North America's Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise owners have voted unanimously to approve the relocation of the Oakland Athletics (the A’s) from Oakland, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada.
The result of the vote means that from 2028 onwards, the A’s will be Las Vegas’ first and only MLB side.
The team has played in Oakland since 1968, when it was relocated there from Kansas City, Missouri.
A move has been on the cards for a while, with the team’s ownership stating as far back as 2007 that it would be forced to relocate, however, it had initially hoped that it could remain in California.
The relocation to Vegas, heavily unpopular with locals and long-time fans, has been driven by a number of failed attempts by the A's to leave their Oakland Coliseum ballpark and have a new one built in the Bay Area of neighboring San Francisco.
The team's lease on the Oakland Coliseum expired at the end of the 2024 MLB season, meaning the team will spend three seasons without a permanent home venue before the move to a new prospective ballpark in Las Vegas.
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The $1.5 billion stadium project in Las Vegas will seat 30,000 fans on the site of a former casino, adjacent to the T-Mobile arena, home of the city’s National Hockey League franchise the Golden Knights.
With the vote, the A’s have become the third high-profile US sports franchise to leave the city of Oakland in the last five years.
The former Oakland Raiders National Football League franchise also relocated to Las Vegas in highly controversial fashion.
The allure of the high-value Las Vegas market, given its prominence as a major tourist location and a wealthy area with a large sports market, has proven too good to pass up for the major US sports leagues, with now only Major League Soccer and the National Basketball Association (NBA) lacking franchises in that market among the biggest men’s sports leagues in the country.
Oakland’s previous NBA franchise, the Golden State Warriors, relocated away from Oakland in 2019 to a new arena in San Francisco.
The financial inability of the city of Oakland to finance major sporting infrastructure projects such as a new ballpark or basketball arena, combined with a lack of space, means that after 2028 there will be no major league sports sides left in the city after the A’s depart.
The A’s leaving poses questions over how well the team will perform before its move, both on the field and off, with the 2023 season seeing the team finish with both the worst record in MLB and the worst attendance. It is thought that anger over the team’s relocation will see even fewer fans turn out in the team’s last season with the Oakland Coliseum as its home.