On Nov. 16, 2023 the 30 Major League Baseball owners all unanimously voted to approve the Oakland Athletics move to Las Vegas. This comes after a multiyear battle between the Oakland faithful, majority owner John Fischer and the city of Oakland. “Today marks a significant moment for our franchise, and it’s met with mixed emotions — sadness for this change and excitement for our future,” Fisher said. “I know this is a hard day for our fans in Oakland. We made sincere efforts to keep our team in Oakland, but unfortunately, it did not work out.”
Fans have become very frustrated with raised ticket prices, lack of winning and ownership’s unwillingness to put forth the money on a big name super star. The third problem was featured in the acclaimed 2011 movie, Moneyball. They are currently the last professional sports team in Oakland. The National Basketball Association’s Golden State Warriors moved across the bay to San Francisco’s Chase Center in 2019. The National Football League’s Oakland Raiders moved from Oakland to Las Vegas in 2020.
In 2023 the Oakland A’s were by far the worst team in the league, finishing with a 50-112 record which was 10 games behind the next worst team. The poor product on the field resulted in very low attendance. The A’s were the only team in the league to have less than 1.1 million home fans this season; they had just under 880,000. This has been an ongoing trend as they haven’t been outside the bottom 2 teams in attendance since 2019.
Many also blame their 57-year-old home stadium, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum which has long been regarded as one of the worst stadiums in the MLB. Commissioner Rob Manfred has been on the ballclub about their stadium since 2015. The city’s lack of willingness to spend money to upgrade the stadium or build a new one was one of the main factors in the A’s leaving.
It is interesting that this is the 4th city the organization has been located in, the most in the MLB. The 122-year-old ball club was started in Philadelphia. In 1955 they moved to Kansas City and then moved again to Oakland in 1968.
So where will the A’s play in 2024? The A’s will still play in the dilapidated Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in 2024 however, their lease will be up after the season. It is currently unclear where they will play in 2025 and 2026 while their new state of the art stadium is built in Sin City. Many look at the Las Vegas Ballpark, current home of the A’s AAA affiliate Las Vegas Aviators. It has a capacity of around 10,000, which is 23,000 less than the smallest stadium in the MLB right now.
Their new stadium is set to be finished before the start of the 2027 season at a cost of approximately $1.6 billion dollars. It will have a partially retractable roof and a capacity over 33,000 seats. This will make it the second smallest ballpark in the MLB but owner John Fischer emphasized the luxury of the stadium for fan experience. Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo has publicly stated the state will pledge at least $380 million towards the new stadium. The unnamed stadium, along with its amenities and its own “Ballpark Village”, will be built on the site of the Tropicana Hotel along the Vegas strip. Teardown of the hotel is expected to start in the near future. The “Ballpark Village” is expected to have team stores, restaurants, hotels and a casino.
The Las Vegas Athletics will be the 3rd professional sports team in Sin City. The Las Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League became the city’s first professional sports team when the NHL expanded in 2017. They won the most recent Stanley Cup Championship. The Las Vegas Raiders moved from Oakland to Vegas in 2020 and currently play in the state of the art Allegiant Stadium. The NBA is currently in talks of potentially expanding, with Vegas a favorite to get the new team. If that becomes reality, they will be the 13th city to have a team in all 4 North American professional sports leagues. What a great time to be a sport’s fan in Las Vegas.