Sunday, January 09, 2005

L.A. developer could target Athletics

L.A. developer could target Athletics
OAKLAND (AP) — Los Angeles developer Lewis Wolff, who was hired by the Oakland Athletics in 2003 to help find a new stadium, will decide in the next three months whether he will exercise an option to try to buy the team.

"He is in the process of exploring that option," said Sam Spear, a senior consultant for the A's who spoke to Wolff on Thursday. "He believes that in the next 90 days he would have come to some conclusion of either a purchase or non-purchase of the team."

Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann bought the A's jointly in 1995 with Schott serving as the managing partner.

"Whatever deal (Wolff) works out, he wants Steve Schott to remain as part of the ownership," Spear said.

Even if Wolff decides he wants to buy the A's, there would still be hurdles to overcome. He would need to agree on a price with Schott and Hofmann and be approved by Major League Baseball.

Wolff, the team's vice president for venue development, had been helping the team evaluate possible location alternatives available in the Bay Area for a new ballpark.

Schott has repeatedly said the only way for the small-market A's to remain viable is to get a new stadium, which commissioner Bud Selig has also said is key. Schott has said he would like to move the franchise to San Jose, but the San Francisco Giants own the rights to that area.

While many of the A's competitors play in extravagant stadiums that generate huge streams of revenue, the A's share a stadium with the NFL's Oakland Raiders and would like a baseball-only facility.

Wolff is a former part owner of the NBA's Golden State Warriors and the NHL's St. Louis Blues.

Will they then call the A's: The Oakland A's of Los Angeles?

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