Last week, the NFL’s Oakland Raiders filed papers to move to Las Vegas:
Relocation would require approval from at least 24 of the 32 teams, and the earliest the owners are expected to vote is late March, when they are to meet in Phoenix.
This doesn’t seem to be an insurmountable obstacle. The NFL recently voted to let the San Diego Chargers move to Los Angeles, a market that didn’t really want them and might not support them, and where they’ll have to play in a 27,000-seat stadium for two years. I would guess the Raiders will be approved to move, despite some misgivings about putting an NFL team in a small TV market (Las Vegas is the US’ 40th-largest TV market), as well as the gambling implications. It didn’t stop the NHL from placing a team there, starting next fall.
The Raiders and Oakland Athletics share a stadium, which is why you’re reading this article on a baseball site. The A’s are in desperate need of a new stadium, and it would appear that their current site, the Oakland Coliseum, would be a good place to start fresh.
There’s one thing that the A’s will have to wait for, though:
Little may change in the short term. [Raiders owner Mark] Davis has said the team will play in Oakland for at least two more seasons while a stadium in Las Vegas is being built.
Well. That actually could be a good thing, because the A’s right now don’t have the money to build a new park, nor does it seem likely that any public money from the city of Oakland, Alameda County or the state of California would be available. (Nor should it be, in my view.)
There’s one other thing happening soon that would make the Coliseum site even more attractive:
The Golden State Warriors broke ground Tuesday on their $1 billion, privately funded San Francisco arena, further cementing the team’s decision to leave Oakland where they’ve played for more than 40 years.
That groundbreaking actually happened a week ago, and the Warriors are expected to move in for the 2019-20 season. Here’s what the Coliseum/Oracle Arena complex looks like today:
If both the Arena and Coliseum are vacated and could be torn down, the A’s would have a very large area on which to build a new park. They’d likely have to vacate for at least a year, at which time they could temporarily play in the Giants’ AT&T Park (I’m sure the Giants wouldn’t mind collecting rent from the A’s for a year or two).
Given the current likelihood that both the Raiders and Warriors will be vacating their current places within a couple of years, that gives the A’s that much time to design a new park and raise the money to build it. Presuming they can come up with said money, this likely solves the A’s stadium issue — nearly a decade after Bud Selig set up a committee to study it.