Athletics have approval to seek relocation with Oakland ballpark plans in limbo

Get ready, Las Vegas, Portland, Nashville or Montreal, because there's a MLB team that could be looking for a new home soon. The Oakland Athletics reportedly have approval from MLB to seek relocation with the team's Oakland ballpark plans in limbo, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.

The Athletics have sought a new stadium for years, but the project hasn't been approved by local government officials. With Tuesday's news, the Athletics and MLB will now put pressure on local government to accept the Athletics' proposal, or risk losing the team.

A statement from Major League Baseball:

— Oakland A's (@Athletics) May 11, 2021

That proposal involves the Athletics privately funding $1 billion for the stadium. The team is asking for "an $855 million commitment from the city for infrastructure improvements," according to Passan. 

The Athletics will also ask for over $400 million to be funded by taxpayers, according to Alex Coffey of The Athletic.

In light of @JeffPassan's report, it's worth noting that the $450 million worth of community benefits referenced in A's term sheet for the Howard Terminal project are intended to come from two infrastructure financing districts. I.e: taxpayers will be paying for those benefits

— Alex Coffey (@byalexcoffey) May 11, 2021

A statement from the mayor's office in April said the city wants to make a new Athletics stadium a reality, but that the A's are asking too much from the public.

"The City is willing to bear its resources to help make this vision a reality; however, today's proposal from the A's appears to request public investment at the high end of projects of this type nationwide."

Athletics team president Dave Kaval said the team is "committed to succeeding in Oakland."

A message to our fans

— Dave Kaval (@DaveKaval) May 11, 2021

Athletics have been seeking a new stadium for years

The Athletics have spent at least four years trying to get a new stadium built near Oakland. In 2017, the team announced it wanted to build a new stadium near Laney College. Months later, the team was told the Peralta Community College District had no interest in negotiating for the land. 

At that point, the Athletics turned their attention to Howard Terminal. The team mocked up stadium designs in 2018 to try and get support for the project. The project has mostly remained in limbo.

If the Athletics are going to relocate, Las Vegas is thought to be the favorite to land the team, according to Passan, who notes that MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has also mentioned Charlotte, Montreal, Nashville, Portland and Vancouver as possibilities for future expansion.

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