Lew Wolff, owner of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Oakland Athletics, has given his approval to a 10-year lease extension which keeps the team at the Coliseum ballpark until the end of 2024.
The lease, which was first announced in June, was approved by the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority earlier this month. Wolff has now given his approval to the lease following a review of several modifications by Oakland City Council.
The deal must still be approved by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on July 29, although the organisation has already announced its support of the lease.
“We appreciate the cooperation and efforts of Oakland city officials in this process and are optimistic that our negotiations have led to a fair and mutually-beneficial relationship,” Wolff said. “Most of all, we are happy for our great fans who, pending the county's vote, will know that the Oakland Athletics will continue to play its games at O.co Coliseum.”
Wolff has given his approval to the lease despite having long harboured a desire to relocate the team to San Jose. However, any potential switch has been met with concerns over how it would impact on the San Francisco Giants’ territorial footprint.
The deal with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority earlier this month settled all outstanding issues between the two sides, including a dispute of past rent owed by the franchise.
The Associated Press news agency said that as part of the new lease, the team has agreed to stay in Oakland for at least two years and faces a $1.6m (€1.2m) per year penalty if it leaves before the lease is up. The deal also requires that the team engage in good faith discussions about building a new ballpark in Oakland.
The A’s have played at the Coliseum since 1968, but the stadium has been hit with numerous issues in recent years, most notably sewage problems. The Coliseum is the only stadium in the US that doubles up as a venue for an MLB and NFL American football team. The Oakland Raiders are in the final year of their lease at the Coliseum and are interested in building a new stadium at the site.