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The Oakland mayor’s office is pushing back against Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred’s remarks about the Athletics stadium plans, which included him stating there was no offer from the city for a new stadium.
“This is just totally false. There was a very concrete proposal under discussion and Oakland had gone above and beyond to clear hurdles, including securing funding for infrastructure, providing an environmental review and working with other agencies to finalize proposals. The reality is the A’s ownership had insisted on a multibillion-dollar, 55-acre project that included a ballpark, residential, commercial and retail space. In Las Vegas, for whatever reason, they seem satisfied with a 9-acre leased ballpark on leased land. If they had proposed a similar project in Oakland, we feel confident a new ballpark would already be under construction.”
Manfred fired back against the backlash A’s owner John Fischer has received for exploring the possibility of moving the team to Las Vegas, where it would play in a brand new stadium.
“I feel sorry for the fans in Oakland. I do not like this outcome. I understand why they feel the way they do. I think the real question is what is it that Oakland was prepared to do? There is no Oakland offer. They never got to the point where they had a plan to build a stadium at any site. It’s not just John Fisher. … The community has to provide support, and at some point you come to the realization that it’s just not going to happen.”
The Nevada Legislature on Wednesday gave approval for public funding to be used for a proposed $1.5 billion stadium in Las Vegas, though it still needs to be approved by Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo.
Once Lombardo signs off, the A’s can move forward with their plans and seek final approval from MLB for relocation to the Las Vegas Strip.
The A’s have played in Oakland since 1968 after relocating from Kansas City, but the franchise’s lease on Oakland Coliseum is set to expire after the 2024 season.
The team initially explored the possibility of building a new $1 billion waterfront stadium in Oakland as part of a $12 billion Howard Terminal project. However, the A’s met various roadblocks throughout the process and Manfred ultimately gave the team permission to pursue relocation in 2021 after deeming the Coliseum unfit for the club’s future.
After the A’s moved one step closer to relocation on Wednesday, fans in Oakland planned a “reverse boycott” in protest of the “team’s neglectful and irresponsible ownership.”
However, that protest likely didn’t do much as the team has had the worst attendance in MLB for several seasons as it continues to disappoint with mediocre performances.
Given how successful teams like the WNBA’s Aces, NFL’s Raiders and the NHL’s Golden Knights have been in Las Vegas, it seems like only a matter of time before the A’s head to Sin City.