s project. They voted “to recommend Alameda County look at opting in to the tax district — capturing tax revenue beyond what’s already there — to cover some of the infrastructure improvements for the Athletics Howard Terminal ballpark development,” reports Ron Leuty of the SF Business Times.
Also this week, Keith Carson, President of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, said the following in a letter to colleagues, via Brodie Brazil of NBCS:
On September 19th I received a letter from Supervisors Haubert and Valle regarding the Oakland A’s Stadium item set for discussion on Tuesday, October 26th.
Per the request of Supervisors Haubert and Valle I am placing this item on the October 26, 2021, Board of Supervisors agenda as a 12:00pm Set Matter, for discussion and possible action on a resolution declaring the County of Alameda’s non-binding intent to contribute the County’s share of incremental property taxes to finance portions of the City of Oakland’s Waterfront Ballpark at Howard Terminal for 45 years through an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District (EIFD).
On Friday, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said the following to Casey Pratt of ABC7:
“I feel very confident there will be a (County) vote on Tuesday and that vote will be YES. I commend the county for the due diligence that they have performed over these last several weeks, to really dig into the numbers and economic benefits for them and their mission — particularly to deliver on public health.”
Pratt continued with some analysis:
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors vote would be non-binding. It’s important they sign on to the on-site IFD so key parts of the deal can be finalized. “Anything but an affirmative YES vote will confirm to the Commissioner of Major League Baseball that there is not a path.” So what’s next?? Once the County signs on, they can reach a final financial plan. The EIR release is expected before the end of the year. Development Agreement would come shortly after. All these things are needed before binding vote.
The next step comes on Oct. 26, with the county hopefully having a vote and choosing yes.
Two decades into their stadium saga, the A’s and MLB are playing hardball this time around. While the process continues here in the Bay Area, the A’s have also begun reaching out to Las Vegas about the possibility of moving there.
Last week in an interview with the Sports Business Journal, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred cast pessimism on keeping the A’s in Oakland, and again broached the idea of relocation:
“It’s dragged on so long. Frankly, in some ways, we’re not sure we see a path to success in terms of getting something built in Oakland.”
After the World Series is over, the A’s are expected to announce a list of finalists among potential locations in Vegas.
None of this provides any new answers, but it’s progress. There might be a real update about Howard Terminal next week, and the team isn’t easing off the pressure as they keep escalating their public flirtation with Vegas.