Oakland Athletics minority owner Lew Wolff said that the team is close to arriving at a 10-year lease extension at the O.co Coliseum, in an interview on Bloomberg TV.
In the wide ranging conversation with Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker and Stephanie Ruhle, Wolff also discussed how much money a new stadium could cost and his view on San Jose’s lawsuit against Major League Baseball. Plus, Wolff dodged a question on who should be the next commissioner of baseball and laughed when asked if he had considered buying the LA Clippers.
To begin, Wolff explained why he hasn’t managed to build a stadium in Oakland, and some of the complications of getting a new ballpark in California in general.
“Well, we tried and we’re not saying we can’t, but we share a facility with the [Oakland] Raiders—a very old facility and we’ve been spending seven years trying to determine how we might stay there.”
“It’s very difficult, in California especially. We’re not looking for public money because there is none.”
However, he didn’t rule out Oakland altogether.
“We still may look at it, but it’s been very hard to try and implement a facility that’s going to cost $700 or 800 million.”
Wolff also noted that he definitely wants to keep the team in the Bay Area.
“Well, first of all we want to stay in the Bay Area. We’re a Bay Area team. We’re not moving to Timbuktu. We’re only talking about a few miles away.”
The club’s minority owner also provided an accurate, if uncommon, interpretation of his view on San Jose’s lawsuit against MLB.
“I’m not suing. I’m being sued. I’m one of 30.”
As Wolff has frequently stated, he’d prefer to solve the problem through different means.
“I’d rather achieve that through negotiations and following a process.”
Wolff then clarified that he doesn’t “support any lawsuits unless they’re really important.’
Considering Wolff and his group bought the A’s for $180 million and that Forbes now values the club at $495 million, why not just sell the team? Why not end on a “high note?”
“No, the high note will be when we have a new facility that’s fan-receptive and a good experience for the fans. None of us are going to lose a meal on this team. Not that we’re so wealthy, but that isn’t the goal here.”
“The goal is also generational. We’d like to keep the team [in the families that own it].”
Wolff then explained that he “hopes” to have a new 10-year deal in the next “couple of weeks” and that “the people we’re dealing with now are very intelligent.” That’s the most civil tone that Wolff has used when referring to the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority in quite a while.
Note: All quotes courtesy of Bloomberg TV.