Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
The Oakland Athletics will no longer be calling Oakland home.
The franchise that has called Oakland home since 1968 will be the second professional sports team to leave the Bright Side of the Bay for Sin City, as a unanimous vote was just passed by the MLB owners.
Official: The A’s are moving to Las Vegas. Unanimous vote
The Raiders, who were founded in Oakland in 1960, left for Las Vegas in 2017 and the Golden State Warriors left for San Francisco in 2019.
The move doesn’t come as a surprise, as the A’s fans and franchise have been on hard times for quite awhile, finishing 40 or more games back each of the last two years and having made the playoffs only 3 times since 2015, and without a World Series win since 1989.
Last season, they finished dead last in attendance and were the only team to not crack the 1 million mark, averaging just over 10,000 fans per game.
Much of this has been blamed on the owner, John Fisher, who fans say has failed to properly invest in both the team’s roster and their facilities, most recently being unable to secure a long-term extension with Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, even though he owns a 50% stake in it. He had announced in April his intentions to move the team to Las Vegas and today’s vote was a major step forward in actually making that happen.
The team is expected to actually make the move to Las Vegas in 2028 and they are currently exploring options to build a stadium on the Vegas Strip, having struck a deal to build a ballpark on the site of the Tropicana Hotel. It’s expected to hold 30,000, have a retractable roof, and will cost approximately $1.5 Billion.
But, there’s a problem with those dates…
The team can’t play in Vegas until 2028 and they don’t have a deal to remain in their Oakland location past the 2024 season, so after next year the A’s will be effectively homeless for 3 entire seasons.
While many options, including a potential year by year deal with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, remain on the table, the most likely course of action is a kind of cool, kind of sad, one.
According to Bob Nightengale, the team plans on bouncing around a bit, playing some games at the San Francisco Giant’s stadium as well as in Summerlin, Nevada at the site of the AAA minor league team.
The A's are expected to play in a variety of sites after their Oakland Coliseum lease expires after the 2024 season, including at the Giants' ballpark in San Francisco and Summerlin, Nevada, the A's Triple-A site. https://t.co/1aAcuJiJjd
Now, I’m a huge fan on minor league parks. They generally have unique layouts, cheap food and beer, and an atmosphere that is way more local and familial than the giant parks of major league teams, but the fact that, assuming they keep their 2023 attendance level, they would barely be able to sell out a AAA stadium is near tragic.
Sure, the fact that its big leaguers will help and some area residents will take the team as their own and go to games will increase turnout, but man, if that’s not proof the A’s are in a rough spot and honestly need to make a move if only to change things up, I don’t know what is.
Plus, having to borrow your rivals stadium to play games is pretty embarrassing…
It’s honestly sad what has happened to Oakland fans of late. Of course, they didn’t help their own cause by actually going to games and supporting their teams, but a city that has a long history of professional sports is now left with zero teams.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the A’s for some reason, and while I’ll be rooting for them, it’s just not going to be the same as when they were in Oakland.