Things Are Happening: The Oakland A's Ownership Group Is Reportedly Meeting With Las Vegas Strip Owners Wednesday
SOURCE - Oakland Athletics’ brass will be back in Las Vegas on Wednesday to continue discussions on a potential relocation to the valley, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Team owner John Fisher and president Dave Kaval will meet with various resort operators on the north Strip, the person said.
After talks went silent in recent months with Las Vegas Festival Grounds owner and casino magnate Phil Ruffin, the person indicated that the 39-acre site is still in play as a potential location for a retractable dome stadium.
This is pretty huge news for a couple of reasons.
-The A's aren't doing this to call Oakland's bluff. We're way past that. The A's already have permission from Rob Manfred to talk to Las Vegas about relocating there. It doesn't appear to be any other cities that the A's are considering at all. It's not a question of if this new stadium goes up in Vegas but simply when and where. If you don't believe they will be the Las Vegas A's very soon, you just haven't been paying attention.
The A's lease at the Coliseum ends after the 2024 season. At this point, I wouldn't be shocked if an announcement that they are moving happens before the All-Star Break so Vegas can break ground on a new stadium as soon as possible. That will obviously kill attendance for the rest of 2023 and the 2024 season but it's not like people are going to A's games now anyway.
Why would they? Ownership has torn the team down to the point where they are even trading the halfway decent players like Cole Irvin away. It's the movie Major League come to life except there is no Roger Dorn and Wild Thing to save the day. The A's tanked and will get their stadium in a sunnier area. There is no happy ending for Oakland fans.
-Expansion becomes a front line issue. The only thing holding it back were the stadium issues in Tampa Bay and Oakland getting taken care of. Oakland will be gone to Vegas and word out of St. Pete this week was that the mayor approved one of the Rays stadium options to build a new stadium on the site of Tropicana Field. Nothing has been settled but the parties seem to be working together and things appear to be headed to the Rays staying in Tampa Bay.
This means MLB can look at Nashville, Portland, Montreal and other markets as they will expand to two cities to get to 32 teams. This will have a MAJOR ripple effect on all of baseball as massive realignment will take place. I wouldn't be shocked to see 4 divisions in each league and some owners want MLB to be regionalized like in the NBA with an Eastern and Western leagues.
The other reason you may see expansion fast tracked is many baseball teams are going to lose local TV rights revenue overnight. That was covered in this blog by Will Burge:
I obviously feel awful for Oakland fans. The A's have been there since 1968. I remember when the A's of 1988-90 were the best and most exciting team in baseball. If you're an older A's fan, you saw them be one of only two teams in the last 60 years to win three World Series in a row in 1972-74 (The Yankees in 1998-2000 are the only other).
The A's ownership has cost Oakland multiple pennants by never really investing in the team when they've had success over the past 25 years. They've made the playoffs 11 times since 2000. They've never had a payroll even hit $103 million. It's not fair. But business rarely is.