Coliseum Authority, MLB, A’s considering up to 5-year extension

The Chronicle’s Matier and Ross are reporting that the A’s and the Coliseum JPA are in talks regarding what could be a five-year extension at the Coliseum. As expected, MLB is facilitating the negotiations, which is sensible considering the sides’ general chilliness towards one another. There are a couple of interesting bits to the talks:

The lease was handed over to the team three weeks ago, and while details are still to be worked out, A’s managing partner Lew Wolff told us that he is “absolutely” interested in reaching an agreement.

“Even if we were building a new ballpark, it wouldn’t be ready until then anyway,” Wolff said.

According to insiders, one possible problem may be the $50 million penalty the Coliseum wants if the team leaves early for San Jose.

First of all, Wolff is basically admitting that a ballpark wouldn’t be ready until 2018. That’s a two-year slip from previous statements. Whether that’s a process issue or more a Giants mortgage issue isn’t clear. In any case it’s a long ways off.

The $50 million exit penalty is a potential showstopper. The A’s have had exit penalties in previous lease extension, but those simply had the A’s pay the remainder of the lease upfront (plus perhaps a nominal fee) to get out. In this case the JPA is using leverage (no other MLB ballpark in the A’s territory) to effectively force the A’s to stay or pay off more of the horrendously bad Mt. Davis deal.

Wolff, for his part, says he’s interested in reaching a deal. Probably not this deal, though. He probably wants something more along the lines of the three-year deals (plus two one-year options) he bargained for previously. And a $50 million exit penalty is not something I can see either Wolff or MLB approving. To put it in perspective: the A’s haven’t paid $50 million combined in rent since Mt. Davis was built, and that was 17 years ago.

The Coliseum Authority could be playing hardball here, or it could be starting off asking for the moon. It’s the first step of a negotiation that could last all winter, and could get very testy as it moves along. We’re a long way from the situation I described in August, but if that exit penalty is real and the JPA isn’t budging on it, MLB could very well get the impetus it needs to look elsewhere.

82 Responses to Coliseum Authority, MLB, A’s considering up to 5-year extension

  1. Dirty says:

    @JH510 where has ownership ever said “the fans of Oakland are not worth building a stadium for?” Again, where has he specifically said that? In a number of ways, he has explained his position that the financing is not there to currently make an Oakland stadium a reality, but how does that mean he thinks the Oakland fans aren’t worth it? Are you just inferring this? Because then I can infer that the city of Oakland hasn’t thought ALL of us fans aren’t worth it to legitimately identify a location, commit to it, and vouch its viability. I can’t find a quote from Quan or any other Oakland politician to support that claim but it’s just as legitimate as yours.
    I don’t want to incite a war or words between anyone/everyone else, so I’ll leave it at that. I agree with you otherwise, I’d prefer not to talk about this stuff anymore and just focus on the A’s in the playoffs.
    Let’s go OAKLAND!

  2. berry says:

    I blame Quan Chris dobbins for all the confusion there putting on us Oakland supporters . No real plan, just failed site after failed site. I mean look how this woman has 0 clue on how to handle this situation. I’m from Oakland but I love the A’s , Raiders and Warrirs tttoo much to let Oakland let them all rot in the coliseum.

  3. Brian says:

    “Besides the obvious reason, I’m hoping the A’s make it to win the WS so the MLB will have to deal with their marquee event of the year being played on a field with visible football markings, etc, in a stadium that is ugly. ”

    Football markings at the World Series? Oh no! Hopefully the apocalypse will not occur because of this first-ever desecration of a World Series field…well, first except for this:
    and this:
    and this:
    and even worse, Canadian football markings:
    In fact, there were only 6 World Series (’77, ’78, ’81, ’84, ’86, and ’88) between 1956 and 1998 that were not played in at least one stadium shared with a football team.
    Modern baseball fans crack me up. We’re there to watch a game, not look at the pretty field. I never understood why the new stadiums with contrived angles that serve no purpose are good, but football markings which serve a purpose are bad.

  4. Marine Layer says:

    @Brian – All of your examples are prior to the new ballpark movement. Baseball HAS actually learned something from that mess. Except in Oakland.

  5. jeffrey says:

    Football markings serve no purpose on a baseball field…

  6. Anon says:

    Oh brother, here we go again…another pro-Oaklander who takes one game as if it excuses the 44 years of futility at the Coliseum:

  7. Tony D. says:

    The rush of East Bay pride?! Are you @#$%& kidding me?! Its crap like that that doesn’t make me feel bad one bit over the A’s eventual departure from Oakland. Yeah, the hell with those in attendance from SJ/SCCO, Tri-Valley, Fremont, North Bay, Hollister and Eureka. May the traditional SF/Oak media rot where its hot!

