Oakland Athletics exploring options for long-awaited new stadium
By Jon Grossman
November 29, 2021
Photo Credit: Associated Press
Over the last several years, the city of Oakland and the Oakland Athletics have been working towards an agreement for a new stadium in West Oakland. Until recently, however, many thought Oakland was on the brink of losing its last professional sports team. With some recent progress being made, there appears to be a sense of hope among the organization and its fans.
So far, Alameda County has given preliminary approval to a financing district for the A’s new ballpark, as well as surrounding areas. While this is technically non-binding, it is a critical step in allowing negotiations to continue. The current proposal includes a $1 billion stadium and roughly $11 billion in local development in retail, housing, and more. While these development projects would certainly benefit the area financially, they have also been the center of disputes over the displacement of West Oakland residents. The A’s view their “transit-first” approach, which is rooted in cutting down car rides to the stadium and prioritizing the accessibility of public transportation, as their biggest strength.
In order for the stadium project to come to fruition, the city council will have to vote to give the green light for construction to begin. The club also needs to submit an Environment Impact Report for review by the city and general public for a minimum of 45 days. Ideally, the A’s hope the city council will be able to vote by the end of the year, which would allow for construction ahead of a potential 2024 opening.
James Manriquez, who was a part of the Athletics business analytics department for two years, was kind enough to sit down with me for an interview regarding the new stadium project. When speaking about the potential move, Manriquez reasoned that “it takes a toll on any fan base,” but that retaining the A’s would be a “big win for the city for years to come.” Manriquez also pointed out that the A’s new stadium is long overdue and that “they need a new ballpark at the end of the day.”
There is a lot to be said, however, about the potential benefits of a move to a different city. One city that has been rumored is Las Vegas, which is proving their appetite for professional sports with the arrival of the Golden Knights and Raiders. In fact, the Raiders attendance increased from 53,539 on average in 2019 to 60,547 in 2021, the fourth largest increase in NFL. While part of this can be attributed to a larger stadium, it shows the difference in demand for professional sports between the two cities. If this is the case, the A’s certainly have many financial incentives to move to a city such as Las Vegas. The A’s will likely do whatever makes the most economic sense, and while they hope that means remaining in Oakland, it is far from a guarantee.