Las Vegas has already taken the Raiders from Oakland. Now Sin City wants to take Oakland Athletics out of Major League Baseball, and that deal is looking increasingly likely as Oakland has moved very slowly toward a commitment to build a new stadium for the team.
Every professional sports team looking for a new arena or stadium uses desperate cities looking for a team to take advantage of their home market.
That’s how the San Diego Chargers ended up in Los Angeles. They tried to get what they wanted from their old home, but the city refused. The team then had to take the step to become the second team from a city that has never shown a willingness to support a single National Football League franchise.
In most cases, teams use the idea of moving as a pure game of leverage with their current home. Most teams don’t want to leave an established fan base behind unless they head to a much better market.
In the A’s case, however, Las Vegas is both a better market and close enough to Oakland for the team to maintain its current fan base.
The Athletics has negotiated with a number of venues on and off the Las Vegas Strip while continuing to at least communicate with Oakland.
Now, a key figure in deciding whether the A’s can move to Las Vegas has made it clear that Oakland needs to speed up its process.
Baseball commissioner weighs in on A’s move
Major League Baseball appears to support the idea of the A’s moving to Las Vegas. In late June, the league waived all fees associated with a move, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
“Fees vary on a case-by-case basis, but it is estimated that the charges would be in the range of hundreds of millions of dollars,” the newspaper reported.
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“The Raiders’ relocation fee charged by the NFL was $378 million when they moved to Las Vegas in 2020. Golden Knights owner Bill Foley paid a $500 million expansion fee to the NHL to land the team in Las Vegas. Expansion fees tend to cost more than relocation fees.”
Now MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has stepped up the pressure on the city of Oakland, saying the city must move quickly to reach a binding agreement with the team on the construction of a new stadium. If that doesn’t happen, relocation would become the best option, the Associated Press reported.
“I was at the Coliseum myself recently,” he told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on July 19 before the All-Star Game. “The state of the Colosseum is a very serious issue for us. I said, it’s not news. It’s not a major league quality facility at this point.
Manfred made it clear that Oakland’s time for action is running out and he delivered a message to Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff.
“Mayor Schaaf continues to work hard to try to get an arrangement, an agreement to develop the Howard Terminal site,” Manfred said. “I hope it can still happen. And I said it recently and I say it again, it has to happen now. It has to be done.
Las Vegas makes sense for the Oakland A’s
The Raiders and Golden Knights play to sold-out crowds paying some of the highest prices for any arena or stadium, according to a study by Money.co.uk, titled “America’s Most Expensive Sports Stadiums North”. Costs include the price of game tickets, hot dogs, soft drinks, parking, taxi/rideshare and Airbnb/hotel.
“Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders, came in third on the list, with an overall cost of $723. Meanwhile, T-Mobile Arena, where the Golden Knights play, came in fourth, with an estimated total cost of $676,” Brian O’Connell of TheStreet wrote.
“The only stadiums that cost more were Nissan Stadium in Nashville, where the Tennessee Titans play, and Bridgestone Arena, also in Nashville, where the NHL Predators play. The Nissan Stadium cost estimate was $754, while Bridgestone’s was $751.”
The ability to sell tickets to tourists who flock to Las Vegas and buy luxury seats and boxes makes the city very attractive for Major League Baseball.
Manfred has made it very clear, without saying it directly, that he wants the A’s in Las Vegas, which makes it very likely to happen.