Time To Get Back To Real Baseball Business

What is going on for stadium situations in Oakland and Tampa Bay and expansion?

Now that the Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and his 30 owners along with the Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association Tony Clark and his group are in love again, MLB Spring Training is underway, it is time to turn back to the business end of the industry. What is going on in the Oakland and in the Tampa Bay markets as the Athletics and Rays ownership go after new stadiums. Then there is the question of whether MLB wants to add two teams.  The Oakland Athletics’ ownership is pushing to get a deal done with local officials to build a stadium-village on the San Francisco Bay-Oakland waterfront or in Las Vegas. That situation is far from resolved. The Athletics owner John Fisher continues to pit Oakland interests against Las Vegas baseball backers in his bid to get a new stadium built somewhere. Fisher is keeping the Las Vegas option alive even though Oakland officials are moving closer to getting a framework for a deal done. But Oakland is not in a position to finish a deal yet.

In the Tampa Bay market, there could be a bidding war starting between Tampa and St. Petersburg for the Rays’ franchise. There has been talk about the baseball team reviving an Ybor City stadium plan in Tampa while St. Petersburg could be studying sites that would make sense for a ballpark. How to finance a Tampa Bay market stadium remains a question.  It is unlikely Major League Baseball will expand anytime soon unless MLB owners need a major cash infusion. MLB has to get stadium situations straightened out in two markets. The barons of Major League Baseball don’t have that many suitable baseball markets available and moving a team to a potential expansion market might cost MLB billions of dollars of expansion money.

Evan can be reached at evan_weiner@hotmail.com

Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/evan-weiner/id595575191

FILE – In this Aug. 16, 2020, file photo, lightning forks over the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge as a storm passes over Oakland, Calif. Numerous lightning strikes sparked brush fires throughout the region. (AP Photo/Noah Berger, File)