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Saturday, June 22, 2024

A’s Owner Denies Tanking Allegations As Team Continues Relocation Process

  • Reclusive team owner grants rare interview, dismisses fan claims
  • Formal application for Las Vegas relocation has been submitted to MLB
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland A’s owner John Fisher has a blunt message for Bay Area fans frustrated with the club’s current state and forthcoming relocation to Las Vegas: You’re wrong.

Normally one of U.S. pro sports’ most reclusive owners, Fisher granted a rare interview to the Las Vegas Review-Journal in which he attacked and denied a series of allegations and stated objections from A’s fans. 

Among the bigger revelations: He’s not selling the A’s, he’s not intentionally tanking the team’s on-field performance, and he insists the club’s league-low payroll is strictly a function of club revenue.

“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Fisher said of the tanking claims. “The A’s this year will lose $40 million with a $60 million payroll. And the losses that the ownership has had here with this team over the last several years have been very significant. We have done everything we can to try and build ourselves back up to be a highly competitive team again.”

The A’s also have MLB’s lowest attendance and worst record

“In previous years … we lost $175 million. Which is one of the reasons why it is so important to us to have a new stadium,” said Fisher, who hasn’t released documentation for the claimed losses. “It can help the team get to break-even, but even more importantly, it can help drive the kinds of decisions we want to make around payroll.”

The A’s have now formally submitted their relocation application, with the timetable for approval uncertain. Beyond 2024 — the last season on the team’s current Oakland Coliseum lease — the A’s will have to decide where to play while a new ballpark is being built along the Las Vegas Strip.

“The commissioner and the league will really drive the decision of where we’re going to play [temporarily],” Fisher said.

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