  8. dmoas says:

    Uh, Brian, the cookie cutter dimensions are actually a more modern trait. Look at most classic ballparks and find one that doesn’t have peculiar angles, etc. On a Major League field these days, with all the money involved, you pretty much want pristine field conditions.

  9. JH510 says:

    I thought my last post was going to really be my last on this, but the one thing that gets me is when people put words in my mouth (or comment, as it were) that aren’t there…
    @Tony D.: I did not say that all fans at the Coliseum were from Oakland. My point was, there is a baseball stadium located within the city limits of Oakland, California that was filled with over 36,000 passionate fans to watch the A’s play a game.
    What got those fans out? The enjoyment of seeing a good team in the playoff hunt. Beyond just a good team, what gets people to a game? Its not a 40 year old stadium with nothing around it. Would a new waterfront stadium get a lot of the same people out on a regular basis? I argue it would, period. Please commence your disagreement, but at least know thats where I stand.
    @Dirty: you make a very fair point, and I will recant on saying that ownership has ever said fans who want a stadium in Oakland aren’t worth building it for. Rather, I guess what I was saying, is that fans I know who live in Oakland and the greater East Bay believe that’s how Lew Wolff feels, and have responded as such when deciding whether to spend money on tickets that go into current ownership’s pockets.
    Why do these fans feel this way? Wolff has gone on record saying, “I have no plan B after San Jose, but it is certainly not Oakland.” When a group of Oakland backers approached Lew Wolff about Oakland locations and the potential of selling the team to an ownership group that would keep the team in Oakland, they were told the team is not for sale.
    Obviously this oversimplifies the years of work that has already happened, the discussions had between ownership and various cities around the Bay Area, extensive studies done, and the dire need for the City of Oakland to take the lead on identifying the best site in Oakland (agree 100% with you on that, @Dirty). But all I can give you is some insight into why some Oakland fans feel, and act, the way they do. Say what you will about whether you agree with that or not (and I know most of you will) but I’m just trying to sum it up.
    In conclusion, I guess I’ll finish with just one more quote from Lew Wolff, which may give you a bit more insight into why fans in Oakland may never be convinced he really wants to see a downtown Oakland stadium:
    “If I was going to pursue a ballpark, I would certainly do it in San Jose, not depend on a vote outside of San Jose, and I would work through the mayor and the Redevelopment Agency,” said Lew Wolff, a key figure in San Jose’s downtown renaissance. “It’s the difference between a big-league city and a nonbig-league city. I wouldn’t spend five minutes on any other city besides San Jose.”
    That quote was from 2005. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a similar quote about the A’s current home city.

  10. JH510 says:

    RE my last post: sorry, that was a typo. The quote was taken from 1998.

  11. JH510 says:

    @pllraz: ok, one more, just because I can’t stand when people call fans at the Coliseum an embarrassment (which of course, is your right) and because I’m an attendance/stats nerd.
    September 17, 1987, Candlestick Park: the Giants are in first place and hosting the 3rd place Houston Astros, with 11 days until they clinch their playoff spot on their way to eventually losing to the Cardinals in the NLCS later that year.
    What was the attendance at that game? 23,317. Personally, I would argue an antiquated facility, crumby weather, and lack of downtown amenities around the park contributed to that number in attendance, as it did throughout the Giants’ years at Candlestick, in stark contrast to their attendance at a new waterfront downtown stadium.
    I guess my point is, I disagree that only 20k showing up to see a team in a playoff hunt in a stadium like the Coliseum (or Candlestick) is an “embarrassment” as it relates to fans, nor does it reflect the true local support for the baseball team in Oakland in 2012 (or San Francisco in 1987).

  12. Mike2 says:

    We all know Oakland needs a stadium in a Urban site. Be it in San Jose, Oakland, or some place in the Bay Area is mute at this point. We can all agree to disagree on why the stadium numbers are what they are. The cause and effect of two ownership groups trying to move the team out of Oakland for 16 years now, stadium conditions, the lack of amenities around the O.Coliseum or whatever name its going to be next year Coliseum all have contributed to lack of fan support during the regular season. I have pretty much been to all MLB parks in my time outside of Tampa and Miami, and I can honestly say the Coliseum is one of the few stadiums (unless you are tailgating where most people want to get in and get out quickly before and after games.

