Image Courtesy of the Nevada Current
By Zachary Lichter
“America’s Pastime” will make its way to Las Vegas starting in 2028. The news comes as Major League Baseball (MLB) owners unanimously voted on November 16 of this year to move the Oakland Athletics to Las Vegas.
The idea of moving the Athletics to Las Vegas began in April 2023, with the team unable to afford to keep the team in Oakland. The Athletics have the lowest payroll in the league, and they pay half of the lease to play in Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, while the city has paid for the other half.
With their owner, John Fisher, wanting to move his franchise to Las Vegas, the Athletics were looking to get $500 million to fund the building for the stadium. Instead, on June 14th of this year, the Nevada Senate passed a $380 million bill in an agreement with the Athletics to allow members of the Las Vegas community to use one of their suites in the new Las Vegas Stadium. The Athletics pledged to donate $1.5 million a year to offer resources to help reduce homelessness in Las Vegas.
The idea of moving to Las Vegas also created controversy among the fans. Fans have been chanting, “Sell the team” or “Stay in Oakland” at all home games.
In a game against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 13th of this year, there was a protest among the fans because they wanted to keep their favorite baseball team in Oakland. The idea behind the protest was that they wanted Fisher to sell the franchise. With fans angry about their team moving to Las Vegas, they will lose another sports team.
“I think it’s sad for the baseball fan community that they have to witness a team move for the sake of money,” Matthew Cutrona, a junior politics major and sports management and philosophy minor said. “The last time that happened was 2005 with the Montreal Expos going to Washington to become the Nationals. Oakland fans have lost all their sports teams now and it leaves the people of Oakland wondering what hope they could have in the sports world.”
The Athletics have played at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in Oakland since they moved from Kansas City in 1968. They have won four World Series titles while they have made a home for themselves in Oakland.
The Athletics have also provided a fan base drawing in over 2 million fans from the Bay Area every season. It didn’t matter how good or bad the team was: people still filled the seats.
Since the Athletics have been in Oakland, they have struggled for over 20 years to provide funding for a new stadium to replace the old stadium. To provide renovations, the Athletics needed to have support from 75% of the other teams at the quarterly owners meetings. The Athletics weren’t able to receive any support for rebuilding a new stadium because MLB owners voted unanimously to move them to Las Vegas without thinking about plans for a temporary ballpark, while their ballpark in Las Vegas will not be ready until 2028.
With the Athletics moving to Las Vegas in 2028, they will play their last season in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum in 2024 before their contract expires at the end of the season.
The plan for a temporary ballpark for the Athletics during the next three seasons is unclear.
As for the new stadium, it will be built on the site of where the old Tropicana Hotel used to be located in the Las Vegas Strip. The stadium will be called “Las Vegas Stadium,” and it is set to be one of the smallest ballparks in MLB. With games being played in the summer, the construction plans for the stadium will not include a retractable roof, making it hard for players to play baseball in the heat.
“I think smaller parks are good for baseball because it will increase the amount of home runs hit,” Joseph Marini, a junior finance major and sales minor said. “These days, fans want to see home runs, and if they don’t, they are disappointed. I think they should try this out for a season, look at the sales and reviews, and then decide whether or not they should start a project to build another field in Las Vegas.”
The move to have the Athletics go to Las Vegas has created a lot of issues regarding funding and the franchise’s future. As the Athletics have a lot of big moves ahead of them, they hope to iron out a lot of the bigger issues.
The Athletics hope that they will be able to secure enough money to play in Las Vegas and have a temporary ballpark by the end of the 2024 MLB season. The Athletics must work with local and state governments to keep playing baseball in a particular area.