Earlier this week, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred expressed his doubts about the Athletics reaching a compromise with the city of Oakland, admitting, “We’re not sure we see a path to success in terms of getting something built in Oakland.” While many suspected the A’s were merely using their recent scouting trips to leverage funding for a new stadium in Oakland, the threat of relocation is apparently very real.
According to former Los Angeles Times columnist Arash Markazi, now of The Mightier 1090, team president Dave Kaval is expected to announce a “handful” of finalists for a potential $1-billion stadium in Vegas, which is also home of the A’s Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas Aviators.
If the A’s make good on their threat to leave, they’d become the third team to vacate Oakland in the span of a few years, following the Warriors’ move across the bay to San Francisco in 2019 and the Raiders’ departure for Vegas last year. Up until a few years ago, leagues had resisted the idea of a team playing in Vegas, but a landmark supreme court ruling in 2018 opened the floodgates, allowing sports betting to reach the mainstream. The city has since added two teams—the NHL’s Golden Knights along with the Raiders in 2020—with a third swinging a bat in the on-deck circle.
As well-traveled as any franchise in baseball, this would mark the A’s third relocation after previous stints in Philadelphia and Kansas City. The A’s have resided in Oakland since 1968, playing their home games at the Oakland Coliseum, an aging venue many would argue outlived its usefulness years ago.
The last time an MLB team relocated was in 2005, when the Expos—who had spent the previous season splitting time between Montreal and San Juan, Puerto Rico—rebranded as the Washington Nationals. Ironically, Montreal has been floated as a possible home for the Tampa Bay Rays, who, despite their on-field success, have struggled with attendance throughout their time at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.