    Oakland also has the most promotions that I have ever seen for a sports club, and I am sure I am not alone in this observation. We all know that until this teams stadium issues are resolved we will continue to see Spartan crowds until a new stadium is built. You can’t rely on giveaways or fireworks shows to draw crowds, or the A’s to be this good all the time. We can all admit we never saw this coming back in December, I for one thought the A’s would lose 90 games this year. Hopefully there is some sort of resolution at the end of the year and the team will know it status. If the team does get the rights to move to SJ than congrats to the A’s, and in 5-10 years this team should have the resources to outspend most Major League clubs if they so desire. (No I will not do a numbers crunch to support my statement lol)

    I have feeling that if they do move you will see a lot of East Bay fans switch their allegiance to the Giants, some will hate the A’s because they left town, others will not support the team due to ticket prices being significantly higher than they are now. Others will not support the team due to the distance from the East Bay to SJ. I am hoping the A’s move back to Philly so I can start wearing my Philly A’s gear (Just kidding but I did just get a replica Philly A’s uniform and hat made).

  13. berry says:

    Whoa (chill) well what can I say? Lew Wolff loves san jose and really has a big plan to develop it with a new A’s ballpark in sj. I wish lew would see that Oakland had potential.. its just that we don’t have a very good quarterback running this team I.e Quan and city of Oakland leaders. U know jh510. Oakland has the most power in this situation if u think about it. They could easily halt lew Wolff run at san Jose of they could pick just a ONE site to stick too and have a funding plan that they will be in the hook for to build the new ballpark. That would easily get Selig to say that Oakland is viable and to leave the Sf giants territory alone…..but no.. oakland has yet to do that but throw empty rallies.

  14. jeffrey says:

    JH, how can you call yourself an “attendance stats nerd” when you fail to accept that there has been no team in all of baseball with worse performance versus MLB median than the Oakland A’s for a period of 4 decades?
    I am all for a stadium in Oakland. I disagree that a “waterfront” park is all it will take to bring in big crowds. A stadium in Oakland or San Jose will have to have some serious differentiation in order to compete (and not favorably, by the way. just toe to toe) with AT&T Park.
    I have been to several new MLB stadiums and AT&T is easily in the top 3 aesthetically. It draws people all by itself. An A’s stadium will need to be different in order to be better, or more importantly, comparable. The argument that all it takes is a waterfront park is both simplistic and naive.
    Ask yourself this… Is Howard Terminal in a position to match AT&T’s waterfront charm? Objective people know this answer with very little thought. It’s simply put “no.” Look at the struggle that it has ben for decades to develop Jack London Square. It takes more than a waterfront to make something attractive and accessible.
    Oakland would be better served to look at what makes Camden Yards so successful. Baltimore has an excellent waterfront, but it’s ball yard doesn’t prominently feature the waterfront in any way, shape or form. A similar aesthetic exists in Washington DC. It’s right on a river, but it doesn’t feature the river in any way at all. San Diego has a great waterfront, but the stadium isn’t built there.
    Copying AT&T 10 miles away is a recipe for disaster.
    Another thing to consider, all this bluster about the last game of the year misses the point. The argument has always been no one shows up unless the A’s are doing something extraordinary. Wednesday just reinforces that idea (fair or not).
    And it pisses me off that we even have to still talk about this ridiculous situation.

  15. JH510 says:

    @Jeffrey: thanks for the follow up.
    I guess I’ll just keep beating my dead horse, but all I do is look over to Candlestick vs. Oakland Coliseum attendance during the 70s-90s, and thats all I really need to see for how much faith I put into annual attendance figures related to viability of fan base. Taking into account the last decade of attendance at the Coliseum, and the impact of having to go “toe to toe” with AT&T, just seems superflous.
    Regarding “aesthetics,” we can agree to disagree about what has more potential, a downtown Oakland site on the water, or a site in downtown San Jose.
    And I completely agree, nobody shows up to watch the A’s unless something extraordinary is happening. What I take issue with is what causes that. Some argue its the apathy of East Bay fans, I argue its the facility. Again, agree to disagree.
    But overall, your last point is most relevant. What is the point of even talking about this situation on here any more? We all just get riled up, and nothing changes.
    See you all in Oakland on Tuesday.

  16. berry says:

    I agree with Jeffrey.

