NEW YORK -- One day after the Nevada Legislature gave its final approval for public finding toward a new ballpark, Commissioner Rob Manfred laid out the process that still must take place for the Athletics to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas.
Manfred, speaking at the conclusion of the league’s Owners Meetings, said the next step is for the Athletics to submit their official relocation application.
“Obviously the passing of the legislation in Nevada was really, really important,” Manfred said. “It's another important step forward, but there is a pretty thorough relocation process that the club now needs to go through as a prelude to a vote of the clubs.”
That process starts with the application, which will go to a relocation committee appointed by Manfred. That application includes discussion about “the market you’re leaving, the efforts you've made there, the market you want to go to, why it's better,” Manfred said, at which point the committee will make recommendations on subjects, including an operating territory and home television territory. The committee will then make its recommendations to Manfred and the Executive Council, with a three-quarters vote from the clubs needed for approval.
The Nevada State Legislature approved a final version of the stadium bill Wednesday night, agreeing to $380 million in public funding toward the new stadium, and Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo signed it into law on Thursday.
"Today is a significant step forward in securing a new home for the Athletics," the club said in a statement on Thursday. "We thank Nevada Governor Lombardo, Legislative leaders, and Clark County Commissioners and staff for their hard work, support, and partnership. We will now begin the process with MLB to apply for relocation to Las Vegas.
"We are excited about Southern Nevada’s dynamic and vibrant professional sports scene, and we look forward to becoming a valued community member through jobs, economic development, and the quality of life and civic pride of a Major League Baseball team."
Manfred noted that the league’s policy and preference has always been for clubs to “stay put” in situations like this one, adding that the Athletics have unsuccessfully attempted for nearly a decade to get a deal for a new ballpark in Oakland.
“I feel sorry for the fans in Oakland; I do not like this outcome,” Manfred said. “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. … At some point you've come to the realization, it's just not going to happen.”
There is no timeline for the remainder of the relocation process to take place, and Manfred said no decision has been made as to where the Athletics would play their games in 2024 if the relocation is approved.