Are the Oakland A’s Making a Move to Las Vegas?
Although Major League Baseball’s Athletics have been on the move before, since 1968, Oakland, California, was the home turf of the A’s. If the rumors are true, and this story seems to be getting more factual by the moment, the A’s could soon be playing baseball in the desert after team president Dave Kaval finalized a deal to purchase a 49-acre site close to the Las Vegas strip.
Baseball in Las Vegas? Suite Talk: The Business Behind Sports host, Patrick Rishe, says the odds are in their favor, and there are many reasons why.
“The principal reason for this move is simple,” Rishe said. “Las Vegas and the state of Nevada are willing to offer public money to partially subsidize a new stadium that is likely going to cost around $1.5 billion, just as the state of Nevada did for Allegiant Stadium and the Raiders. Other reasons for the move are all economical. Oakland Coliseum is one of the oldest stadiums in MLB, and average attendance is consistently one of the lowest in MLB. One early season game this year yielded a meager 3,000 fans. If there is no fan support for the Athletics in Northern California, management must find fans elsewhere.
What does this mean for baseball in Oakland?
“When an owner or a franchise buys land elsewhere, that’s the beginning of the end,” Rishe said. “And we saw this here in St. Louis when Stan Kroenke, back in 2014, bought 60 acres in Englewood. That was a foretelling of what was to come, and two years later, the Rams moved to Los Angeles.”
A move to Vegas and a state-of-the-art stadium provides opportunities for the A’s to create partnerships, gain more luxury suite revenues, and create a national fanbase from the many visitors Las Vegas hosts throughout the Baseball season.
Are there potential downsides or challenges to moving the team to Las Vegas?
Patrick Rishe wonders if the A’s can consistently draw attendance with an 81-game home schedule. “And they’d be the 3rd major pro sports league in town, and likely, eventually, the NBA will be coming to Vegas too,” Rishe said. “Will the team be able to draw fans after the honeymoon effect is over consistently?” Still, if the benchmark is 3,000 fans a game, one has to believe moving to Vegas is a sure bet. And with sports betting exploding in the U.S., and Las Vegas being the capital of legalized sports betting, interest in a hometown baseball team could prove a big fan motivator.
Article by James Kent
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