The Oakland Athletics will be playing in O.co Coliseum for the next 10 years, the club announced in a press release Thursday. The talk of perhaps moving to San Jose or elsewhere is effectively put to bed and from the sounds of things, the A's won't be getting a new stadium in Oakland for at least 10 years.
"After much diligence and cooperation from both parties, we are delighted to make this announcement today," said A's Owner Lew Wolff in a statement. "We believe this agreement works well for city and county taxpayers, the team, A's fans and all involved. It provides stability for the A's while also improving fan and player experience with significant upgrades and improvements at the facility."
The deal will be finalized after it gets approval from the Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors.
Take note of the upgrades and improvement parts, because O.co Coliseum has been the laughingstock of baseball in recent years, what with sewage issues and light-tower outages.
Here's what the press release includes as part of the agreement:
- Settlement of all outstanding issues between the two parties.
- A commitment of more than $10 million by the A's to significantly upgrade the O.Co Coliseum, including the installation of new HD video boards, "ribbon boards" between the field and plaza level of the stadium, and associated control room equipment. The Coliseum Authority will pay for any necessary structural work. All upgrades and improvements will be completed by Opening Night 2015.
- The contract takes into account the possibility of progress towards building a new football facility for the Oakland Raiders. If private money becomes available for such a venue, the A's and the Coliseum Authority recognize that a variety of next steps would be considered to ensure maximum flexibility for both the A's and Raiders.
I've got to assume the "necessary structural work" includes the sewage issue. Still the A's are essentially playing in an NFL stadium until the Raiders decide to move. So the A's have agreed to be the second banana in the stadium.
The new video boards sound cool, too, but $10 million really isn't that much when talking about upgrading a stadium. The Cubs currently have plans for a more than $500 million renovation to Wrigley Field, for example.
Wolff mentions the fans in his statement and while it's good news that the good fans of Oakland don't lose their A's, their favorite team is still saddled with a sub-par ballpark and it appears that'll be the case for the next decade. Or at least until the Raiders move and the A's spend a lot more (hopefully private) money transforming it back into a baseball-only park.
Just remember, it used to look like this, before the Raiders arrived (via briansballparks.com):
Perhaps that can be salvaged and staying in the coliseum until 2024 won't be all that bad, but they're still counting on the Raiders moving out in order for that to happen.
So, again, it's good news for A's fans that they aren't losing their team. I'd say a lot of the rest of the situation stinks, though.