Potential game-changer in attempt to keep professional sports in Oakland

By Vincent Frank

The drama that has surrounded keeping the three professional sports teams in Oakland may have just come to a head. The investigative team Matier and Ross of the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Alameda County officials have privately told the city of Oakland that they want out of their stake in the Coliseum complex that houses the Athletics, Raiders and Warriors.

From the report:

“The move would be a major game changer in the negotiations to keep the three teams playing in the East Bay — talks that have often been contentious and confusing for all parties involved.”

Alameda is the county in which the city of Oakland is incorporated. If it is going to be backing away from its stake in the complex, this will likely lead to all three of Oakland’s teams looking to relocate in the not-so-distant future.

County supervisor Nate Miley discussed the situation with the Chronicle’s investigative tandem:

“It’s been extremely challenging to negotiate a deal with the city, the county, two public entities and three sports teams,” Miley said. “So let’s just get out of this, and let the city negotiate whatever deals it wants,” Miley said. “Because frankly, Oakland is going to benefit much more from this than the county.”

The issue here is that Oakland would then have to foot the bill for the old sports complex, which includes O.co and Oracle Arena. Depending on where negotiations go, the city would have to come up with millions to buy out the county’s share. In the economic landscape of Oakland, this isn’t a likely conclusion.

And it gets more convoluted from there.

The Raiders have set forth a plan to build a two-team stadium with the San Diego Chargers on the outskirts of Los Angeles in Carson, CA. While that plan isn’t as far along as the one St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke has concocted in Inglewood, it remains a viable option moving forward.

And while there hasn’t been much talk of the A’s relocating, the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors are prepared to uproot to a new waterfront arena in San Francisco in time for the 2018 season. In short, the city of Oakland would be foolish to dole out millions of dollars that it doesn’t have without concrete commitments from at least two of the teams to remain in Oakland.

Considering that’s not going to happen prior to political leaders voting on the situation, there’s a good chance that the Oakland Coliseum complex could be in flux moving forward—further pushing the Raiders (and potentially the A’s) out of the city. As it relates to the Warriors, no amount of pressure from local politicians will impede their imminent move across the bay.

Photo: SF Bay