A wealthy ownership group looking to back a new baseball team in Oakland should make themselves known sooner rather than later, because according to high-ranking MLB executives, Oakland is high on the list for an expansion team in 2025.
The A's may be decamping to Las Vegas — something that the MLB will formally vote on in November — but Oakland might not have to go without a major-league team for long. There's still the major expense of building a new ballpark, and new owners would have to pony up a $2 billion expansion fee, but it's possible.
USA Today's baseball column had the news of the MLB executive's comments, buried at the bottom of the column — saying that Oakland and Nashville would both be high on the list if the leagues decide to add two new teams for 2025.
Former A’s star Dave Stewart, who wants to back a Nashville team, tells Bay Area News Group, "If there’s an ownership group that wants to try to get a team in Oakland, they should voice themselves now and arrange meetings with the commissioner and show why Oakland is viable for an expansion team and what they plan to do as an ownership group."
It seems strange that anyone would have to sell Oakland as an "expansion city," given it has been home to a Major League team since 1968. But Stewart suggests that is Oakland's best plan going forward. "Expansion is moving. It’s not going to wait for a group out of Oakland to show themselves in 2025," Stewart tells the news group. "It’s my belief by 2025, expansion will be down the road and Oakland will have missed out."
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has reportedly voiced support for an expansion bid.
Back in late 2021, Oakland selected the African American Sports and Entertainment Group to enter into exclusive negotiations to redevelop the lands around the Coliseum. At the time, the group suggested it would work to bring a new NFL team to Oakland — pending an expansion in the NFL — as well as a WNBA team.
Earlier this month, the group put forward a $5 billion plan, and an offer to buy out the A's share of the Coliseum, something that owner John Fisher said he wasn't interested in. In their letter to A's owners, the AASEG said it was interested in "expediting the future redevelopment" of the 155-acre Coliseum site, and it wants to negotiate the terms of a possible buyout.
Meanwhile, the A's lease on the Coliseum expires next year, and pending some extension, the team is mulling possibilities of playing a couple seasons elsewhere — including, possibly, sharing Oracle Park with the Giants.
Photo: Matt Dodd