Athletics will meet with City of Oakland and Alameda County to discuss lease extension

The Oakland Athletics will meet with Oakland and Alameda County officials on Thursday to discuss the possibility of extending the lease at the Coliseum
Jul 2, 2023; Oakland, California, USA;  Oakland Athletics center fielder Esteury Ruiz (1) adjusts
Jul 2, 2023; Oakland, California, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Esteury Ruiz (1) adjusts / Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

News broke on Tuesday afternoon that the Oakland Athletics are planning on meeting with officials of the city of Oakland and Alameda County on Thursday. The two parties plan to discuss the viability of the team remaining in the Coliseum for the 2025-2027 seasons while the A's await their new ballpark in Las Vegas.

According to John Shea of the SF Chronicle ($), the meeting will include Leigh Hanson of the Oakland Mayor's office, Rebecca Kaplan of the Oakland City Council, Alameda County supervisor David Haubert, and Athletics President Dave Kaval.

Over the past several months, the Athletics have been touring a group of minor league ballparks in search of a temporary home from 2025-2027. They have publicly visited ballparks in Sacramento, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas, and have allegedly had conversations with the Giants about using Oracle Park in a part-time capacity.

One of the biggest factors for John Fisher and the Athletics is that they currently earn upwards of $70 million per year from their local television broadcast deal. The contract requires that the A's play a certain percentage of their games in the Bay Area in order to be eligible for their payout.

None of the minor league parks in question would fall within the zone to keep the Athletics eligible for their TV money and it has long been speculated that they'd come crawling back to the bargaining table to avoid losing out on that revenue.

Shea had previously reported that if the A's were to play in Sacramento, they could potentially negotiate a reduced payment structure with NBC Sports California. It's unclear what a reduced contract would look like but you can imagine that Fisher would try everything possible to keep 100% of that revenue.

Oakland fans everywhere have started calling for Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao and the Alameda County representatives to hold the line and refuse to cave to Fisher's demands. Two popular points fans have made is that if the two sides are to work out a deal, they think Fisher should relinquish the rights to his half of the Coliseum and that MLB should find a way to promise that the Athletics name stays in Oakland for an expansion team.

The latter seems unlikely. For one, MLB is not at the bargaining table here. Rob Manfred and the 29 other owners can mandate certain things but Oakland and Alameda County likely wouldn't be able to secure such a deal from Fisher as it would require a different conversation with the league office.

It does seem like the city and the county should be angling to get the rights to the Coliseum site from Fisher, however. Fisher recently purchased Alameda County's remaining percentage of the stadium but any future development at the site would have to be a mutual decision between the team and the city.

If the Athletics want to stick around on a newly negotiated lease agreement through the 2027 season, the least the city should be looking to get is a deal to acquire the exclusive rights to the site. If Fisher wants to leave, let him go and make him leave the site behind. The city could push for an expansion franchise in a new stadium built on the Coliseum site, or they could develop the area into a more accessible mixed-use development that would benefit the community.

One way or another, John Fisher and Dave Kaval are going to have to find a place for the Athletics to play baseball for those three seasons before the park in Las Vegas is completed. If they want to remain in the Coliseum during that time, Mayor Thao and the other negotiating parties need to find a way to make Fisher pay for it, and the price should be significant.