The Oakland Athletics have signed a binding agreement to purchase 49 acres (with an option for additional land) near the Las Vegas strip, according to Mick Akers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The A’s intend to build a stadium that seats at least 30,000 and that has a partially retractable roof, per team president Dave Kaval. They intend to have the stadium complete ahead of the 2027 season. ( .)
It’s worth noting that the A’s lease in Oakland expires after the 2024 season. Kaval told the New York Times that it’s possible the club will then relocate to Las Vegas and play in the minor-league park that currently houses the Triple-A Aviators.
“For a while we were on parallel paths (with Oakland), but we have turned our attention to Las Vegas to get a deal here for the A’s and find a long-term home,” Kaval told the Review-Journal. “Oakland has been a great home for us for over 50 years, but we really need this 20-year saga completed and we feel there’s a path here in Southern Nevada to do that.”
The A’s relocation plan includes passing a bill through the Legislature, “to create a funding mechanism, including a special taxation district covering the stadium site, which would allow for sales tax proceeds to be reinvested in the area, along with an allocation of transferable tax credits estimated to be worth around $500 million,” according to the Nevada Independent. The stadium would be located near the homes of the NFL’s Raiders and the NHL’s Golden Knights.
The A’s have attempted to finagle a new stadium since 2009. At one point, it appeared they had made progress toward a ballpark in Oakland located at the Howard Terminal site. Obviously that deal never came into fruition. MLB had set a January 2024 deadline for a stadium deal. In the past, the A’s had also been weaned off revenue sharing as a means of forcing the issue.
“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,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement to the Review-Journal.
If and when the A’s relocate, they’ll become just the second MLB team since the 1970s to do so. The Montreal Expos, of course, became the Washington Nationals following the 2004 season. The Expos were, at the time, owned by the league itself. The A’s have played in Oakland since 1968. The franchise had previously spent time in both Kansas City and Philadelphia, though both relocations took place before the 1970s.
Relocating has been a possibility for the A’s for awhile, more because of its stadium situation than anything else. Its ownership has done so much to alienate its fanbase and the local government that in some sense this was inevitable, but only if you accept the premise that the owners had no other way to act. Be careful what you ask for, Las Vegas, that’s all I’m saying. Yahoo and Fangraphs have more.