Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023 | 8:05 p.m.
Dozens of Athletics fans converged on Oakland city hall on Tuesday as officials unanimously passed a resolution reaffirming the city’s commitment to keeping the professional ballclub rooted in the Bay Area as MLB owners could vote as soon as next week on approval for the team’s relocation to Las Vegas.
The chambers were filled with a contingent that largely wore green t-shirts with the phrase “STAY” across the chest and intermittently broke into “Stay in Oakland!” chants. Officials also heard from a panel of speakers that included local labor leaders, city councilmembers and Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, who again urged baseball owners to vote against the relocation when they Nov. 14-16 in Arlington, Texas.
“You can have Oakland, (and) you can have Las Vegas. You can have both,” Thao said. “You can keep this amazing fan base and expand into a new market. All you have to do is vote ‘No’ and make sure that the Oakland A’s stay rooted here in the city of Oakland because we more than deserve our team.”
The four-page resolution outlined many of the regulatory steps the city took to help keep the A’s in Oakland and also how the team “abruptly” ended talks with the city after securing a proposed site in Las Vegas, but remained open to reviving the Howard Terminal project whether that be with the A’s or another ownership group.
While MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has been a proponent of moving the A’s to Las Vegas, league owners haven’t signaled publicly whether they would approve A’s owner John Fisher’s relocation bid. And should next week’s vote fail, Oakland councilmember Rebecca Kaplan reiterated that previously failed agreements to build ballpark developments at either Oakland’s Howard Terminal or the site of the A’s current home field, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, remain tenable options.
“Oakland had a deal, and Oakland has a deal,” Kaplan said, alluding to previous tentative agreements at both sites. ”It will be cheaper to build here, it will be faster to build here, and the fan base is stronger here.”
Before the A’s set their sights on Southern Nevada, the club had been on a “parallel path” to create a $12 billion entertainment district on 55 acres at Howard Terminal. At its heart was a $1 billion proposed ballpark which was set to overlook the San Francisco Bay. The A’s, however, opted to solely focus on Las Vegas earlier this year after the project became bogged down by a series of snags.
The rally also comes a day after a judge in Carson City District Court threw out a proposed ballot referendum which sought to put the $380 million public funding package for a potential A’s stadium on the Las Vegas Strip up to a public vote. In his ruling, Judge James Russell said the referendum petition — backed by the Nevada State Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union — did not include an entire copy of the bill with its petition and the 200-word summary of the legislation was too vague.
The case was brought by a pair of lobbyists affiliated with trade unions that favor the Las Vegas stadium project. The NSEA, however, said after Monday’s ruling it would either appeal the case to the Nevada Supreme Court or refile the petition.
Officials from the joint construction venture Mortenson-McCarthy — who together also constructed Allegiant Stadium and whom the A’s hired in August — told Clark County officials last month that construction for the proposed $1 billion open-air, 33,000-seat venue will need to begin by April 2025 in order to be completed in time for the start of the 2028 baseball season.
Before a stadium is erected on the 9-acre plot near the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue, the building currently sitting at that site, the Tropicana Hotel, will need to be razed. It’s unclear when that specifically will be, as the A’s must wait for their relocation bid to be OK’d first by MLB.