Apr 20, 2023 - Sports

Oakland A's sign deal in Vegas

mostly empty a's stadium

A nearly empty Oakland Coliseum (RingCentral Coliseum) during a game in May 2022. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

In 2020, the National Football League's Raiders left Oakland for Las Vegas. Three years later, Major League Baseball's Athletics appear set to follow them.

Driving the news: The A's have signed a binding agreement to purchase land near the Las Vegas Strip, where they intend to build a $1.5 billion ballpark, team president Dave Kaval told the Las Vegas Review-Journal Wednesday night.

  • The agreement is for a 49-acre site owned by Red Rock Resorts that's about a mile north of Allegiant Stadium (Raiders) and a mile west of T-Mobile Arena (National Hockey League's Golden Knights).
  • Kaval says the team hopes to break ground by next year and move into their new home by 2027.

What they're saying: "For a while we were on parallel paths [with Oakland], but we have turned our attention to Las Vegas to get a deal here for the A's and find a long-term home," said Kaval.

  • "Oakland has been a great home for us for over 50 years, but we really need this 20-year saga completed and we feel there's a path here in Southern Nevada to do that."
  • "We support the A's turning their focus on Las Vegas and look forward to them bringing finality to this process by the end of the year," added MLB commissioner Rob Manfred.

The other side: Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao criticized the announcement, saying "it is clear to me that the A's … have simply been using this process to try to extract a better deal out of Las Vegas." Thao said the city is ceasing all negotiations with the team.

The backdrop: The A's have been looking for a new home to replace the Oakland Coliseum, where they've played since arriving from Kansas City in 1968. The ballpark has numerous issues, including a colony of feral cats and a possum living in the visitors' TV booth.

  • The team's lease expires after the 2024 season, and there had been ongoing negotiations about a new ballpark in Oakland — most recently a $12 billion waterfront project.

State of play: The A's have had a brutal start to the year, sporting MLB's worst record (3-16), run differential (-86) and average attendance (11,025). With the news of their impending departure now hanging over the team, it could be a long season in Oakland.

The bottom line: As recently as 2016, three major sports teams played in Oakland (Athletics, Raiders, Golden State Warriors*) and none played in Las Vegas. Roughly a decade later, those numbers are poised to flip, with three teams in Las Vegas and none in Oakland.

*The Warriors moved across the bay to San Francisco in 2019.

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