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Friday, June 14, 2024

MLB Owners Unanimously Approve A’s Relocation To Las Vegas

  • Forthcoming franchise shift is just the second for MLB since 1971.
  • Quick approval by MLB team owners contrasts against rising questions surrounding move.
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

In the end, there was no dissension for the Oakland A’s relocating to Las Vegas, at least among MLB owners.

Team owners unanimously approved the club relocation early Thursday during league meetings in Arlington, solidifying just the second franchise shift in MLB since 1971. The A’s are due to begin play in a new $1.5 billion Las Vegas stadium in 2028, though questions remain on where the team will play for the 2025-27 seasons.

The approved relocation bid also sets up a lame-duck season in 2024 at the Oakland Coliseum that could be even uglier than the team’s 2023 campaign, during which the A’s posted both MLB’s worst record at 50-112 and lowest attendance at 832,352. 

“I know this is a terrible day for fans in Oakland. I understand that,” said MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. “I think it’s beyond debate that the status quo in Oakland was untenable. … I am absolutely convinced there was not a viable path forward.”

The A’s will also become the first MLB team to call four different cities home, with prior stops in Philadelphia and Kansas City.

Additionally, the club is the fourth major sports franchise to leave Oakland following the Golden State Warriors’ relocation to San Francisco’s Chase Center, the Oakland Raiders’ move to Las Vegas, and the NHL’s California Golden Seals’ move to Cleveland in 1976 to become the Cleveland Barons before folding two years later. 

The unanimous vote arrived despite fans protests and last-minute lobbying from Oakland political leaders, as well as outcry from MLB Players Association leaders. 

The relocation also comes after nearly two decades of active pursuit by the current A’s ownership group to strike a stadium deal in the Bay Area.

“We gave every effort, did everything we could to try to find solution there, and it was only the last couple years we started to turn our attention to another market,” A’s owner John Fisher said.

Not The End Of The Road?

Oakland officials refuse to see this as the end of baseball in that town and vowed to maintain efforts to develop a long-elusive stadium deal there.

“We all know there is a long way to go before shovels in the ground and that there are a number of unresolved issues surrounding this move,” said Oakland mayor Sheng Thao. “I have also made it clear to the commissioner that the A’s branding and name should stay in Oakland, and we will continue to work to pursue expansion opportunities.”

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