    Let’s say lew Wolff decided to stay in Oakland. If u map out Oakland the best places to put the team was in an article marine layer wrote ten years ago go build the A’s a ballpark best grand lake area. Can u imagine a ballpark truly in the middle of Oakland by its more attractive area in piedmont….sigh….the only other place I can think of hypothetically would be the 980 site. It would be cool because downtown Oakland and west Oakland would be connected and it would be the closet to downtown and bart.

  17. David says:

    @Jeffrey – who said anyone was going to copy AT&T? No one has even got a site through the initial process of evaluation. There are no official plans drawn by an Architect. I want a stadium in Oakland. I’ll HT or CC, or wherever. And it will have its own particular charm. I don’t think anyone is talking about building a stadium and putting a big Pepsi bottle in LF.
    @all – Lew Wolff is responsible for the poor attendance since 2006 period! You all know the facts, but so many choose not to see what’s going on right in front of their own eyes. Hardcore fans will never stop going, but Lew Wolff gave up on the casual fan, the day his group bought the franchise. You have to know your market. Wolff doesn’t know his.

  18. jeffrey says:

    David… Read Let’s Go Oakland’s sign up page:
    “Let’s Go Oakland! is a group of A’s fans, business people, labor and community leaders who are committed to keeping the A’s in Oakland — and building a new, destination ballpark on the waterfront.
    But it’s about much more than just building a ballpark. As part of a larger plan to build new hotels, restaurants, and cafes, a new destination stadium will attract visitors from all over the region. Like AT&T Park did for San Francisco, our ballpark will be a catalyst to bring new investment and jobs to Oakland, kick-starting the next phase of our community’s successful economic development.”
    Their inspiration sounds pretty clear, no?

  19. PJ says:

    Wolff-ie has no choice but to re-up, no matter how bad the Mausoleum is or bad the market for making a bigger profit. Getting to the series won’t make an actual Oak. “solution” materialize or force the Gi-ants to give in and hurt their biz by allowing the A’z to invade SJ, the business of MLB doesn’t work that way.
    Wolff-ie & co. knows that the financial upside of SJ far outweighs anything that Oak. can scrape together.
    The region can support only one SOMA-type renaissance area, not two – especially one in Oak.
    Phillies won’t allow the A’z into their territory and the franchises to the north and south won’t want the shrinking $$$ pie to be cut up into smaller pieces.
    A’z are stuck between a rock – no out-of-market alternatives to use as leverage and a hard place – Gi-ants stranglehold on SC County and their domination of the market.

  20. eb says:

    “Like AT&T Park did for San Francisco, our ballpark will be a catalyst to bring new investment and jobs to Oakland, kick-starting the next phase of our community’s successful economic development.”
    That has nothing to due with design or aesthetic influence. At&t park was a privately financed success. The only one, really, of its kind. Why wouldn’t you take inspirations from it regarding economic development and community impact?

  21. David says:

    @eb – that’s exactly what I was thinking. How it can get done financially, is different than what the finished product “looks like”. Waterfront or landlocked, you still want to have bars, cafes, etc. and that facilitates, hopefully, further “economic development”.

  22. berry says:

    Too bad its not happening in Oakland….don’t blame the owners neither. Oakland shouod have cleaned up the streets on their own dime to at least show that coliseum city can be attactive. I feel bad for the kids of future east bay that won’t have ANY teams. I hope San Jose and San Francisco treat the A’s and Warriors right, like Oakland should have.

  23. letsgoas says:

    so you don’t think the raiders will be staying. out of all three east bay teams, they’re the most likely to stay unless they move back to la but i don’t think la wants anything to do with the raiders especially if they can bring in the chargers and bring back the rams.

  24. Tony D. says:

    Wolff responsible for poor attendance? C’mon man, you’re better than that! You’re starting to sound like some folks blaming good poll and jobs numbers on a vast liberal conspiracy. Completely ridiculous!

