Are Major Sports Leagues Done With Oakland? | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com
The news broke on Tuesday that the Oakland A’s may become the third major professional sports franchise to depart Oakland if efforts to find a new place to play in the city fails. The Athletics would follow the path set by the NFL’s Raiders franchise who left for Las Vegas, and the NBA’s Warriors who returned to San Francisco in recent years. So, the question is: Have major sports leagues outgrown the city of Oakland, or are teams just asking for too much from a city trying to be financially responsible?
The Oakland A’s have been granted permission to look for a new home at the same time a decade’s long search financing to build a new waterfront ballpark is coming to a climax. The team, just like the former Oakland Raiders franchise before them, have been looking to move from the outdated home ballpark they currently play in, but have been forced to seek out private funding to build a new home. This is due to local government officials being unwilling to foot the bill for such a massive project.
I have always been of the belief that sports franchise should be able to call upon city and state governments for a final push to help secure a place to call home, but never expect taxpayers to pay for an entire stadium either directly or indirectly. My thought is that franchises and governments should be partners, with both sides getting something for the investment they make, not the one-sided deal that so many teams are given by star-struck politicians who treat having a sports team as a validation of being a major city in America.
Those against Major League Baseball giving the Oakland A’s permission to start looking for a new home at this time will say they are trying to strong-arm a city by telling them, “If you don’t build us a new home, someone else will.”
This tactic has been used before by many sports leagues simply because it normally works, in the case of Oakland, however, it has proven to have little effect since the Raiders moved out of the city not once, but twice in their history.
While life is normally not a game of “what if” questions, truth be told that if major sports franchises were starting from scratch, the appeal of having a team in Northern California’s Bay Area would be intriguing. With historical data showing such a lack of support from the local government, however, there are too many other more viable options for a league to place teams in other cities.
As the news broke Tuesday of the A’s looking for a new home, cities from Sacramento, CA to Portland, Oregon were mentioned, as well as places like San Antonio, Texas and Nashville, Tennessee. The front runner, however, is for the baseball team to reunite with their former stadium mates in Las Vegas, Nevada, becoming the third of the four major sports leagues with a team there.
Sadly, I do feel that major sports have outgrown the city of Oakland. While they have always supported their teams when they were winning, without the financial backing that other major cities provide their team, in today’s sports marketplace, they are unable to have a foundation to build upon that allows them one luxury other teams have, the ability to make a mistake. When you are working on a shoestring budget, one bad contract becomes too much of a burden for the organization, and the mixed blessing and curse of having a star player means needing to trade him since you can’t afford to pay them before their reach free agency.
I am sorry to say it, but it appears the days of seeing Oakland listed among the cities with a major sports franchise are soon coming to an end. It is a marriage that has been ending for years, and when the A’s leave town, the divorce will be finalized, with baseball, basketball, and football likely never to return again.
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Are Major Sports Leagues Done With Oakland? | TooAthletic.com
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