Oakland mayor: MLB commissioner threatened that Athletics could move to Las Vegas

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 02:  A general view of the exterior of Oakland Coliseum prior to the AL Wild Card game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday, October 2, 2019 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
Could Oakland lose its last remaining major sports team? (Getty Images)

Less than a year before the Oakland Raiders are set to move to Las Vegas, their Coliseum roommates might be considering their own move to Nevada.

Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf confirmed a San Francisco Chronicle report Tuesday that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred had warned city officials that the Oakland Athletics could move to Las Vegas if they don’t drop a lawsuit that has halted the team’s plan for a new stadium in the city.

The lawsuit in question was reportedly filed against Alameda County to block the sale of half of RingCentral Coliseum, the current home of the A’s jointly owned by city and county, to the team. The Chronicle reported that the city can’t match the Athletics’ $85 million offer for the county’s half of the stadium.

The suit was filed Friday and reportedly led to a temporary restraining order on the sale. A hearing for the lawsuit is reportedly planned for Nov. 14.

Why are the A’s trying to buy a stadium they’re leaving?

Per ESPN, the A’s hoped to redevelop the land around the Coliseum to help subsidize the cost of the privately owned and financed stadium they plan to build at Howard Terminal.

The city’s objection to that plan is rooted in a reportedly tense negotiation process over the sale and a law stating the land should be considered for public housing. From NBC Sports Bay Area’s Jessica Kleinschmidt:

In the suit, the city argues the county violated the Surplus Land Act, which calls for extra land owned by public entities to first be considered for public housing. The city said the county did not negotiate "in good faith" for the required 90-day period. Rather, they skipped it and began working on the deal with the A's.

MLB has supported the Athletics’ stadium proposal, which was supposed to the end of a decade-plus saga of the A’s searching for a way out of the Coliseum, widely considered one of the most dilapidated parks in not just MLB, but major American sports.

A’s are Oakland’s only team left

Adding to the significance of the A’s situation is the current state of Oakland sports. The Oakland Raiders are set to move to Las Vegas next season. The Golden State Warriors have already moved to the Chase Center in San Francisco.

Oakland used to have three major sports teams on its side of the Bay. Soon, if the city continues its lawsuit and MLB follows through on its threat, there could be zero.

Manfred confirmed in a statement received by NBC Sports that he had indeed told Oakland officials a move could be in the works, though he maintained that there are no current plans to move to Vegas:

"In a recent meeting with the Mayor of Oakland, I did mention Las Vegas in the context of pointing out that the A's might have to relocate if a new stadium can't be built in Oakland. There is, however, no plan to move to Las Vegas. If it becomes necessary to consider relocation, there will be a formal process that will consider all potential relocation sites."

Las Vegas would be a natural choice though, given its population, success with the Las Vegas Golden Knights, minor league-leading attendance for its Triple-A team and proximity to Oakland.

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