Wolff, Oakland swear A’s lease talks are going fine, everybody chill

That didn’t take long: One day after MLB threatened to move the Oakland A’s to San Francisco if they couldn’t agree on a new lease in Oakland, both A’s owner Lew Wolff and Oakland officials said that of course they’re going to sign a new lease on the Coliseum:

Wolff said Monday through the team that the A’s will extend their lease at the Oakland Coliseum and “look forward to another great season.”…

The Coliseum Authority also sounded encouraged by the progress, issuing a statement from board chair and Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley.

“We are working on a deal that we believe will be beneficial for both our tenant and the people of this community,” the statement said. “We are confident that everyone involved sees the value in continuing for as long as possible the 45-year relationship between the A’s and the City of Oakland. While we cannot comment on the specific issues now under discussion or on whether there is any basis to recent rumors that Major League Baseball has played a role in the discussions, we are optimistic that a final deal is close at hand.”

Of course, this actually says completely nothing, except that both sides are continuing to work on a lease deal. But then, the MLB move threat didn’t actually say anything either, except for “Don’t make us come in there!”

It’s all brinksmanship, in other words. I can’t think of a single time in sports history that a team has been forced to move because it couldn’t work out a lease renewal, so it’s been inevitable that the two sides would work something out. The main question now is whether MLB’s saber-rattling has gotten Oakland to agree with Wolff on a sweeter deal — say, no rent and no penalty for breaking the lease early and moving elsewhere sounds juicy — and we won’t know that until they actually announce the terms. This little dueling-statements moment has given the opportunity for the press to write more about the Coliseum’s sewage problems, though, so it’s all good.


One comment on “Wolff, Oakland swear A’s lease talks are going fine, everybody chill

  1. I’ve read other describe this as a tug-of-war between the A’s, Raiders and the JPA. I’m not sure that is accurate. I think more accurate is that this is a pie that is being provided by the JPA and that the A’s and Raiders both want to eat more than 50%.

    So, if the A’s get to keep concessions then the Raiders don’t get to eat that part of the pie. If the Raiders have to pay so much for rent then the A’s want the same amount of pie (after accounting for more games).

    The JPA then has to try to keep both parties happy with their new proposed leases. I have to believe the JPA knows there is no new stadium coming anytime soon. So, they want to have long lease terms so they don’t have to go through this every two years. The A’s probably want 5+ years so they don’t have to worry about the Raiders eating more of the pie in the near future. Of course, the A’s would also want easy “out clauses” towards the end of the lease. The Raiders are probably the ones who most want an improved lease since they make the least off of the Coliseum, and no team wants to be the “second tenant”.

    The bottom line is that the JPA has to have enough to bargain with to keep both the A’s and Raiders happy. If that means taking some away from the A’s to give to the Raiders and the A’s are willing, then that’s what they will do. But, if the A’s balk (or MLB does it for them), then the JPA doesn’t really have anything else that they can give the Raiders in the near term, except maybe the promise of a new stadium with more revenue eventually.

    Neil, I looked up the last time an MLB team was evicted and the best I could find was 1921 with the Giants evicting the Yankees from the Polo Grounds. Or, at least they attempted it in 1921 but had to settle for the Yankees leaving after 1922. The Giants, of course, thought they would have the last laugh since they thought nobody would go all the way to The Bronx.

    I couldn’t find anything other than that. Even the Phillies left Baker’s Bowl without being forced. Of course, there are plenty of examples in minor league baseball, mostly for failure to pay rent.