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OAKLAND-The city of Oakland, Alameda County and the Oakland Athletics have reached a lease extension agreement that will keep the Oakland A’s in town until the end of 2007.

Team owners Steve Schott and Ken Hoffman have been trying to find a new stadium for the past few years. Earlier this year, the baseball team started negotiating with the city of Santa Clara in an effort to move the A’s to Santa Clara County. However, the A’s have decided to stay where they are.

The contract, which includes three one-year lease extensions, is designed to retain the A’s while team officials and local lawmakers attempt to reach an agreement on a baseball-only stadium.

Under the terms of the contract, the A’s will pay the Joint Powers Authority, which oversees operations at the Arena Complex, $500,000 in rent from 2003 until 2005; $550,000 in 2006; and $600,000 in 2007. The extension options call for an annual $700,000 rent.

The authority will also receive 50 cents for every ticket above 2 million sold, and the A’s can black out any five days that they want, making the arena off limits to other events.

The contract also includes an escape clause that allows the A’s to move to another location within Alameda County without penalty, or move anywhere after 120-days notice by paying up the lease plus $250,000.

Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty and Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente, who head the Joint Powers Authority, brokered the deal.

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