Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said the Oakland Athletics need to quickly reach a binding agreement for a new football stadium, and relocation could be considered if a deal is not struck for a facility in the Bay Area.
Meanwhile, regarding the status of Tampa Bay Rays Stadium, Manfred said the preferred location would be on the Tampa side of the bay and not in St. Petersburg — but location alone wouldn’t be a deciding factor.
Team A has played at the Colosseum since 1968 and their lease expires after the 2024 season.
“I was on the runway myself recently,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers Association of America on Tuesday in Los Angeles. “The condition of the runway is a really serious issue for us. I said it, that’s not news. It’s not a major league quality facility at this point.”
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf is pushing for approval of a waterfront soccer field at Howard Station that could cost more than $1 billion. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted last month to reclassify a 56-acre terminal in the Port of Oakland as a mixed-use area where a new football stadium could be built.
The team, under the control of owner John Fisher, has also explored a potential new football stadium in Las Vegas.
A vote on the stadium is possible in Auckland City Council later this year.
“Mayor Schaaf continues to work hard to try and secure an arrangement and agreement to develop the Howard Terminal site,” Manfred said. “I hope it happens. And I said this recently and I’ll repeat, it has to happen now. It needs to be done.”
Manfred said: “Mr. Fisher has to make a decision on whether he wants to make a deal or he can make an agreement approved by the city council that would keep the first level in Auckland. If that’s not possible, we have a process that deals with the resettlement request. , and I suppose that’s where you’re going if it’s not actually possible to come to an agreement in Auckland.”
Baseball owners have postponed a potential expansion from 30 teams to 32 teams until Oakland and Tampa Bay get deals to build new soccer fields.
“I need to resolve Auckland and Tampa before we can have a realistic conversation about expansion,” Manfred said.
Tampa Bay’s lease at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, where the team has played since its inaugural season in 1998, expires after the 2027 season. The Rays said in January that Major League Baseball rejected the team’s plan to split its season between Florida and Montreal.
Manfred said he has not spoken in recent weeks with Rice owner Stewart Sternberg for an update.
“I’ve always thought that a stadium on the other side of the bridge would be preferable in some ways,” Manfred said on Tuesday. “But there are a variety of factors that need to be taken into account in terms of deciding whether to be in St Pete or Tampa: What is the financing? What’s available? What sites are available? How fast can you get into the ground? It’s not just the site.”
Tampa Bay has drawn 676,296 at home this season and its 13,802 average is 28 out of 30 teams, ahead of Miami (11591) and Oakland (8637).
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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