  25. berry says:


    Hopefully letsgoas, hopefully the city of Oakland will have to face some type of PRESSURE, from the people or people within the city ranks, that might view the Raiders leaving too much of a blow for the city to take… so maybe just maybe Oakland will have a plan to keep… but ml touched on the “ballad of mark davis” topic… and preety much Mark has options… does he and Mama Davis wanna stay? yeah.. but they wont wait a long forever..

    meanwhile.. Cmon A’s lets win game 2… at least the sf gnats lost : ) he he

  26. letsgoas says:

    the only place the raiders can go is back to la. we all know it’s likely the chargers will be one of those teams being brought to play in whatever new nfl stadium is built within the next 4-5 years. then you got a group of maybe three other teams in the raiders, jags, and rams. really don’t think the bills who also have issues with their situation in buf are a candidate to move cross country to la.

    i don’t know what the current deal is with those teams and the lease they have with those other cities. if somehow the city of la and the nfl can get either the rams or jags to la, really the raiders are “stuck” in the bay area for as long as i can see as i doubt the raiders owners whoever they are will want to move anywhere else out of oakland other than back to la. then the question is whether they wanna stick it out as the second tenant at the niners new stadium in santa clara or stay at the coliseum as it is now for the next decade until a new stadium is built somewhere in oakland. really don’t believe the raiders or even the city of oakland would want to “renovate” the coliseum much and then build a new stadium. also don’t know if they wanna do as it’s been suggested many times already about keeping the mt davis portion of the stadium and then building a new other 1/2 western part of the venue. i don’t think the coliseum is that terrible for football as it is for baseball, it’s serviceable for maybe another half decade. there could be a handful of improvements made but the raiders i think eventually will want to play in a brand new state of the area football stadium eventually and not another “half ass” renovation as some felt the mid 90s conversion was ruining a quality baseball park into a mediocre at best venue for both sports.

  27. Dirty says:

    @David “No one has even got a site through the initial process of evaluation. There are no official plans drawn by an Architect.”
    Yeah, so that’s exactly the problem.
    How patient are you willing to be? I mean, damn, I’m pretty patient but at some point there has to be some sort of plan from Oakland’s leadership. It’s not fair for them to have great fans like you who are so willing to protect and defend Oakland while they continue to bumble, play politics and leave EVERYONE in the dark. That’s not fair. To you, to me or anyone else in this mess.
    I still think that however bad of a job you think Wolff has done (which I will not necessarily contest), the city of Oakland has done as comparatively bad. And if you want to compare them against the city of SJ (which has a legitimate site and a fair argument to host an MLB team – - regardless of it’s the A’s or some other team), they’ve done absolutely worst. Taking the A’s (to SJ) out of the equation, I wonder if you’d be willing to debate me there.
    I respect your frustration (after all, at this point, it’s clear we’re all very frustrated), but I’m not so willing to spare Oakland its share of the blame. If the city of Oakland could show me something on the level of what SJ had done, perhaps I’d feel differently (I’m confident others on this board would share that sympathy). SJ did it, Oakland could have done it by now too.

  28. Jeffrey says:

    Eb and David, go to and look at the original concept for Howard Terminal. We have been told that the plan for Howard Terminal stadium orientation is the same as it was in 2001. Also, way to ignore the last sentence of the first paragraph.

  29. Jeffrey says:

    Also, what in those two paragraphs describes how a stadium can be built? It describes the potential benefit to Oakland, but nothing about having restaurants and bars will pay for a stadium (unless there are bonds being issued against tax increment).

  30. berry says:

    U seem to be an Oakland fan like me. Hey I know this might be silly, but would Howard Terminal work for football??? Let’s the A’s have the coliseum…get together with MLB and figure out away to make it happen. But hey Howrard terminal stadium for the Raiders. Now that would be something that wil helboth the NFL and city of O. What u think…uless Howard terminal too small for football

  31. eb says:

    @Jeffery A waterfront park doesn’t equal a clone of At&t. Are all downtown parks clones of each other? What about Camden and Petco, both are built alongside warehouses? Each park has its charms and is built in its city’s image. A water view with Oakland characteristics, i.e cranes, architecture, building material, seating, a giant vintage Mother’s cookie in the background ( I don’t know), is the best possible way to differentiate from At&t, but still offer that park’s biggest selling point, water. A skyline (Oak or SJ), hills, big brick facades, have been done to death, don’t showcase the fact Oakland is a port city (it’s biggest feature), the Bay Area’s biggest focal point (the bay)and, in my opinion is just a much better visual option. I’m sure we just disagree on what would be a better draw to bring people in.
    p.s. I am sick and tired of Detroit.

  32. letsgoas says:

    why would you build a football stadium at howard terminal over a baseball one? i still firmly believe the a’s will go to sj when it’s all said and done but lets say they built a park in oakland, the only place the a’s org themselves probably with new ownership and mlb would want to build a new baseball only park would be in downtown/waterfront of oakland, not in the middle of industrial nowhere which is where the coliseum is now. it’d def be the other way around. a’s/baseball park at the ht site and any raiders/football stadium built at the current coliseum location.

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