Oakland’s Sporting Hopes Dim
The city of Oakland is having a hard time convincing the hometown major league baseball team, the Oakland A’s, to keep the "Oakland." As we recently explained, the team is considering skipping town for greener sporting pastures in a new baseball stadium proposed to be built in nearby San Jose. Oakland is still trying to hold on, with offers to either revamp the team’s existing stadium, the O.co Coliseum, or to build a brand new stadium. But the city recently announced that plans for a new stadium are kaput, leaving only the renovation on the table – and the chances that the A's stick around dwindling.
As the Oakland Tribune reports, the change of heart on the proposed waterfront ballpark known as Victory Court boils down to the recent dissolution of redevelopment agencies in California. Without redevelopment funds, the city won’t be able to afford a new stadium.
What that means for Oakland is that if it’s going to hold onto the A’s – not to mention the Oakland Raiders, which shares the Coliseum – it’s going to have to act quickly to renovate the stadium. The proposed new baseball stadium in San Jose has already completed its environmental impact review, and nearby Santa Clara is almost ready to begin building a new football stadium for the San Francisco 49ers – a stadium the Raiders could feasibly share.
Oakland hasn’t yet approved the $3.7 million contract to conduct planning and environmental reviews on the Coliseum’s renovation, as the Tribune reports. Environmental reviews could take 15 months.
The longer the city delays getting that process moving, the more progress its sports-hungry neighbors will be able to make. But one question still remains as prescient as it is controversial: should the city even want to keep the teams?
Fans are obviously saying yes, but tight budgets and increasingly serious competition are causing many in the city to think maybe no.
Top image credit: Reuters/Beck Diefenbach