- Relocation fee could reach as high as US$1bn, according to the New York Post
- A’s targeting sites in Southern Nevada
The Oakland Athletics’ potential move to Las Vegas has been handed a boost by Major League Baseball (MLB) not planning on charging the franchise a relocation fee, according to the New York Post.
Staying in Oakland is not completely off the table. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (SFBCDC) is set to vote on the A’s US$1 billion new stadium plan at Howard Terminal by the end of June. Should the proposal be rejected, it is likely to end the A’s hopes of staying in Oakland.
The A’s have played at the ageing Oakland Coliseum for more than 50 years and the team’s original plan for a new venue in the city has been tied up in red tape. This has prompted executives to explore a switch to Las Vegas when the team’s current lease expires in 2024.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred gave the A’s the go-ahead last year to explore a relocation. The franchise was linked with various sites in Nevada, before confirming in March it had submitted bids on five separate locations in Las Vegas.
“We have a couple of options that are east of the (Interstate 15) and a couple of options that are west of the 15,” A’s president Dave Kaval told the Las Vegas Review Journal (LVRJ).
“I think there’s some benefits to being similar to the [Las Vegas] Raiders’ setup. Where you’re still in the resort corridor, but it makes it a little easier for locals to get to.
“But there are also really exciting opportunities to be right on the strip. That’s kind of a hallmark location.”
According to the New York Post, MLB is prepared to wave a relocation fee, potentially as high as US$1 billion, on this occasion should the A’s end up moving to Las Vegas, due to concerns about the team’s ability to find a viable home.
US sports leagues usually charge relocation fees in order to discourage unnecessary moves and because they are giving up a lucrative expansion fee in a city that could be paid by a potential new team.
The A’s had reportedly been hoping to announce a move to the city, potentially contingent on getting public financing, this month. However, the franchise is purportedly still without key assurances from Nevada state officials to take the next step.
In April, the New York Post reported Nevada governor Steve Sisolak was threatening to block the A’s Las Vegas move, pushing back against the team’s demands for hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies for a new stadium.
By not charging the A’s a relocation fee, MLB could help reduce the economic impact of a mostly privately financed stadium. According to the New York Post, A’s owner John Fisher may get at best US$250 million in public funding to cover the costs of a new US$1 billion domed stadium in Las Vegas.
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