The Athletics and team president Dave Kaval have publicly admitted that their search for a potential new home for the franchise has included multiple visits to Las Vegas, but Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told KGO 810 Wednesday that there are additional locations the top brass could look into if the July 20 City Council meeting vote doesn't approve a term sheet the team "agrees with."
"I'm not sure if the public realized that the A's had only gotten permission to talk to Las Vegas, and right now the commissioner is saying if we don't get a vote on a term sheet that the A's agree with next week, that he is going to authorize them to start talking to at least six other cities that also are interested," Schaaf told KGO's Nikki Medoro. "Portland, some cities in Canada, none of these cities is in California, and two of them are in Canada.
"So this really is a make-or-break moment for the Oakland A's and Oakland. You know Nikki, I have always believed in this project, I see it as transformative, I see it as something that Oaklanders will be proud of for generations to come. And, because it has such a strong community benefits package, it will not just be keeping the A's in Oakland, it will be great jobs, it will be transportation improvements and it will be desperately needed affordable housing projects."
Oakland's city council will meet at 9 a.m. on July 20 for a non-binding vote on the A's proposed Howard Terminal ballpark.
Kaval has been adamant that the organization only will be staying in Oakland if the Howard Terminal project is approved.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred called Las Vegas a "viable" destination for the A's while speaking during the All-Star festivities in Denver earlier this week.
“Las Vegas is a viable alternative for a major league club, and there are other viable alternatives that I haven’t turned the A’s loose to even explore at this point," Manfred said Tuesday when speaking with the Baseball Writers' Association of America (h/t John Shea of The San Francisco Chronicle).
"Thinking about this as a bluff is a mistake. This is the decision point for Oakland as to whether they want to have major league baseball going forward.”
The A's president did speak to the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week and identified two sites in Henderson, Nev. that the team is considering. Kaval also didn't rule out the A's potentially utilizing the organization's current Triple-A affiliate's stadium in Las Vegas as a temporary home before a new stadium is built either in Oakland or elsewhere.
The Oregonian's John Canzano reported in late May that Kaval, A's owner John Fisher and other top executives would be making a "fact-finding" trip to Portland in June. Kaval denied any such plans publicly.
Las Vegas and Portland have been the two most-discussed options for the A's, but Canada could offer some interesting destinations. Montreal has been clamoring for an MLB team ever since the Expos packed up and moved to Washington D.C. in 2005. Vancouver also would be a West Coast option across the border, although the Seattle Mariners might have something to say about an MLB team coming so close to the Emerald City.
Schaaf didn't name any of the six potential cities the A's could expand their search to, but it is safe to say the team will be aggressive about seeking out new locations if next week's vote doesn't go their way.
Tuesday will be a monumental day for the city's fate as a professional sports destination, as the A's are the final Big 4 franchise left after the Warriors and Raiders have relocated in the past decade.