The move of the Oakland Athletics to Las Vegas was unanimously approved Thursday by Major League Baseball team owners, cementing the sport’s first relocation since 2005, according to two people familiar with the vote.
After years of complaints about the Oakland Coliseum and the inability to get government assistance for a new stadium in the Bay Area, the A’s plan to move to a stadium to be built on the Las Vegas Strip for $380 million of dollars in public financing approved by the Government of Nevada.
The A’s lease at the Coliseum expires after the 2024 season and it is still unclear where the team will play before a new stadium opens, in 2027 at the earliest.
Las Vegas will become the fourth city for a franchise that played in Philadelphia from 1901 to 1954, moved to Kansas City for 13 seasons and came to Oakland in 1968. The new stadium will be the team’s fifth after Columbia Park (1901- 08). Shibe Park (1909-54), Memorial Stadium (1955-67) and the Coliseum.
Expo’s latest relocation
Since the Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers in 1972, the only other team to relocate was the Montreal Expos, who became the Washington Nationals in 2005.
The A’s chose a site in the Oakland area near Laney College only to be rejected by the university and neighbors, then focused on the Howard Terminal area of Oakland. While some approvals were obtained, a financing plan was never reached.
The team announced on April 19 that it had purchased land in Las Vegas and a month later replaced that location with a deal with Bally’s and Gaming & Leisure Properties to build a stadium at the Tropicana hotel site along the Las Vegas Strip. .
Near Raiders Stadium
The Nevada Legislature and governor approved public financing for a $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat, retractable-roof baseball stadium that will be near Allegiant Stadium, where the NFL’s Oakland Raiders moved in 2020, and T-Mobile Arena , where the current Stanley Cup champion is played. Vegas Golden Knights began play in 2017 as an expansion team.
While San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose is the 10th largest television market in the United States, Las Vegas is the 40th. Last month, baseball players’ association head Tony Clark questioned whether the move to a smaller city would put the team on track for the necessary perpetual attendance under MLB’s revenue-sharing plan.
MLB can control city changes thanks to the sport’s antitrust exemption, granted by a 1922 U.S. Supreme Court decision.
In the last half century, the NFL has seen moves by the Raiders (from Oakland to Los Angeles, back to Oakland and then to Las Vegas), the Colts (from Baltimore to Indianapolis), the Cardinals (from St. Louis to Phoenix ), the Rams (Los Angeles to St. Louis and back to Los Angeles), the Oilers (Houston to Nashville) and the Chargers (San Diego to Los Angeles).