Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023 | 9:04 a.m.
Despite a report raising some concerns, the owners of all 30 Major League Baseball teams are expected to approve the Athletics’ proposed move from Oakland, Calif., to Las Vegas in a vote on Thursday, according to a media report.
Sources tell the Athletic’s Evan Dreilich the MLB Relocation Committee, headed by executives with the Milwaukee Brewers, Philadelphia Phillies and Kansas City Royals, has raised questions about the viability of the Southern Nevada television market.
One source cited in the report described the A’s potential for success in Las Vegas “iffy” but said there was “no perceived better alternative.”
Team owners are meeting today through Thursday in Arlington, Texas, and have approval of the A’s relocation on their agenda.
The vote will come over objections from Oakland officials who say funding to revive a stadium project in the San Francisco Bay Area could be found.
“I haven’t heard anyone who’s against” the relocation, the source told the Athletic.
They also disclosed that the relocation report concluded a “heavy burden” for the team’s success in Las Vegas would depend on tourism levels.
A second source told the publication tourism wasn’t essential to the team’s financial success but acknowledged it as a significant factor.
The Las Vegas media market would be the smallest of any big league team, which would minimize potential television revenue, the report says.
It notes Southern Nevada’s growing population but questioned how many tourists would attend games and how eagerly resort operators would sponsor and support the team.
“No one knows what payroll they can sustain — all depends on where it all goes,” one of the people briefed on the report told the Athletic.
The A’s are planning to build a $1.5 billion, 33,000-seat stadium on the Las Vegas Strip at the site of the Tropicana.
State lawmakers in June approved a $380 million taxpayer-funded subsidy for the project.
A group led by the Nevada State Education Association has vowed to challenge the funding via a ballot initiative referendum. But it recently suffered a setback after a Carson City judge ruled a copy of the petition circulating had unclear language and had to be thrown out.
The group, Schools Over Stadiums, said on social media Monday it is appealing the decision.
The A’s had the lowest payroll in baseball last season at about $57 million.
The revenue projections in the report and the assumptions behind them were not known, according to the Athletic report.
The team’s revenue in Las Vegas, however, are projected to be higher than they would be in Oakland — which means less in league revenue sharing than the club receives currently.