Skip to content

MLB owners vote to allow Athletics to move from Oakland to Las Vegas

Relocation to proposed Tropicana site stadium in 2028
Oakland A's team logo.

The Oakland Athletics are one step closer to moving to Las Vegas.

Major League Baseball owners voted unanimously Thursday at a meeting in Arlington, Texas to allow the team to relocate.

The move comes three years after Oakland lost its National Football League franchise, the Raiders, to Las Vegas. Just a year before that, the city's National Basketball Association team, the Warriors, moved across the Bay to San Francisco.

All three were lured by deals for new stadiums that couldn't get past the finish line in Oakland, despite decades of negotiations on a replacement for the aging Coliseum, where the A's still play.

A's owner John Fisher released an open letter to fans Thursday, hours after all 30 MLB team owners voted to allow Fisher and his partners to move the team to Las Vegas in 2028.

"I know that today is a very difficult day with the vote by MLB owners allowing for the A's relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas," Fisher said in the letter addressed to "Fans of the Oakland A's."

"I share a lot of those emotions -- sadness that our team will be leaving its home since 1968, pride in what we have accomplished together on and off the field in Oakland, but also hope and optimism about the future of the A's in Las Vegas," Fisher said in the seven-paragraph letter.

The team also released a statement on behalf of Fisher, thanking owners and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred for "their thoughtful deliberations and positive votes in favor of our relocation to Las Vegas."

Fisher said the need for a new stadium was clear before he and business partner Lew Wolff bought the team in 2005.

He said the team spent the last six years exploring options for a new stadium in Fremont, San Jose, or Oakland, including options at Laney College, Howard Terminal, and the Coliseum site, but none worked out.

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao released a statement Thursday following the vote saying she was disappointed by its outcome.

"But we do not see this as the end of the road. We all know there is a long way to go before shovels in the ground and that there are a number of unresolved issues surrounding this move. I have also made it clear to the Commissioner that the A's branding and name should stay in Oakland and we will continue to work to pursue expansion opportunities. Baseball has a home in Oakland even if the A's ownership relocates," Thao said.

U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Oakland) criticized the move in a statement that said in part, "It's incredibly disappointing, but not surprising that a group of billionaire owners supported another billionaire owner's efforts to line his own pockets at the expense of a passionate community and fan base. The East Bay does not deserve to lose its last professional sports team. It's shameful."

The team plans to move into a yet-to-be-built $1.5 billion stadium at the Tropicana site on the Las Vegas Strip starting in the 2028 season. Its lease with Oakland ends in 2024, leaving Fisher and the team exploring a range of options for the interim.

Fisher thanked Oakland officials for their efforts and said he was not to blame for the team's move.

"I also understand their disappointment and frustration, and the desire in the media to place all the blame on me and the A's organization for the inability to make this work. All I can say is that we worked as hard as possible for 6 years to find a solution in Oakland," the letter said.

Fisher, who cast one of the votes Thursday to move the team, ended the letter with an apology to fans.

"To our fans, I am truly sorry. While I know that today is a sad day, I hope that it is also the start of a new and bright future for the A's."

The A's, if the move comes to fruition, will become the first MLB team to relocate since the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, D.C. in 2005, becoming the Nationals.

The team's final obstacle could be a threat to $380 million in public funding from the state of Nevada to build the ballpark off the Las Vegas Strip, in the form of a lawsuit filed by a political action committee backed by a Nevada teachers union, the Nevada State Education Association. The group, Schools Over Stadiums, has filed a lawsuit alleging that the way the funding was approved was unconstitutional.

The group reacted to the vote Thursday with a statement on social media that said, "While this news was expected, it's still a blow to educators trying to right Nevada priorities and Oakland A's fans fighting to keep their hometown team. With litigation & referendum, #SchoolsOverStadiums is now likely the biggest obstacle to the A's move to Las Vegas."

The organization is also trying to get the matter before Nevada voters in a ballot referendum.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks