Oakland Professional Sports Scene Continues To Crumble As City Could Be Losing Third Storied Franchise | A’s Leaving Bay Area And Heading To Vegas?

According to multiple reports, the Oakland Athletics have signed a binding agreement to purchase land for a new major league baseball park in Las Vegas. This comes as the A’s have been unable to build a new venue in the Bay Area and follows the Golden State Warriors and Raiders franchises out of Oakland. What does it all mean?

What Is The Land Deal?

Team president Dave Kaval said Wednesday night the team finalized a deal last week to buy the 49-acre site close to the Las Vegas Strip with plans for a retractable roof ballpark with a seating capacity of 30,000 to 35,000.

“It’s obviously a very big milestone for us,” Kaval told the AP. “We spent almost two years working in Las Vegas to try to determine a location that works for a long-term home. To identify a site and have a purchase agreement is a big step.”

The citizens and fans in Oakland see it differently. Mayor Sheng Thao says she was “blindsided” by the news when Kaval called and told her, amid negotiations for the team to stay in the Bay.

“The city has gone above and beyond in our attempts to arrive at mutually beneficial terms to keep the A’s in Oakland. In the last three months, we’ve made significant strides to close the deal. Yet, it is clear to me that the A’s have no intention of staying in Oakland and have simply been using this process to try to extract a better deal out of Las Vegas. I am not interested in continuing to play that game — the fans and our residents deserve better,” said Thao.

The projected cost of the new stadium is $1.5 billion and the A’s haven’t said how they plan to fund that capital project.

But this is par for the course in professional sports.

Reality Of Pro Sports

Teams remain in a community as long as it suits ownership’s needs. Those needs are revenue. They want to attract corporate sponsors, have more luxury suites, etc. In order to do that, the product on the field of play needs to be worthwhile and the arena or stadium needs to be state of the art to attract regular ticket buyers that would otherwise not attend a sporting event.

Most of these stadiums are older and a new build costs considerable money, of which the owners have but don’t want to spend. Instead, they work with local government to put that bill on the residents and tax payers. Many of whom won’t be able to afford to go to the stadium.

Bleed the community of its resources, don’t invest in partnership or anything that would foster and incubate the next generation of fans. Just do whatever is necessary to make the most money possible.

Oakland was set to redevelop Howard Terminal along the city’s waterfront for a new stadium for the A’s. Now that plan is scrapped.

“I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished as a City, including securing a fully entitled site and over $375 million in new infrastructure investment that will benefit Oakland and its Port for generations to come. In a time of budget deficits, I refuse to compromise the safety and well-being of our residents. Given these realities, we are ceasing negotiations and moving forward on alternatives for the redevelopment of Howard Terminal,” Thao said.

Oakland is a diverse city with a 50 percent combined Black and Hispanic population. The A’s leaving also hurts the area’s next generation of fans and future baseball players, particularly Black players.

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