The Oakland Athletics have blocked a move by Oakland’s new professional baseball team the Oakland Ballers (aka the B’s) from playing a June 29 game at the Oakland Coliseum.
The B’s released a statement Thursday saying they signed a lease agreement and paid a deposit to play at the Major League Baseball stadium, which team officials said they planned to announce Thursday.
Instead, the team issued a release saying the Oakland A’s — who will still play home games at the Coliseum this season, even after announcing a planned move to Las Vegas — decided to enforce a clause in their stadium agreement preventing other professional teams from playing at the Coliseum.
“Our vision was to invite fans back to the Coliseum for a joy filled game that would honor this beloved and historic landmark and the fans that make Oakland baseball great,” Paul Freedman, co-founder of the Ballers, said in a statement.
“We began negotiations to play at the Coliseum in July and by December we had signed our lease and paid our deposit. A few days after Christmas, we were informed that the A’s would be enforcing a clause in their contract with the stadium that prevents other professional baseball teams from playing at the Coliseum,” Freedman said.
“We are disappointed in this development as we believe this would have been a great event for Oakland,” he said.
A’s communications staff didn’t return emailed requests for comment Thursday morning.
The B’s will launch their inaugural season May 22, playing in the independent Pioneer League as the league’s first team on the West Coast. Most of the competition plays in midwestern states like Montana, Idaho, Colorado, and Utah.
The B’s will play 48 home games in a 96-game schedule at Laney College, where the stadium on campus will be renovated to hold about 3,000 fans.
Freedman and co-founder Bryan Carmel raised $2 million in funding from nearly 50 investors, They plan on using crowdfunding to give fans the chance to own part of the team. And they promise never to leave Oakland.