Coliseum extension to be negotiated Tuesday

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The Oakland A’s will meet with City of Oakland officials Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. in what could be a defining moment for the A’s future in the Bay Area.

According to ESPN and ABC7, officials are prepared to offer the team a five-year, $97-million extension on the A’s lease at the Coliseum that would keep them in Oakland for at least three years, with the option to opt out after 2028, when the A’s ballpark in Las Vegas is expected to be ready for play.

It represents a huge rent increase for the A’s, who have paid about $1.5 million in rent and would start paying $19.4 million per year next year. If the team opts out after three years, it still has to pay the full amount, bringing the average rent to $32.3 million per year.

ESPN reported that the A’s wanted a two-year deal worth $17 million to remain at the Coliseum.

In addition, Oakland officials are hoping to agree with MLB on at least one of three stipulations: getting a one-year window with exclusive negotiating rights for an expansion team in Oakland; voting to leave the A’s branding and colors in Oakland; or aiding in the sale of the team to a local ownership group.

And perhaps most notably, Oakland is asking the A’s to sell their 50% share of the Coliseum to allow for redevelopment on the property.

Aiding in the difficulty is MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, who has said repeatedly that he cannot grant any guarantees as it relates to expansion, seeing as the 30 owners would first need to vote on expansion. That vote isn’t expected to take place for years, not until the A’s and Tampa Bay Rays start playing in new ballparks. And Oakland would have to join a competitive pool of cities who are also hoping for an expansion team, among them: Nashville, Portland, Salt Lake City, Charlotte, San Antonio, Montreal and perhaps Sacramento.

Sacramento officials have talked openly about their desire to add another pro sports team. Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said last week he’s friends with A’s owner John Fisher and is hoping, if the A’s come to Sacramento, it would prove to MLB that Sacramento is a viable option for expansion. Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said recently that he’s hoping the A’s remain in Oakland, but if they don’t, Sacramento would welcome the A’s on a temporary basis.

Neither the A’s nor the Oakland mayor’s office responded for comment on Monday, but both sides have offered amicable remarks over the last two months as they’ve come back to the bargaining table to see if they can keep the team in Oakland a little while longer.

For the A’s, it’s simple: They need a temporary home.

Staying in Oakland would be the easiest move. It’d require no new negotiations with the A’s broadcasting partners, NBC Sports, and they would retain their reported $67 million in local media rights compensation by keeping the team at the Coliseum.

If they move to Sacramento’s Sutter Health Park, the Triple-A home of the San Francisco Giants, the A’s would have to renegotiate a media rights deal that could see their annual compensation take a big cut. Sacramento is the 20th-ranked media market in the country, according to Nielsen, making it the largest one-team media market in the country.

Sutter Health Park, built in 2000, has one of the largest capacities of any minor league ballpark. It seats just more than 10,000, then fits another 4,000-plus people in standing areas and grass berms in the outfield.

Of course, it’s uncertain whether or not the A’s would need that much seating.

They averaged just 6,680 during their first homestand of the season against the Cleveland Guardians, when they went 1-3 while being outscored 29-11.

They had fewer fans show up for the entire series (26,722) than they had at their Opening Day game last year (26,805).

A’s fans have clearly become disenchanted with a team that only recently took down its “Rooted in Oakland” signage that had been up since 2017, when the team announced its “commitment to building a ballpark in its longtime home city.”

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