Major League Baseball owners unanimously voted Thursday to approve the relocation of the Oakland Athletics out of the Bay Area to Las Vegas.
The franchise is set to start playing baseball in Nevada in 2028 in a new stadium on the Las Vegas Strip at Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue, on the site of the Tropicana hotel.
“Today marks a significant moment for our franchise, and it’s met with mixed emotions; sadness for this change and excitement for our future. I know this is a hard day for our fans in Oakland,” A’s managing partner and owner John Fisher said in a statement.
“We are excited to begin this next chapter in Las Vegas. I want to thank the Las Vegas and Nevada community for welcoming us,” Fisher stated.
There are a few hurdles in the way before “play ball!” is heard at the A’s new home on the strip. The franchise still needs to finalize funding agreements and find a place to play before 2028. The team’s lease at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum ends following the 2024 season.
The future home of the ballclub has been uncertain for over a decade as the team’s multiple attempts to secure funding for a new home stadium in the Bay Area were unsuccessful. The current stadium has widely been considered out of date and in need of an overhaul.
On Thursday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he and Fisher had wanted the club to stay in Oakland and find a stadium solution, but a deal never materialized with the city.
“I know this is a terrible day for fans in Oakland,” Manfred said Thursday following the league’s owners meetings in Arlington, Texas.
Manfred said “everything humanly possible” was attempted to avoid the relocation out of Oakland.
“I think it’s beyond debate that the status quo in Oakland was untenable. Those of you who have been in the building understand what I’m talking about. I absolutely am convinced that there was not a viable path forward in Oakland,” Manfred said.
The Athletics have played in the city of Oakland since 1968.
The rise of the sporting landscape in Las Vegas has been remarkable. The city had no major league sports franchises in 2016. It will now have four: the NHL’s Golden Knights, the WNBA’s Aces, the NFL’s Raiders and the relocated Athletics.
Manfred explained what made Las Vegas the right fit for a MLB franchise.
“Not only is it a great community with the people that live there but the tourism traffic is a huge advantage for the market,” he said.
“We think there’s a ton of fans in Las Vegas, a ton of baseball fans. We think that over the long haul Las Vegas will be a huge asset to Major League Baseball.”
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