Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred told Oakland officials the Athletics could move to Las Vegas if the city doesn’t drop a current lawsuit, mayor Libby Schaaf confirmed Tuesday in a television interview.
The city of Oakland is trying to stop Alameda County from selling its share of the Coliseum to the team. The city and county share ownership of the stadium.
Oakland wants Alameda County to sell its half of the stadium to the city instead of to the A’s. A judge issued a temporary restraining order last week blocking the transaction. The mayor told KTVU she objected to the city’s lawsuit.
The San Francisco Chronicle first reported that Manfred, in a meeting last week, threatened that the A’s would move if the city’s lawsuit was not dropped. Schaaf confirmed that story.
The A’s, who have sought a new stadium for years, are trying to build a ballpark on the Oakland waterfront. To do that, the team must acquire all or part of the stadium land and develop the land commercially to help subsidize the new venue.
Alameda County was on board with the team’s plan and moved to sell its ownership stake in the Coliseum to the A’s. That resulted in the city’s attempt to try and stop the transaction.
The Chronicle reported the city can’t match the A’s offer of $85 million.
The NFL’s Oakland Raiders — who have also played in the Coliseum — are moving to Las Vegas in 2020. Schaaf said Manfred’s choice of a possible relocation city was intentional.
“Obviously he chose his city wisely as far as exposing a pain-point that all Oaklanders feel about losing our sports teams,” she said.
A’s president Dave Kaval said last week the team was “blindsided” by the restraining order being granted.
“I will say though that I absolutely see a path to a new ballpark right ... at Howard Terminal,” Schaaf said. “As well as really giving the A’s the opportunity to do a community-serving development out at the Coliseum as well as to maintain that as a background plan. I see this path. I am confident we will get there.”
—Field Level Media