Oakland is at least getting one piece of good news as the A’s prepare to bolt for Las Vegas, with the team agreeing to pay Alameda County $45 million of the unpaid balance on their Oakland Coliseum deal.
The Oakland A’s may be headed to Las Vegas. But Alameda County just executed quite a squeeze play on them. Shortly after Major League Baseball owners unanimously approved the A’s to move to Las Vegas inn November, Bay Area News Group columnist Daniel Borenstein dug through the A’s $85 million, seven-year coliseum contract with Alameda County. And he found that the A’s owed the county $45 million “within one hundred eighty (180) days of the Athletics’ announcement of their relocation out of Oakland.” Alameda County Board of Supervisors president Nate Miley must have read that article, because he promptly demanded the $45 million in a December 7 letter.
It worked. The Chronicle reported Thursday that the A’s have caved and agreed to pay the $45 million, through their LLC called Coliseum Way Partners (CWP).
“CWP agrees that the acceleration of the Annual Purchase Price Components was triggered on November 16, 2023, and that any outstanding Annual Purchase Price Components are due and payable by May 14, 2024,” CWP chief legal officer D’Lonra C. Ellis said in a letter obtained by the Chronicle. “We will continue to satisfy our obligations under the Agreement, including the obligations set forth in Section 3.6 (of the deposition agreement).”
The Coliseum was originally owned half by the City of Oakland, and half by Alameda County (Hence the name Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum). But in 2019, Alameda sold its share to A’s owner John Fisher in that $85 million, seven-year deal (Ironically claiming it was to keep the A’s in Oakland in case their Howard Terminal stadium plan fell apart, though the A’s themselves walked away from that deal).
That $45 million is a nice payday, but the downside is that A’s owner John Fisher remains half-owner of the Coliseum, and therefore could block any potential redevelopment of the stadium site. And since the A’s lease at the Coliseum expires after this coming season, it could lead to the tragic but hilarious result that John Fisher’s baseball team cannot even play in the stadium where John Fisher holds a 50% ownership stake.
Image: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 26: Fans watch the Oakland Athletics play the Texas Rangers at RingCentral Coliseum on May 26, 2022 in Oakland, California. Attendance at Oakland Athletics baseball games have dwindled to historic lows as the team has traded away fan favorite players and continues to explore moving the team to Las Vegas if they can't reach a deal to build a new stadium near the Port of Oakland. The Athletics have the lowest attendance of all 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) as well as the league's lowest single game attendance for a May 2nd game that only drew 2,488 fans. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)