MLB Lays Out Approval Process For Oakland Athletics’ Move To Las Vegas

Jun 15, 2023, 1:21 PM | Updated: 1:23 pm

Major-League-Baseball-logo- MLB Oakland Utah move...

A MLB logo is seen before a game between the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on May 22, 2022 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (AP) — The MLB laid out a detailed process to approve the Oakland Athletics move to Las Vegas, which appears set to become the second shift of a franchise in the last half-century.

“I feel sorry for the fans in Oakland. I do not like this outcome. I understand why they feel the way they do,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday following an owners meeting, a day after the Nevada Legislature approved public funding for a ballpark.

Manfred said Oakland will file a relocation application and he will establish a relocation committee, which would define operating territory and broadcast territory. That group will make a recommendation that will go the sport’s executive council and then to full ownership.

“The owners as a whole understand that there has been a multiyear, approaching a decade effort, where for a vast majority of the time the sole focus was Oakland,” he said. “What is it that Oakland was prepared to do? There is no Oakland offer.”

Las Vegas would become the fourth home for a franchise that started in Philadelphia from 1901-54, moved to Kansas City for 13 seasons and arrived in Oakland for 1968.

The A’s would be the second MLB team to change cities in more than a half-century. Since the Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers for 1972, the only team to relocate has been the Montreal Expos, who became the Washington Nationals in 2005.

After announcing plans to build ballparks at Fremont (2006), San Jose (2012) and the Oakland waterfront (2018), the A’s said on April 19 they had agreed to buy land close to the Las Vegas Strip. That got replaced in a deal announced May 15 to build on the Tropicana hotel site on the Strip.

Nevada’s Legislature on Wednesday approved providing $380 million in taxpayer money for a proposed $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat ballpark with a retractable roof, a bill Gov. Joe Lombardo is expected to sign. The new venue would be close to Allegiant Stadium, where the NFL’s Oakland Raiders moved to in 2020, and T-Mobile Arena, where the NHL’s expansion Golden Knights started play in 2017.

The team, whose lease at the Oakland Coliseum expires after the 2024 season, would move from the 10th-largest U.S. television market to the 40th, and stadium capacity would be the major leagues’ smallest.

A new stadium likely would open in 2028 at the earliest. Before then, a possible home is the 10,000-capacity Las Vegas Ballpark, home of the Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators, Oakland’s top farm team.

Oakland is averaging 9,076 fans per home game, lowest among the 30 teams and one-third the average of 27,203. After trading top players and slashing payroll to a big league-low $58 million, the A’s have the second-worst record in the major leagues at 19-51.

Manfred has said the A’s and Tampa Bay Rays must get new ballpark agreements before expansion will be considered. MLB last added teams for 1998, and top candidates are considered to be Charlotte, North Carolina; Montreal; Nashville, Tennessee; and Portland, Oregon.

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MLB Lays Out Approval Process For Oakland Athletics’ Move To Las Vegas