Design & Development

Oakland A’s submit application for Vegas move

Featured image credit: Sung Shin on Unsplash

Featured image credit: Sung Shin on Unsplash

John Fisher, owner of Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics, has confirmed that the team has submitted an application to relocate to Las Vegas.

Fisher confirmed the news in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and also revealed that he has not considered selling the team despite fan protests over the proposed relocation to Las Vegas.

The A’s are planning on building a new 30,000-capacity ballpark in Las Vegas, and earlier this week the team selected Mortenson-McCarthy as the construction manager for the stadium. The joint venture built Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders.

The team’s relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas requires approval from Major League Baseball. In June, Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo signed off on a bill that will provide up to $380m (£300m/€350m) in public funding for the stadium, setting up what will likely be a months-long process for MLB to approve the franchise’s relocation.

In a rare interview, Fisher has now confirmed that the application has been submitted but the timeline for approval remains unclear.

“We just recently submitted our relocation application,” Fisher said. “The commissioner (Robert Manfred) has established a relocation committee that is going to review that, and it will then make its way to the other committees that will be reviewing it, and then to the full group of owners to vote on it.

“This is not new. Since we started looking at Las Vegas, we have been working closely with the commissioner and our fellow owners to make sure people were really up to speed on where things were on the timeline of our project in Las Vegas.

“My hope is that this will get accomplished sometime soon, but I don’t want to put a timeline on that, because that timeline is really governed by the commissioner and by our fellow owners.”

The A’s have reached a binding agreement with Bally’s Corporation and Gaming & Leisure Properties Inc. (GLPI) to build a new ballpark on the Tropicana hotel site. Bally’s is providing the A’s with nine acres of the 35-acre site free of charge, with chairman Soo Kim having estimated the plot is worth $180m.

The team’s relocation has been met with opposition from fans. In June, during the team’s home game against the Tampa Bay Rays at the Coliseum, A’s supporters enacted their long-planned Reverse Boycott scheme, designed to protest against Fisher and demonstrate to MLB the club’s fan base in Oakland.

Fans chanted “Sell, Sell”, while banners at the Coliseum included “Vegas Beware,” “ManFraud,” and “Fisher Out”. Some 27,759 fans were in attendance, the A’s largest home crowd of the season and more than triple the team’s home average of 8,555.

Despite the protests, Fisher told the Review-Journal that he has not considered selling the team. “I’ve now owned the team with my partner Lew Wolff, it’s shocking really how the time flies, but since 2005,” he said. “Our goal since then has been to find a new home and build a new home for our team.

“Long-term, I think we’ve understood, and looking at the great success stories of new ballparks throughout baseball, I think all but four ballparks in baseball are new since the early ‘80s. Led by (Baltimore’s) Camden Yards, going through the great facility Atlanta has built. It’s been clear to us that we need a new home, but it’s taken us a long time.

“We’re super excited about where we are today with the new stadium we’re going to build, which I think is going to be iconic for the Strip. We think it’s going to be great for the community, and which we think is going to be great for not only the A’s and our fans, but for all of baseball and really of sports.”

The A’s hope to break ground on the project next year, with a view to opening the stadium in time for the 2027 MLB season.

The A’s would become the third major-league franchise to leave Oakland in the space of five years, after the Raiders moved to Las Vegas in 2020 and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors moved to San Francisco in 2019. Las Vegas is also home to the NHL’s Golden Knights, which play at T-Mobile Arena.