The Oakland Athletics are Moving to Sacramento


Image Courtesy of Sportsnet

By Zachary Lichter

The 2024 Major League Baseball season is underway as all 30 teams enter their second full week of regular season baseball. While baseball fans are elated to watch their teams play this season, it will be especially emotional for Oakland Athletics fans as this will be the final year that the team will play in the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The league owners voted unanimously on November 16, 2023, to move the team to Las Vegas in 2028. But as they wait to have their stadium built, they will play in Sacramento for the next three seasons.

When the news came out about the Athletics owner, John Fisher, moving his franchise to Las Vegas in November 2023, Athletic fans were unhappy. Thousands of fans decided to boycott the Athletics home opener against the Cleveland Guardians on March 28 of this year by hosting a block party outside the stadium. About half an hour before the first pitch, fans were selling t-shirts and flags that said “Sell” and threw beanbags at drawings of Fisher, team president Dave Kaval, and other team executives.

Since Fisher decided to move his franchise to Las Vegas, there has been a lot of uncertainty about where his team will play for the next three seasons. The franchise wanted to stay in California for the next three seasons to keep their broadcasting rights with NBC Sports California. If they relocated somewhere else, they would need to find a new local channel to broadcast their games.

The Athletics contract with the City of Oakland is set to expire at the end of the season. The City of Oakland met with the franchise and had their final negotiating meeting on April 2 of this year

City officials offered to extend the Athletics lease for five years, and the team would be responsible for paying $97 million. The team was not interested in extending their contract because it currently pays the city $1.25 million to rent the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

A few hours after the Athletics met with the City of Oakland, Fisher met with Sacramento city officials to negotiate a contract to play in Sacramento. After Vivek Ranadive, the Sacramento Kings and River Cats (San Francisco Giants Triple-A affiliate) owner, approved the contract, the Athletics will play in Sacramento for the next three seasons and have the option to play a fourth season in Sacramento if their stadium in Las Vegas is not built yet

While Fisher met with Sacramento city officials, the City of Oakland offered a three year lease with a $60 million extension fee. Still, the city revised its contract too late after the franchise announced moving to Sacramento on April 4th.

The Athletics will play the 2025, 2026, and 2027 seasons in Sutter Health Park in West Sacramento, California. Since the franchise is staying in Sacramento for now, it will not use “Sacramento” in its branding and will just be called “The Athletics.” The Athletics will share their ballpark with the River Cats during those three seasons.

With the Athletics moving to Sacramento in 2025, as Fisher and Ranadive have created this new partnership, they must solve a few problems. For starters, the River Cats and the Athletics will be playing around the same time of the year, which means that MLB and Minor League Baseball (MILB) will have to alter the Athletics and River Cats schedules so both teams are not using the ballpark at the same time. 

Attendance for the Athletic games will be low because Sutter Health Park can only seat 14,000 people, including the open space in the outfield, making this new major league ballpark the smallest in MLB. With Fisher partnering with Randive, the staff at Oakland-Alameda Coliseum will get laid off at the end of the season because the staff at Sutter Health Park will be taking their jobs.

Construction hasn’t begun on the Athletics new stadium in the Las Vegas Strip because the Nevada Supreme Court had a court case on April 9 of this year with a political committee called, “Schools Over Stadiums.” This political committee is looking for the State of Nevada to put its tax dollars into funding schools rather than building a new stadium

If this committee wins its court case, there’s a chance that the Athletics new stadium might not be ready for Opening Day in 2028 due to less funding.

As the Athletic fans and the city of Oakland prepare to say goodbye to their beloved baseball team, Fisher and Ranadive need to be sure that Sutter Health Park can host two baseball teams. Fisher also needs to be sure that their stadium in Las Vegas will be built by 2028.

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