Oakland A’s Could Relocate to Las Vegas, MLB Commissioner Threatens Bay Area City

Posted on: October 7, 2019, 02:01h. 

Last updated on: October 7, 2019, 02:30h.

The Oakland A’s have options. That’s the message MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told local officials during a meeting last week, and one potential outcome of the city’s lawsuit with the county is to relocate the franchise to Las Vegas.

Oakland A's Las Vegas MLB odds
The Oakland A’s could be the city’s second major pro sports team to book a one-way ticket to Las Vegas. (Image: Rick Rodriguez/Unspalsh)

The days of America’s “Big Four” professional sports leagues being opposed to allowing one of their franchises to call Las Vegas home are long gone. The May 2018 US Supreme Court decision that struck out the federal ban on sports betting everywhere but Nevada has led to a great expansion of legal sportsbooks across the country.

The NFL has already signed off on allowing the Raiders to move to Las Vegas for the kickoff of the 2020 season. It appears the Bay Area city could see its other pro franchise skip town, too.

Las Vegas A’s

The Oakland Athletics need a new home. The aging Oakland Coliseum has consistently been labeled one of the worst MLB venues. Earlier this year, The New York Times called the Coliseum “a bland, charmless concrete monstrosity” that “isn’t worthy of preservation” and “perhaps America’s most hated sports stadium.”

The A’s want to build a waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal and Jack London Square. The problem is that the city of Oakland has filed a lawsuit against Alameda County to block the county from selling its half- ownership position in the Coliseum to the A’s for $85 million.

Oakland the city owns the remaining 50 percent stake in the Coliseum, and wants the county to sell its position to the city. But the Oakland City Council doesn’t have the $85 million the A’s franchise is offering for that share.

The A’s want to demolish the Coliseum and redevelop the 155 acres on which it sits. The goal is that the redevelopment would finance the new ballpark at Jack London Square.

Manfred warned the City Council that unless it drops its lawsuit that’s holding up the sale of the Coliseum, the team could consider relocating elsewhere – Southern Nevada being a frontrunner.

He kind of laid down the law,” City Councilman Larry Reid said. “He talked about how it was five years ago that he became commissioner, how he had resisted the A’s moving to San Jose back then.

“Then he talked about his frustration with the lawsuit and how the city needs to make it go away,” Reid explained.

Repeat History

The 2019 Oakland A’s season culminated in disappointment – again. The team’s second consecutive trip to the playoffs ended with the American League Wild Card game.

In 2018, the A’s lost 7-2 to the New York Yankees in the one-game AL Wild Card. Last week, they lost 5-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Oakland went 97-65 in both 2018 and 2019. It’s the most wins they’ve won in the regular season since they went 102-60 in 2001.

Despite their recent success, the Athletics aren’t overly supported by their Bay Area fan base. The team ranked No. 24 out of 30 in 2019 attendance. Each game averaged 20,521 attendees, far below the MLB-leading Los Angeles Dodgers at more than 49,000.