Apr 24, 2023 - Sports

MLB expansion closer to a reality after Vegas deal

Illustration of a pair on binoculars with baseballs in place of the lenses

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Major League Baseball appears to be one step closer to expanding to new cities after last week's news that the Oakland Athletics are planning to move to Las Vegas.

Why it matters: Commissioner Rob Manfred said last year he favors adding two new franchises, but wants uncertain stadium situations with existing teams in Oakland and Tampa settled first. Those teams have been struggling to finalize deals for new stadiums with their local governments.

  • A local group has been pushing Nashville as an MLB expansion city.

Zoom in: The Music City Baseball group, led by businessperson John Loar, has been networking in Nashville for several years. The group has added celebrity investors in addition to former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and other Nashville business leaders.

  • Initially, the group zeroed in on the east bank of the Cumberland River as a possible site for a new ballpark. But with the Titans' project on the precipice of approval, that location doesn't seem to be an option.
  • Music City Baseball has also had discussions with Tennessee State University about land near the campus. Bookies.com lists Nashville as the most likely city for an expansion team.
  • Music City Baseball member Dave Stewart, a former MLB pitcher, tells Axios the group remains "committed to bringing a majority-minority owned franchise to Nashville that focuses on diversity and inclusion."

💭 Nate's thought bubble: There are major obstacles to Music City Baseball's chances of bringing MLB here. First, the Nashville Sounds are thriving and the city is heavily invested in the minor league team's Germantown facility.

  • Music City Baseball's investors also don't appear to include a billionaire investor able to spearhead a deal.
  • The political appetite for public financing toward a ballpark is pretty much zilch on the heels of the Titans stadium debate.

Read about MLB expansion efforts in Salt Lake City


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