It was a big day in Oakland today, as Clorox CEO Don Knauss led a presentation, while joined by several Oakland and greater East Bay business leaders at Clorox headquarters, announcing their continued support for keeping the A’s in Oakland. This is big news because it reiterates the commitment of local business leaders in keeping the A’s in town.
While Knauss led the discussion, also present were representatives from Safeway, Pandora, Kaiser, Matson and Dreyers Ice Cream — all East Bay-based business titans. Knauss stated that “Clorox strongly and enthusiastically endorses the efforts of the East Bay business community and City of Oakland to keep the Oakland A’s here in a new, world-class stadium.” He mentioned that Clorox and other East Bay companies have pledged financial support for ballpark naming rights and the seat and luxury suite purchases necessary to keep the A’s in Oakland. He also mentioned that the team has good fan and corporate support even though there is no commitment from the A’s to remain in Oakland, adding that if the A’s were to commit to Oakland there would be a bandwagon effect from other companies to get on board. Knauss said several times that he is willing to work with current owners, John Fisher and Lew Wolff, on these plans. However, he added, if ownership is not willing to cooperate then Knauss and others have identified new ownership willing to work with city and business leaders to keep the team in Oakland with a new ballpark.
This is a big point, as the press conference was just the latest development to poke holes in current ownership’s position that there are “no options in Oakland.” Knauss also mentioned that there city officials and business leaders reached out to A’s owners more than two years ago when this whole process began; while MLB was aware of it, Fisher and Wolff had no response. Oakland Mayor Jean Quan also spoke, echoing Knauss’ comments. Quan mentioned that in her last talk with the Giants they told her they still are not going to give up on their territorial rights ownership of San Jose and Santa Clara County. Fellow fans, today was a pivotal moment in the franchise’s future.
Very public announcements of support by the East Bay business community is a major step toward proving to the powers-that-be regarding what nearly all A’s fans have known for years: that Oakland is a strong and viable market in which the A’s can thrive for eternity. Don Knauss has experience in naming rights and sponsorships, as he was a major player in the deal to build Minute Maid Park in Houston. So, what happens next? Who knows, but it’s time that the A’s followed their own fans’ desires and partnered with civic and business leaders in keeping this team here. We can make it happen. And, one way or another, we will.