On Nov. 17, 2016, David Kaval was named the seventh president in the history of the Oakland Athletics.
As one of the most dynamic leaders currently in sports, Kaval has led a complete transformation of the organization. He has repositioned the internal and external perception of the Club and has driven a number of innovative initiates to propel the business forward.
Kaval is leading the Club's efforts to open a new ballpark in Oakland. On Nov. 28, 2018, the organization announced its desire to build its privately financed, 34,000-capacity waterfront ballpark at the Howard Terminal site at the Port of Oakland. The ballpark design is led by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Copenhagen, New York, and London based groups of architects and designers. BIG's architecture emerges out of a careful analysis of how contemporary life constantly evolves and changes and creates architecture by mixing conventional ingredients such as living, leisure, working, parking, and shopping. The ballpark is designed to be the most intimate in Major League Baseball, and it will feature an elevated park that wraps and frames the bowl, and it will anchor a new, vibrant waterfront district in Jack London Square that features a mix of housing, including affordable housing, offices, restaurants, retail, parks, and public gathering spaces.
The A's and the Port of Oakland Board of Commissioners entered into an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement in April 2018. On May 13, 2019, the board commissioners voted 7-0 to approve and authorize the Executive Director to execute the initial term sheet.
Kaval has worked collaboratively with State officials to develop and pass legislation related to the waterfront ballpark project. Since 2018, Kaval has worked closely with legislators to craft and support AB 734 (2018), which provides expedited judicial review in exchange for the highest environmental standards of any ballpark project; AB 1191 (2019), to simplify the regulatory approval process for the ballpark, as well as housing, retail, and mixed-use development at the waterfront site; and SB 293 (2019), which helps the City of Oakland finance infrastructure and transportation projects for a new ballpark.
Kaval has made it a priority to engage the community to ensure the ballpark project is bigger than baseball. The A's have hosted hundreds of community meetings and workshops since 2018, giving residents a voice to share their perspectives and insights on how the ballpark can benefit and provide opportunities in Oakland. In addition to community engagement meetings, Kaval has implemented a number of initiatives to connect with fans and community stakeholders, including hosting weekly office hours, participating in town hall meetings, posting blog and Facebook Live updates, and communicating via Twitter and Instagram at @DaveKaval.
He is also leading the A's plans to redevelop the current Coliseum site. Preliminary plans include a large park surrounded by substantial new housing, including affordable housing, a skills center, community gathering spaces, office and retail space, and restaurants. The A's and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors entered into an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement in April 2018. On April 23, 2019, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to approve the term sheet for the possible purchase by the A's of the County's 50% interest in the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Complex for $85 million.
In his three seasons as president, Kaval has enhanced the fan experience by making upgrades to the Oakland Coliseum, introduced a forward thinking season ticket program called "A's Access," hosted MLB's first completely free game, and the largest game in Oakland Coliseum history when 56,310 fans attended the game versus the San Francisco Giants on July 21, 2018.
In addition to delivering the best baseball experience for the Club's fans, Kaval is committed to increasing the organization's community impact. In 2018, the Club donated more than $2.6M back to the community, distributed more than 100,000 game tickets free of charge to fans, and engaged more than 35,000 students in education initiatives, and provided 10,000 youth baseball and softball players opportunities to play the game.
Kaval previously served as the president of the San Jose Earthquakes of Major League Soccer. He oversaw the business and soccer sides of the franchise and represented the club on the Major League Soccer Board of Governors. He continues to serve as a Board Member of the San Jose Earthquakes.
During his time with the Quakes, the team won the 2012 Supporters' Shield, which is awarded to the MLS team with the best regular season record. His success with the team culminated in the opening of Avaya Stadium - the Quakes' $100M privately financed soccer stadium - on March 22, 2015. Kaval developed the innovative $20M naming rights partnership with Avaya, which helped create the first cloud-enabled stadium. Since opening its gates, Avaya Stadium has held numerous events including the 2016 MLS All-Star Game and World Cup Qualifiers. The 18,000-seat venue also houses the largest outdoor bar in North America.
Prior to joining the Earthquakes, Kaval founded the independent Golden Baseball League (GBL) in 2003. Memorable GBL alumni include Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco, Daniel Nava, Jose Lima, and Mark Prior. Kaval has also spent time in the Office of the President of the United States in Washington, D.C., where he worked on the National Security budget as part of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
He serves on a number of boards, including the Bay Area Council and Rocketship Education, in addition to the National Governing Board of the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) and the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO).
In 2000, Kaval co-authored a book entitled "The Summer that Saved Baseball," which highlighted a tour of all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums in the summer of 1998. He is also a lecturer in management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) where he teaches sports management.
A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Kaval earned a B.A. with honors in International Relations and an M.B.A. from Stanford University. He is a long-time resident of Menlo Park and lives there with his wife and two daughters.