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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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A’s Face Uphill Battle: Fans Protest on Opening Day As Vegas Move Looms

  • The club draws a sparse crowd for Opening Day, with likely many more such games to come.
  • Thousands of fans stay in the parking lot to protest the team’s planned move to Las Vegas.
D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

A’s fans again made their voices heard, and with force, on Opening Day, signaling what a long and difficult year it will likely be for the MLB club. 

The A’s drew an announced attendance of 13,522 for their season opener Thursday against the Guardians, easily the smallest crowd of any opener across the league and roughly half of Oakland’s total for its 2023 opener. But while the turnout was sparse inside the Coliseum, thousands of fans gathered in the stadium’s parking lot to voice their displeasure with the planned move of the A’s to Las Vegas. Instead of going inside for the game, many of those fans chose to stay in the lot for a block party, where they watched the game on a projection screen and waved “Sell” flags (above), calling on team owner John Fisher to part with the franchise.

Oakland fans had already established a tradition of activism, staging prior events such as last year’s “reverse boycott.” But the latest demonstration again showed the deep passion that still exists for the team in the Bay Area, regardless of Fisher’s relocation plans.

“I have not missed an Opening Day in 25 years,” Anson Casanares, vice president of influential fan group the Oakland 68s, told NBC Bay Area. “[But] why would I spend my money inside? Why spend my passion inside if they are trying to leave here?”

Bumpy Road Ahead

The A’s ranked by far last in MLB attendance last year, with a per-game average of 10,276. With the poor start to 2024—further shown by the 8–0 loss to Cleveland—and the existing fan unrest, a smaller number this year is all but certain. But there are more hurdles ahead. 

The club faces the potentially awkward situation of staying around this fan unrest for another three seasons, as Oakland is a leading candidate to host the A’s for the 2025–27 seasons while the new Las Vegas ballpark is built. The Vegas relocation, meanwhile, has its own issues, with plenty of questions emerging about the planned stadium site along the Strip and a newly released set of ballpark renderings

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