It appears that like the Mighty Casey of the Mudville Nine, Lew Wolff has struck out in his attempt to get his Oakland A’s a new stadium in Oakland, or Fremont or San Jose. In fact, Wolff has gone to the clubhouse and has gotten out of his uniform and is leaving the playing field permanent as the franchise is retooling and looking to build a stadium in Oakland with John Fisher leading the way.
For four decades, various Oakland A’s owners have tried to vacate the Oakland Coliseum and find a new place to call home. There was some discussion of moving to Denver in the 1970s and then there was Wolff’s attempt to get as close to San Jose without violating San Francisco Giants territory and put the team in Fremont, California. San Jose wanted Wolff but a court decided San Jose was San Francisco Giants territory. Sports leagues have a right to protect a team’s territory and Major League Baseball has an antitrust exemption.
Former Commissioner Bud Selig’s blue ribbon committee met for years trying to solve Wolff’s territorial problem and never came up with a solution. Major League Baseball allows the Yankees and the Mets to share the New York market, the same holds true in Chicago with the Cubs and the White Sox and in Los Angeles with the Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
There is no shared San Francisco-Oakland market which is absolutely silly. The Giants and A’s have deals with Comcast’s Bay Area regional sports cable network and share the corporate market. But Wolff didn’t have the territorial right to go to San Jose, it is San Francisco Giants territory. To make matters worse, Giants ownership struck out in various attempts to get a stadium built in San Jose and Santa Clara. Now it’s John Fisher’s turn in the stadium quest and finding a building in Oakland for his Oakland Athletics baseball franchise.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.