Oakland Athletics team president David Kaval says the team has narrowed the list of potential temporary homes while construction of their proposed stadium on the Las Vegas Strip is underway to three cities: Oakland, the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin, and San Francisco.
The A’s want to relocate to southern Nevada, but the ballpark they want to build next to the famed Las Vegas Strip will not open until 2028 at the earliest. The A’s lease at the Coliseum expires after the 2024 season, and Kaval said, in the meantime, the team will probably play its home games either at the current — and nearly 60-year-old — facility, San Francisco’s Oracle Park, or Las Vegas Ballpark, the home field of Oakland’s Triple-A affiliate.
“I think those are the three most likely scenarios and how that plays out,” Kaval told the Nevada Independent in a story published Wednesday. “That’s something (Major League Baseball) is running point on.”
Oakland city officials have previously told this publication and reiterated in the Independent report that there have been no discussions with the A’s about extending their lease at the Coliseum, which the A’s have called home since 1968. Efforts to reach the Giants for comment were not immediately successful.
Playing home games at either Oracle Park or Las Vegas Ballpark would present some challenges.
The Giants would certainly have some input about the A’s playing at 42,300-seat Oracle Park, which does host some non-baseball events while the National League team is out of town. A new MLB-caliber clubhouse for the A’s might need to be constructed, or renovations would have to occur since the Giants would almost assuredly object to having Oakland’s players in their spacious home locker room.
Also, the Giants and A’s typically have one or two series per year in which both teams are home at the same time. Next season, for example, the two teams are both at home from Aug. 19-21, and from Sept. 3-5
Two MLB teams haven’t shared one ballpark since the 1970s when the New York Yankees moved to the Mets’ Shea Stadium for two years while renovations took place at Yankee Stadium.
San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics fans watch the game in the sixth inning of the Bay Bridge series at Oracle Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
Las Vegas Ballpark is thought to be one of the best facilities in the minor leagues, but it presently only has a seating capacity of approximately 10,000 and would need to be expanded to house an MLB franchise. Also, the players association would have to sign off on the A’s playing their home games there.
“I think it’s a fantastic ballpark, and I don’t know the answer to the question of what improvements would need to be made for that ballpark to make it Major League Baseball ready,” A’s owner John Fisher told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in a story published Wednesday. “That’s all going to be under discussion and under the control of MLB itself.
“I can have my own opinion, but the commissioner and the league will really drive the decision of where we’re going to play going forward and the suitability of the Las Vegas Ballpark for us to play there on a temporary basis.”
Fisher all but ruled out the A’s playing at Triple-A parks in Sacramento in Reno from 2024 to 2027, but it appears extending the lease at the Coliseum is not out of the question — and not without local precedent.
Fisher pointed out in his interview with the Review-Journal that the Raiders remained at the Coliseum for three seasons after the NFL approved the franchise’s relocation to Las Vegas in 2017.
The A’s presently pay the Coliseum Authority $1.2 million annually to lease the stadium. When the Raiders first extended their Coliseum lease in 2016 — an agreement that included an additional two years of team options following the 2016 season — their annual rent increased from $400,000 to $2.975 million. In the Raiders’ final year at the Coliseum in 2019, rent jumped to $7.5 million.
Fisher said the A’s have submitted their relocation application to the relocation committee, which is headed by Milwaukee Brewers chairman Mark Attanasio.
Per the Associated Press, that group will evaluate the team’s application, define the new operating territory and television territory, and then make a recommendation to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and the eight-man executive council. The council formulates a recommendation to all clubs, and a move would have to be approved in a vote by at least 75% of the 30 major league teams. It is unclear when that vote would take place.
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Some A’s fans who spoke to this news organization Wednesday said they would be happy to see the team remain in the East Bay past next season.
“The fans have supported them through thick and thin, through all Kaval and Fisher’s shenanigans,” said Lynda Seaver, 65, of Danvillle. “I think everyone here loves the team. It’s Fisher and Kaval that they’re angry at.”
Staff writer Alex Simon contributed to this story.