ARLINGTON – Major League Baseball’s owners approved the Athletics’ relocation to Las Vegas during a vote Thursday as they concluded this week’s meetings.
Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement during a press conference following the end of the Owners Meetings. The league’s 30 owners voted unanimously in favor of the move, exceeding the necessary 75 percent to approve.
“I know this is a terrible day for fans in Oakland. I understand that, and that’s why we've always had a policy of doing everything humanly possible to avoid a relocation,” Manfred said. “I truly believe we did that in this case. I think it's beyond debate that the status quo in Oakland was untenable.
“I absolutely am convinced that there was not a viable path forward in Oakland. We look forward to being in Las Vegas; there’s tremendous support locally for having the A’s there. We do believe over the long haul that Las Vegas will be a great asset to Major League Baseball.”
Athletics managing partner and owner John Fisher noted that the history of the club – which includes stints in Kansas City and Philadelphia along with Oakland – will “always be a part of this franchise’s DNA.”
“I understand the grief and anger and disappointment and sadness that our fans have,” Fisher told MLB.com. “We’ve been in Oakland for a very long time, since 1968, and we have very passionate fans. This is a really difficult day for those fans. I think, as the Commissioner said, we felt we had no choice. We had to have a new home for the Coliseum, which is the fourth-oldest ballpark in baseball. For the last 20 years, it has shown its age. Up until a couple of years ago, we were focusing exclusively on Oakland to try and find a solution. We started looking at Las Vegas after having conversations with the Commissioner about the need to move the process along faster.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity in Vegas. The fans there are terrific, the success of the Raiders and the Golden Knights as well as our own Triple-A team, the Aviators, has shown just how successful professional sports can be in that market. We really look forward to Opening Day in 2028 and bringing some of the historical success of the A’s to Las Vegas.”
The Athletics reached an agreement for a new Las Vegas stadium back in May, paving the way for the club to officially apply for relocation. Nevada’s Legislature and governor had previously approved up to $380 million in public financing toward the $1.5 billion stadium.
The initial design for the new, 30,000-seat ballpark will sit on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, featuring a partially retractable roof and a playing surface that will allow for the outfield to open to the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Boulevard for a view of the Strip.
“From the first time that Dave Kaval and I went and visited Las Vegas to see our Triple-A affiliate play, the Las Vegas Aviators, there was a palpable energy and excitement from the fans and the people of Las Vegas about baseball,” Fisher said. “It is a very passionate group of local fans. I went to a Golden Knights game last season, and seeing the whole stadium going crazy for their team really instilled in me a real appreciation for the people in that community and just how passionate they are about their sports.”
Fisher said he plans to keep the Athletics name when the club moves to Las Vegas.
“The franchise was established in 1901, so there’s 122 years of incredible history behind this franchise,” Fisher said. “That's a really important part of what the A's stand for and that's something that we really want to bring to Vegas.”
Among the unanswered questions is where the A’s will play their home games after the 2024 season, when their lease at the Oakland Coliseum expires. The new Las Vegas ballpark is not expected to open until 2028.
Manfred said extending the lease at the Coliseum is among the options being discussed.
“My hope is we find an 81-game home for the A’s,” Manfred said.
“It's top priority,” Fisher said of finding a home for the club from 2025-27. “Baseball has to produce a schedule, so they need to know where we're going to play. We wanted to focus our efforts on today and make sure that we could get past this milestone and get permission from the owners before we can now tackle the question of interim play and where that's going to be.”
The unanimous vote came after a report by the relocation committee – which was led by Brewers owner Mark Attanasio, Phillies owner John Middleton and Royals owner John Sherman – was passed along to the executive council, which approved it unanimously. Thursday’s unanimous vote was the next step in the process, which Fisher said now includes working on a development agreement, working with the county and the stadium authority in Las Vegas, all with the hope of a spring 2025 groundbreaking for the new ballpark.
“I've been working on this for a very long time and have done my best to communicate, not only with the Commissioner and his team, but also with my fellow owners, about everything that we were going through,” Fisher said. “I think they felt very well informed when they cast their votes. Getting a unanimous vote shows a lot of support from my fellow owners.”