An executive for RingCentral Coliseum claims the Oakland Athletics have failed to make a $1.2 million rent payment that was due on April 1, the East Bay Times reports. Because of , the 2020 MLB season has yet to begin, and as such teams are not taking in their usual game-day revenues.
Indeed, according to interim Coliseum Authority head Henry Gardner, the A's have declared they have "no ability to pay" their annual rent. "They said because they haven't used it, they were not able to generate revenue and they have no ability to pay," Gardner told the Times.
David DeBolt of the Times writes:
The A's did not respond to a request for comment, but in a letter dated March 31, A's general counsel D'Lorna Ellis cited "force majeure," a clause in the contract that relieves both sides from obligation when there is an extraordinary event, such as the coronavirus outbreak.
In the letter, obtained by the East Bay Times, Ellis also noted the possibility that the Coliseum would not be available to the team. At the time, it was being evaluated as a potential "surge site" in case the Covid-19 outbreak exploded as it had in places such as New York City. Ellis said the team supported the measure but would be deferring payment "until we have a better understanding of when the Coliseum will be available for our use."
DeBolt's story has more, including some pointed comments from a Coliseum board member on the team's refusal to pay.
As a result of the missed payment, the Coliseum may not be available for the A's to use should the 2020 season begin with the use of traditional home ballparks. Right now, MLB and the Players' Association are, assuming the virus maintains its current trajectory.
Commissioner Rob Manfred recently noted that contingency plans were being made in case one or more teams were not able to use their home ballparks. He was referring to the possibility that local restrictions would not allow for the playing of games. California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently said that organized sports could resume in California early next month, but the A's would seem to have a different impediment to taking the field in Oakland.
The A's have called the Coliseum home since they relocated to Oakland from Kansas City in the late 1960s. While plans for a new ballpark are underway,.