SEATTLE (AP) — The Oakland Athletics have started the process of applying to Major League Baseball to move to Las Vegas.
MLB last month established a relocation committee to evaluate the move, a group headed by Milwaukee Brewers chairman Mark Attanasio. Philadelphia Phillies CEO John Middleton and Kansas City Royals CEO John Sherman were also on the committee.
“They have begun to submit information related to their relocation application,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Tuesday. “It’s not complete at this point.”
Nevada’s Legislature approved providing $380 million in public financing for a proposed $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat ballpark with a retractable roof on the Tropicana hotel site of the Las Vegas Strip. The new venue would be close to Allegiant Stadium, where the NFL’s Oakland Raiders moved to in 2020, and T-Mobile Arena, where the current Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights started play in 2017 as an expansion team.
A move would have to be approved in a vote by at least 75% of the 30 major league teams.
Las Vegas would become the fourth home for a franchise that started in Philadelphia from 1901-54, moved to Kansas City for 13 seasons and arrived in Oakland for 1968.
At 25-67, the A’s have the worst record in the major leagues and are on pace to finish 44-118, the worst record since the 2003 Detroit Tigers lost 119 games.
Oakland, with a major league-low $57.8 million opening-day payroll, is averaging a major league-low 10,089 average attendance through 44 home games, up from 8,410 at a similar point last year. The A’s have had 26 home games drawing under 10,000, including a low of 2,064 against Arizona on May 15.
Oakland’s lease at the Coliseum expires after the 2024 season.
Since the Washington Senators became the Texas Rangers for 1972, the only team to relocate has been the Montreal Expos, who became the Washington Nationals in 2005.
Manfred said MLB will consider expansion only after the A’s and Tampa Bay Rays obtain new ballparks. The Rays have discussed a new stadium in St. Petersburg.
“I hope pretty shortly thereafter we would put together an expansion committee and start talking about this issues associated with expansion,” he said.
Division realignment and the impact on central revenue would be among the issues.