Three years after the NFL’s Raiders left for Sin City, the Athletics say they’re aiming buy land near the Las Vegas Strip, where they’ll build a new ballpark and move into it in 2027.
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Las Vegas raided Oakland of its football team three years ago, and Sin City appears on the verge of making off with Oakland’s baseball team as well.
The Oakland Athletics are planning to buy land near the Las Vegas Strip with the plan of building a new ballpark there and moving into it in 2027, A’s president Dave Kaval told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Wednesday night.
“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,” Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred told the Review-Journal.
The proposed 35,000-seat ballpark would be located across Interstate 15 from T-Mobile Arena, the home of the NHL’s Golden Knights, and about a mile north of Allegiant Stadium, where the Raiders play.
If the A’s complete a financing deal with Nevada authorities — never a sure thing — Oakland would lose all three of its major sports teams within a decade. The Golden State Warriors moved to San Francisco in 2019; the Raiders left for Las Vegas in 2020.
The move would be the first within MLB since the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington in 2005. No other MLB team has moved since the Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers in 1972.
The A’s move would leave the San Francisco Giants as the lone MLB team in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the top 10 media markets in the United States. The move would enrich the Giants, ranked by Forbes as MLB’s second-most profitable team last season. Forbes estimated the Giants turned a $75 million profit last season.
The Giants invoked their territorial rights to block the A’s from moving to San Jose a decade ago. The move would have kept the A’s in the Bay Area. San Jose sued, but courts refused to intervene, citing the MLB antitrust exemption that a federal judge said “makes little sense.”
The A’s searched for a new stadium for more than two decades, but the efforts in Oakland, San Jose and suburban Fremont failed. In 2017, the A’s announced their intent to build a new ballpark on college-owned land in downtown Oakland, but the mayor opposed the proposal, and the college declined to sell the land.
The A’s then turned to a waterfront site, supported by the mayor, where the team promised a privately funded stadium and surrounding development. Talks stalled over who would pay for the infrastructure necessary for the development and how much affordable housing would be included in it.
In the meantime, the A’s stripped the team of its best players and alienated its fan base, paring the payroll while raising ticket prices.
The A’s arrived from Kansas City in 1968. Their “Swingin’ A’s” won three consecutive World Series, the last against the Dodgers in 1974. Under the pioneering analytical approach of Billy Beane, the “Moneyball” A’s reached the postseason 11 times from 2000-20.
This year’s A’s are 3-16, the worst record in the major leagues. Their average attendance of 10,129 is lowest in the majors.
Fans had announced a “reverse boycott” of the A’s June 13 game, encouraging other fans to “join us to voice frustration about A’s ownership and MLB. “Show fans are here, demanding an owner who cares.”
At Sunday’s game, a group of disgruntled fans unveiled a banner with a three-word message: “STOP BLAMING US.” They were asked to remove the banner.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.