I'm glad that Major League Baseball granted the A's the right to leave Oakland immediately in case the Coliseum chose to renege on a lease deal that had taken 14 months to negotiate. MLB's move effectively foiled Oakland City Council's backhanded plan to interfere with the final vote and scuttle the deal at the last minute. That's just not done; it's not how negotiation works.
That said, it is a shame that commercial sports teams, with their huge revenues, should enjoy rent reductions (as in the case of the Coliseum deal), free rent (in other cities) and outright gifts of public funds to construct stadiums (definitely part of the Coliseum's history).
It is also a shame that commercial sports teams contribute none of their sizable revenues to offsetting the subsidiary public costs that they create: extra police and traffic control hours, spikes in paramedic calls, extra public transit service, etc., etc.
Let this Coliseum deal be a lesson: when commercial sports facilities are economically viable, teams will build them. When they're not viable, the public shouldn't step in. If the public does step in, it should receive a normal, positive return on its investment, not a negative return.
The Tigers own the A's.
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