The Athletics’ proposed move from Oakland to Las Vegas was approved by Major League Baseball owners on Thursday, per CBS Sports HQ’s Jim Bowden. Owners are meeting later in the week in Arlington, Texas, and at least 75% of them needed to sign off on the report submitted to them by MLB’s relocation committee. No owner opposed the move. Given that commissioner Rob Manfred has already voiced support for the A’s move, such support always seemed highly likely.
Approval by John Fisher’s fellow owners is one of the final hurdles to his bid to move the franchise to Nevada, but it is perhaps not the most significant remaining checkpoint. Fisher still must secure private financing for his share of stadium construction costs, and given the dubious nature of some facets of the project nothing is to be assumed on that front.
Indeed, the A’s are proposing to move from a shared spot in one of the league’s largest markets, the Bay Area, to what would be the league’s smallest market. As well, the projections put forward by the A’s lean heavily on tourism, and in Las Vegas there is intense and crowded competition for the discretionary dollars of visitors.
Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo signed a $380 million public funding bill back in mid-June as a means of luring the Athletics to town. The bill’s actual cost will likely exceed $380 million, explained Neil deMause. The entire ballpark project is expected to cost more than $1 billion, which means Fisher still has a great deal of heavy lifting in front of him to reach viability.
Private financiers will likely be much less inclined to wave away those core market concerns than Fisher’s fellow owners seem to be. That’s the necessary context even as the relocation effort takes the next step.