A several-month saga has concluded. Sources told ESPN that Major League Baseball owners voted Thursday to allow the Oakland Athletics to move to Las Vegas, paving the way for baseball’s second relocation in the past half-century took a huge step to its conclusion on Thursday. In a unanimous vote, Major League Baseball’s owners approved the Oakland Athletics to relocate to Las Vegas. The move will mark the first relocation in MLB since the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals in 2005.
Breaking: Major League Baseball owners voted Thursday to allow the Oakland Athletics to move to Las Vegas, paving the way for baseball's second relocation in the past half-century, sources told ESPN.
— ESPN (@espn) November 16, 2023
MLB Owners Approve Athletics Relocation to Las Vegas
The approval was widely expected, but some hurdles remain. MLB and the Athletics still need to finalize funding and construction of a new stadium in Las Vegas. Team owner John Fisher plans to build a $1.5 billion, 33,000-seat stadium. While Nevada approved $380 million in public funding, Fisher is looking for around $500 million.
The biggest potential factor that can at least delay the move is protests from a political action committee. Largely supported by Nevada teachers, the committee wants funding to appear on a public ballot next November. At that point, the Nevada residents can vote against providing a public funds to Fisher.
NEWS: Nevada teachers' union to file lawsuit to stop public funding for A's stadium in Las Vegas https://t.co/9r54BuobIR
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) November 14, 2023
Billionaire owners fighting for public money is nothing new for professional sports leagues. MLB and the A’s have been battling with Oakland for decades, and the lack of progress contributed to the decision to explore other cities.
“Tough day,” Fisher said. “We gave every effort, did everything we could to find a solution [in Oakland].”
The Athletics moved to Oakland from Kansas City in 1968. Las Vegas would be the franchise’s fourth city (Philadelphia was the first). It remains to be seen whether the squad will continuebeing called “The Athletics”, as Oakland mayor Sheng Thao told MLB commissioner Rob Manfred that “the A’s branding and name should stay in Oakland.”
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao doubled down on her demand to keep the A’s name in the city after MLB unanimously voted for the baseball team to relocate.
"We are disappointed by the outcome of this vote. But we do not see this as the end of the road." https://t.co/X2Bm3qAvGy
— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) November 16, 2023
She also revealed that Oakland will pursue expansion team opportunities. Despite the tenuous relationship between MLB and Oakland, the city is viewed as having a real chance to be granted a relocation team in the next several years. Nashville is another leading contender.
When Do The A’s Move?
The team’s lease at the Oakland Coliseum expires after 2024. Fisher hopes to have a Las Vegas stadium ready for the 2028 season. What happens from 2025 through 2027 remains up in the air. While no decision appears close, reports indicate the A’s might play in Oracle Park in San Francisco or one of their minor league stadiums in Las Vegas or Sacramento.
Additionally, extending the lease at the Coliseum for a couple of years is an option. However, that would require negotiations between Oakland and MLB. It might be not very smart, to expect those negotiations to go well at this point.
A’s fans have protested the move since reports linking the team to Las Vegas came out early in the season. With Thursday’s news, fan groups have already begun organizing a boycott for Opening Day in 2024.
We urge all A’s fans to do the same or at least a portion if you can.
— Last Dive Bar 🏟 (@LastDiveBar) November 16, 2023
Many applauded the protests of A’s fans all throughout last season. MLB owners approving the Athletics’ relocation is a crushing blow to their beloved team, and it looks like they won’t back down any time soon.
Main Credits: Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports