(OAKLAND, Calif.) — The Oakland Athletics will start exploring the possibility of relocation, ESPN reports, with the blessing of Major League Baseball.
The move could put pressure on local government officials to greenlight a new stadium project that has been in limbo for years.
The team has played in Oakland since 1968, and has prioritized a plan that would include a new waterfront stadium in downtown Oakland. But weeks after they asked the city council to vote on a $12 billion mixed-use development before its summer recess, the team is now considering other possibilities.
“The future of the A’s depends on a new ballpark,” team owner John Fisher said in a statement. “Oakland is a great baseball town, and we will continue to pursue our waterfront baseball project. We will also follow MLB’s direction to explore other markets.”
Oakland has already lost a pair of pro sports teams in recent years, after the Golden State Warriors moved to a new arena in San Francisco, and the Raiders left for Las Vegas.
The Athletics’ current lease at RingCentral Coliseum runs through 2024. Major League Baseball said in a statement that rebuilding at the current stadium site “is not a viable option for the future vision of baseball.”
While the league has been reticent to expand beyond its current group of 30 teams, multiple cities have expressed interest in a franchise. Among the cities considered possible expansion or relocation sites are Las Vegas, Portland, Vancouver, Nashville, Charlotte, and Montreal.
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