The Oakland Athletics have announced plans to build a new stadium for the second time in just over a year.
The A’s have selected a site at Howard Terminal near Jack London Square in Oakland as part of a complex deal that would result in a privately-financed stadium.
The scope of the project is twofold as the team also plans to redevelop the Coliseum site where both Oracle Arena and the Oakland Coliseum sit.
The current Coliseum site will be vacated by 2020 at the latest as the Golden State Warriors move to San Francisco at the end of the 2019 NBA season and the Oakland Raiders are on pace to depart to Las Vegas by 2020.
When the A’s announced the new stadium plan, the team touted the project as “bigger than baseball” in its official press release. The plan calls for the Coliseum site to be redone with a technology campus and housing, among other upgrades.
The development of the new stadium has been attempted in multiple Bay Area locations over the years. The public may still be on the hook for a portion of upgrades while the A’s seek a privately-financed stadium.
“[It is] reasonable to expect that citizens will have to pay some costs related to the project [if the A’s are able to build the stadium,]” California State University, East Bay’s professor of economics, Dr. Wesley Blundell said.
Taxpayers are expected to be responsible for about $100 million of a similar project even though it is privately financed. Developers expect to be reimbursed between $50-60 million for sidewalks and road work related to the Los Angeles Rams and the Chargers’ new privately-financed football stadium that is being built in Inglewood, Calif., according to CBS Los Angeles.
“Event day costs such as police and emergency medical crews [for the Rams and Chargers’ stadium] will total about $40 million over five years,” Blundell said.
The A’s plan calls for a stadium that would be tiny, according to Major League Baseball standards.
They hope to build a 34,000 seat stadium at Howard Terminal which would make it the second-smallest stadium in Major League Baseball after Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field which has a capacity of 31,042 fans.
The A’s franchise hopes that a new stadium will lead to an increase in attendance. In 2018, the A’s ranked 27 out of 30 MLB teams in attendance.
Oakland brought in just over 1.5 million fans over 81 home games, according to ESPN. For reference: the Los Angeles Dodgers led the MLB in attendance, with 3.8 million.
It will take more than a few renderings to ignite the fan base but there is cautious optimism since the A’s have proposed new stadiums multiple times before.
Fans have also expressed concerns about getting to Howard Terminal. “Especially after just taking BART to the Coliseum for years” said Jason Burke, a lifelong A’s fan.
The A’s hope to open their new ballpark by 2023 regardless of the multiple hurdles that need to be cleared — most notably, the financing.
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