Major League Baseball issued a statement giving the Oakland A’s permission to explore relocating to a new city.
The decision was made after the MLB’s growing concern over the lack of progress in the A’s efforts to privately finance a new state-of-the-art ballpark in downtown Oakland.
“MLB is concerned with the rate of progress on the A’s new ballpark effort with local officials and other stakeholders in Oakland,” the league’s statement said.
“The A’s have worked very hard to advance a new ballpark in downtown Oakland for the last four years, investing significant resources while facing multiple roadblocks. We know they remain deeply committed to succeeding in Oakland, and with two other sports franchises recently leaving the community, their commitment to Oakland is now more important than ever.”
The A’s have played in Oakland’s RingCentral stadium since 1968. In 2018, the team proposed opening a new ballpark in an effort to stay competitive. They found a waterfront location near Howard Terminal in downtown Oakland, which they planned on opening by 2023.
The 35,000-seat mixed-use development is expected to cost $12 billion, and funding efforts for the project have stayed stagnate.
Despite the MLB’s permission to let the baseball franchise relocate, John Fisher, the owner of the A’s told the S.F. Chronicle:
“The future success of the A’s depends on a new ballpark. Oakland is a great baseball town, and we will continue to pursue our waterfront ballpark project. We will also follow MLB’s direction to explore other markets.”
If the team does seek a new home, ESPN’s Jeff Passan cites Las Vegas as the leading contender.
While the A’s have expressed that remaining in Oakland and building a $12 billion mixed-use development is their priority, the standstill of the project prompted today’s move. The leading contender if the A’s do move: Las Vegas. Plenty of other cities would welcome the team, too.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 11, 2021
In 2020, the Raiders relocated from Oakland to Las Vegas. If the A’s make the move, this will be the second major league sports franchise to leave their home for Sin City. Other possible contenders for the team include Vancouver, Nashville, Montreal, Portland, and Charlotte.
Read statements from the MLB and a message from the team itself below:
A statement from Major League Baseball: pic.twitter.com/Ujzll7cMWF— Oakland A’s (@Athletics) May 11, 2021
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