The A’s Have Agreed to Purchase a Ballpark Site in Las Vegas
The Cubs beat the A’s so bad that they’re leaving Oakland.
I kid, but the timing is funny. Well, not funny for fans of the A’s in Oakland. For them, all of this is quite sad.
After more than a year of dual-tracking things, working with Oakland to try to get a new stadium deal and also working with Las Vegas to explore options, the Athletics organization is now focusing solely on a move to Las Vegas. It starts with a purchase of land for the new stadium:
A’s President Dave Kaval told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that they are now focused on Las Vegas, and although the purchase agreement is just for the land (west of The Strip), they are moving wholly forward with trying to get a public-private plan in place with the city of Las Vegas and the state of Nevada.
In other words, while much of what’s happened the last couple years could be described as attempted leverage in Oakland, this definitely feels different to me. Read the lengthy article for yourself (which was clearly well-prepared for this declaration), and I suspect you’ll get the same vibe. The A’s are going to move to Las Vegas if they can get a deal in place with the proper political entities.
It could happen quickly, too.
“We support the A’s turning their focus on Las Vegas and look forward to them bringing finality to this process by the end of the year,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement provided to the Review-Journal.
Adding to that timeline, a report overnight from The Athletic has Kaval as saying the goal is to get the public funding component ($500 million of the $1.5 billion price tag) in front of the state legislature by July. Why the rush? Well, setting aside the fact that things are clearly toast in Oakland and it’s just long past time to figure something out, there is a term in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that the A’s will lose their revenue-sharing money next year if there isn’t a final stadium plan in place. So, yes, it was time for them to accelerate in one direction or the other.
Also in The Athletic piece is a statement from Oakland’s mayor that they, too, are ceasing negotiations and moving forward with other options for the Howard Terminal site where the A’s could have otherwise built.
More coming on this soon, I expect. But the main takeaway here is that it’s almost certainly happening. The A’s are likely moving to Las Vegas, and the plan is likely going to be completed by the end of this year. (And then another awkward season or two in Oakland while the new digs are being built, unless they want to play at their Triple-A stadium in Vegas in 2024 … )
That, in turn, will put the focus back on expansion to 32 teams, now that Las Vegas will be off the table. The Rays still have to get their stadium deal finalized in Tampa/St. Pete, but there has been positive progress there.