The City of San Jose has filed legal action in federal court to eliminate the territorial restrictions that Major League Baseball has used to keep the A’s from moving to San Jose. The move is intended to continue a dialogue that would eventually bring the ballclub to San Jose.
“For more than four years, the City of San Jose has made an exhaustive effort to work with Major League Baseball to resolve any concerns about our city’s capacity to host a major league ballclub,” Mayor Chuck Reed said. “During that time, it has become abundantly clear that Major League Baseball prefers to use territorial restrictions as an excuse to restrict commerce and prevent the Athletics from relocating to San Jose. This restriction is costing San Jose residents millions of dollars in new annual tax revenues that could go towards funding more police officers, firefighters, libraries, gang prevention efforts, road repairs and other critical city services.”
The Oakland Athletics ownership group has expressed a desire to construct a new, privately-financed and privately-operated ballpark in Downtown San Jose. While the City of San Jose has worked with the Athletics to facilitate the construction of a new ballpark, their efforts have been stalled by the San Francisco Giants’ claim of “territorial rights” to Santa Clara County. In 2009, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig appointed a special blue ribbon committee to analyze the Athletics’ options for a new ballpark. But after four years, there still has been no decision on whether the Athletics can relocate to San Jose.
“Major League Baseball has given the city of San Jose no other option but to turn to the judicial system to have our concerns heard and this matter resolved,” said Councilmember Ash Kala. “The lack of response from Major League Baseball has been extremely disrespectful to the efforts our city and community have made in creating an attractive environment for the Athletics, particularly since the team’s ownership agrees that San Jose, the Capital of Silicon Valley, is the ideal location for their great organization.”
According to an independent economic analysis report conducted by Conventions Sports & Leisure International, a new major league ballpark in Downtown San Jose would generate significant benefits, including:
- $5 million per year in new tax revenues to the City and other local governments;
- $130 million per year in total net new economic output; and
- Nearly 1000 new full and part-time jobs.
San Jose has entered into an option agreement with the Athletics Investment Group, LLC, the California limited partnership that owns and operates the Oakland A’s, to purchase property for a ballpark in Downtown San Jose. According to the suit, Major League Baseball is interfering with this contract by refusing to allow the Oakland A’s Club to locate to the City of San Jose. San Jose seeks to restore competition among and between the clubs and their partners by ending MLB’s collusive agreements. The lawsuit outlines several practices that have resulted in an unreasonable restraint on competition, in violation of federal and California law, and constitute unlawful, unfair, and/or fraudulent business practices under California law, including violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law, Tortious Interference with Contractual Advantage, and Tortious Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage, and for violation of the federal Sherman Act, and violation of California’s Cartwright Act.