Major League Baseball owners voted unanimously Thursday to allow the Oakland Athletics to move to Las Vegas, paving the way for the second MLB franchise to relocate since 2005, according to the Associated Press.
The move comes after the club and city failed to come to an agreement after more than two decades of negotiations on a replacement for the outdated Oakland Coliseum.
The A's lease at the Coliseum expires after the 2024 season, and it's unknown where the club will play its games until the new ballpark in Las Vegas is ready to open, in 2027 at the earliest.
Fans voiced their displeasure with owner John Fisher, who has put minimum investment toward the team since taking over in 2005, when the organization announced its intentions to move to Las Vegas. Chants of "sell the team" broke out at A's home games in 2023. And even on the road, opposing fans joined in on the chant.
More than 27,000 fans showed up for a fan-organized reverse boycott to show that the A’s still have support – and that Fisher is at fault for the team's poor attendance. The boycott drew nationwide media attention.
MLB owner approval was seen as a formality after the Nevada Assembly passed Senate Bill 1 (SB1) in June by a 25-15 margin, approving the proposed $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat stadium for the A’s on The Strip. The bill was passed back to the senate, which concurred with the assembly.
The A’s will get a lot of handouts to build the ballpark on a nine-acre plot of land currently occupied by the Tropicana Hotel. Nevada is proposing to contribute up to $380 million in public funds for the project, while the A’s also got the land for free (valued at $180 million), along with other tax breaks that will benefit the franchise for decades.
The A’s arrived in Oakland in 1968 and dominated the early 1970s with their Swingin’ A’s bunch – winning three straight World Series from 1972-74. The A’s topped the Giants in the 1989 Bay Bridge Series to bring a fourth championship to Oakland.
Fisher failed to invest in the team once he took over in 2005, as the front office was forced to do fire sales every few years to restock on cheap, young talent. He alienated his fanbase in the process, doubling season ticket prices from 2019 to 2022, with the pandemic in the middle of it.
Even though the A’s were reportedly 90 percent done with a deal to build a waterfront ballpark district at Howard Terminal in West Oakland, they walked away from the negotiating table in late April and focused all their efforts in Vegas.