• Home
  • Sports
  • Oakland Athletics Expected Move to Las Vegas May Spark MLB Expansion

Oakland Athletics Expected Move to Las Vegas May Spark MLB Expansion

After more than two decades of failure to build a stadium in Oakland and the surrounding area, the A’s are closer to becoming the latest major professional sports team to move to Las Vegas — following the NFL’s Raiders, who also relocated from Oakland in 2020. 

It was announced that the Oakland A’s had signed a multi-billion-dollar contract for a 49-acre parcel of land off the Las Vegas Strip, where they intend to build the new ballpark for the team. The project is expected to cost $1.5 billion, leaving half a billion dollars in public funding up to the municipalities involved.

MLB is now a significant step closer to expansion after this long-expected move, which will bring two more long-overdue franchises into the big leagues while also necessitating the creation of eight new minor-league teams around the country.

But once the Athletics tidy up the multi-billion-dollar details in Sin City, a new stadium for the Tampa Bay Rays will be the last hurdle to 32-team major leagues. Undoubtedly, the lobbying has already begun for cities like Nashville, Charlotte, Montreal, and Portland, and recently pitched expansion candidate Salt Lake City.

“The game is ready to grow its fan base,” said former big league pitcher Dave Stewart, one of the leaders of a Nashville expansion effort that already has nicknamed its potential team the Stars. “It’s trying to get today’s generation back at the ballpark and in the game. There’s a great light for expansion. I think baseball is ready for it.”

Why Las Vegas?

It’s definitely not the population or the TV market size—because both of those are far smaller than the area from which the A’s are moving.

“When you think about what makes for a successful market, you have to have a strong local fan base,” Kaval said. “2.3 million people are rabid sports fans. … That’s one reason we picked the site we picked: It’s easy to get to for locals.”

Since the stadium and parking lots will take up only 15 or so acres of the site, Kaval said that the rest of the area could serve as a mixed-use development—perhaps baseball-themed—that encourages locals and tourists to spend time in bars, restaurants, and other attractions, similar to The Battery in Atlanta.

“The secret sauce to Las Vegas is you have the tourists,” he said. “Those people can come in and spend big dollars. You create a business model that’s resilient and powerful.”

What is the timeline for this move?

The Nevada Legislature session ends in July, and if the Athletics and the government can strike a public-private partnership, the next step will be for the team to file for relocation with the MLB. Once the commissioner’s office approves, the A’s will need a vote by owners to codify the move, but if all of this gets done before January 2024, the team can break ground on the new stadium by next year in preparation for the 2027 season.

However, the A’s lease in Oakland is up after 2024, so even if all goes according to plan, it is pretty unclear where they’ll play in 2025. According to ESPN’s team president, Dave Kaval, the A’s have negotiated a deal with the Las Vegas Aviators, their Triple-A affiliate, to potentially use the Las Vegas Ballpark for home games starting in 2025, or maybe even earlier if the A’s and the Coliseum come to an agreement to terminate the lease early. The team could also temporarily extend the lease agreement in Oakland, like the Raiders did before they moved.

Whatever the case, MLB will have a significant say in it, as the league will help shape the interim plan.


Join Our Mailing List

Recent Articles

Hey! Are you enjoying NYCTastemakers? Make sure to join our mailing list for NYCTM and never miss the chance to read all of our articles!