(New York) Major League Baseball has laid out a detailed procedure to approve the Oakland Athletics’ relocation to Las Vegas, which appears to pave the way for the franchise’s second relocation in the past 50 years.
“I feel sorry for the fans of Oakland. I don’t like the way this story ends at all. I understand how they feel,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said after a meeting of team owners held 24 hours after Nevada officials approved partial funding for a new baseball stadium. public funds.
Manfred added that Oakland would submit a relocation request and would form a relocation committee, which would establish the operating and broadcast territories. This group will make its recommendations which will be submitted to the executive board and then to the team owners.
“The owners understand that for nearly 10 years, most of the effort (to find a solution to the A’s stadium problems) was overwhelmingly aimed at a solution in Oakland,” Manfred said. What was Oakland actually prepared to do? There is no offer from Oakland. »
Las Vegas would become the fourth home of this franchise which began its history in Philadelphia, from 1901 to 1954, before moving to Kansas City for 13 seasons, then to Oakland in 1968.
The A’s would become only the second MLB team to change cities in more than half a century. Since the Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers in 1972, only the Montreal Expos have relocated, becoming the Washington Nationals in 2005.
After announcing stadium plans for Fremont (2006), San Jose (2012) and the Port of Oakland (2018), the A’s announced on April 19 that they had agreed to a tentative agreement to acquire land on the Strip, in Las Vegas. This agreement was replaced on May 15 by another unveiling the construction of a stadium on the site of the Tropicana, on the Strip.
Nevada officials on Wednesday approved $380 million in public funds to build a $1.5 billion 30,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof. State Governor Joe Lombardo is expected to sign the executive order shortly. The new stadium would be located near Allegiant Stadium, where the Oakland Raiders moved to in 2020, as well as T-Mobile Arena, home of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights since 2017.
The team, whose lease with Oakland Coliseum expires after the 2024 season, would move from the 10th-biggest TV market to the 40th. Its stadium would also have the smallest capacity in all of MLB.
The new stadium would presumably open for the 2028 season at the earliest. Prior to that, the team may play at Las Vegas Ballpark, the 10,000-seat home of its AAA farm club, the Las Vegas Aviators.
Oakland averages 9,076 spectators per home game, the lowest average among the 30 Major League teams and one-third the average attendance of 27,203. After trading the best players, the team has the lowest payroll in the league at 58 million. The A’s have the second-worst record in MLB at 19-51 entering Thursday’s games.
Manfred has said in the past that the Tampa Bay A’s and Rays need to get new stadiums before MLB will consider an expansion. The last additions were made in 1998 and the cities of Charlotte (North Carolina), Montreal, Nashville (Tennessee) and Portland (Oregon) would be considered.
Le Groupe Baseball Montreal, which aimed to share a team with the Tampa Bay market, has not expressed interest in an expansion club since the sister city project was shelved by Major League Baseball, in January 2022.