Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said a vote on the Oakland Athletics’ potential move to Las Vegas could take place when the owners meet in New York next month.
The Athletics recently agreed to use land on the south side of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort is located, to build a 30,000-seat stadium.
“It’s possible that a vote on reassignment could be held as early as June,” Manfred said Thursday in Milwaukee as he toured major league stadiums to talk with players.
“It’s very hard to have a timeline for Oakland until a deal actually needs to be considered. There is a relocation process internally that they have to go through, and we haven’t even started that yet.’
Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo said Wednesday that legislative leaders and the athletics had reached a tentative agreement on a $1.5 billion stadium financing plan that would lure the franchise to Las Vegas. A funding law has yet to be approved by the legislature.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the owners could vote on the move of Oakland Athletics to Las Vegas, Nevada at the owners meetings taking place June 13-15 in New York
The Athletics and the State of Nevada tentatively agreed to build a stadium in Las Vegas
The move would also see Oakland lose its last “Big Four” sports franchise in the space of seven years after the move is completed in 2027.
Manfred was asked if he believes the door is completely closed to the possibility of the Athletics staying in Oakland, where the team has played since 1968.
“I think you should ask the mayor of Oakland that,” Manfred said. She said she broke off negotiations after an announcement was made in Las Vegas.
“I don’t have a crystal ball to see where something is going. No final deal has yet been made in Las Vegas. We’ll have to see how that works out.’
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao had issued a statement following the Athletics’ land purchase in Nevada, saying she was disappointed that the team was not negotiating with the city as a “true partner.”
The Athletics are looking for a new ballpark to replace Oakland Coliseum, which has served as their home park since their arrival from Kansas City and where the team’s lease runs through 2024.
The team also looked at a location near Oakland’s Howard Terminal before shifting their focus to another state.
In addition to their future being uncertain, the Athletics are struggling on a historic level on the field and in the stands.
The tentative agreement reached plans to build a potential stadium on the Tropicana hotel grounds
The hotel sits on a 35-acre site that will now be used for a $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat stadium
The Tropicana has been a historic staple of the world-famous Las Vegas strip since the 1960s
Like most hotels and casinos in Vegas, Tropicana offers a wide variety of games to gamble on
In recent years, however, it has been eclipsed by luxury resorts such as the MGM Grand
They started 10-41 on Thursday after matching the 1932 Boston Red Sox and the 1897 St. Louis Browns for the fourth-worst 50-game start in major league history.
Their average home attendance of 8,695 is nearly 3,600 fewer fans per game than that of any other team.
Manfred was in Milwaukee when Wisconsin lawmakers debated potential funding plans for American Family Field, the Brewers’ home stadium since 2001. Manfred expressed confidence that the state would sort something out.
The Brewers’ lease, which runs through 2030, requires the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District to cover repairs. Democratic Governor Tony Evers and team have said the district does not have enough money to pay for what is needed, and that the state surplus offers an opportunity to fund it without introducing a new tax or borrowing money.
“This is a gem of a ballpark,” Manfred said. “It is really important that the existing obligation under the lease is funded so that this great ballpark is regularly maintained. It has to be done in time.’
Evers proposed spending nearly $300 million in taxpayers’ money to make improvements to the stadium, a plan that Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos pronounced dead on arrival. Republicans who control the legislature have yet to reveal their own alternative, but private talks are underway.
Vos has said he wants to make a deal that would look for a commitment from the team to stay longer in Milwaukee and not rely so heavily on money from a one-time budget surplus that is expected to be about $7 billion.
“The choices being made between the different ways public funds can be spent are choices that legislators have to make,” said Manfred.
“What I can say is that this baseball field is an asset. The Brouwers are interested in a long-term relationship, an extension of the lease that keeps them here.’
The Athletics began playing at the Oakland Coliseum in 1968 after moving from Kansas City
But starting in the 2000s, the Colosseum began to show serious signs of its age
Since the 2000s, the A’s have also failed to win an AL Pennant or come close to winning a World Series
Manfred noted that the situation in Milwaukee is “actually the opposite of what happened in Oakland.”
“This is an A-plus facility when built,” Manfred said. ‘It’s well maintained. The ownership is committed to not only putting a competitive team on the field, but also doing its part in preserving this stadium.
And most importantly, the fans here have been enthusiastically supporting the tam. I think the real decision to make here is what we can do to maintain that great momentum.
“Oakland, unfortunately, it’s a facility that was never as good as this one when it started. They made some unfortunate decisions not to maintain the ballpark the way it was supposed to be maintained. It resulted in a drop in attendance, which impacted the quality of product the team could afford to put on the field.”