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Another update on the Oakland Athletics and Las Vegas

Are the A’s getting closer to their Vegas move? Maybe.

A couple of weeks ago, I posted this article about the Oakland A’s proposed move to Las Vegas and my skepticism about parts of the plan.

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle has an article with some updated information and so I thought I’d pass some thoughts on that along to you.

First, Shea says there will be a “public event” in Nevada next Wednesday, January 24 at which further details will be revealed. It’s only “public,” though, if you are willing to pay:

$125 for non-members and $600 to $1,200 for tables of five

The proceeds go to the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, for whatever that’s worth.

Anyway, here’s what we don’t know now and what might be revealed next week:

The A’s still haven’t released renderings for their proposed ballpark on the Strip. Nor a ballpark financing strategy. Nor a plan on where they’ll play in 2025 after their Coliseum lease expires.

The article goes on to note that the team’s current thinking is to play in Sutter Health Park in Sacramento, currently home to the Giants’ Triple-A team. However, if they do that:

The A’s contract with NBC Sports California runs through 2033, payable so long as they continue playing in the Bay Area. Kaval has said Sacramento isn’t contractually in the boundaries of the team’s regional sports network, meaning the A’s wouldn’t benefit from their RSN by playing in Sacramento.

However, sources said the sides could negotiate a deal for Sacramento so that the A’s would receive some kind of payout even if it’s far less than the $67 million they received in 2023. Such a financial compromise could benefit NBC Sports California; the network wouldn’t need to pay what would be required if the team stayed in the Bay Area, and could retain the A’s in its programming lineup.

“Kaval” is the A’s team president Dave Kaval, and while the article says there’s still a chance the A’s could play some of their schedule in Oracle Park, home of the Giants, there are obvious logistical issues with doing something like that, and also:

The 2025 schedule is expected to be released shortly after the All-Star break, but teams generally see a preliminary schedule as early as May. It’s possible a final schedule could be released with some sites for A’s home games pending, but the preference is to have all scheduling matters ironed out by then. Another preference is scheduling all 81 home games in one location, but MLB isn’t ruling out multiple home sites.

What a mess. The Cubs, incidentally, would be scheduled to face the A’s in... wherever they play in 2025, as they played in Oakland in ‘23 and the A’s are scheduled to visit Wrigley Field September 16-18, 2024.

About that new stadium in Las Vegas that is supposed to be ready by the 2028 season?

Renderings of the A’s future home in Las Vegas haven’t been made public, but it has been learned the roof will be fixed (not retractable) and the design will include a massive window beyond the outfield to provide views. Nevada Independent reporter Howard Stutz said on a recent public-broadcasting panel that Kaval told him the renderings might not be released until the A’s play their spring training series in Las Vegas against the Brewers on March 8-9.

One rendering that has been released is the one you see at the top of this post. That seems to go along with what’s in Shea’s article, that there would be a fixed roof and a large outfield window.

Lastly, the A’s apparently will be a revenue-sharing recipient for... who knows how long:

It’s a decent bet the A’s will receive revenue sharing in perpetuity or at least as long as MLB continues to distribute income from high- to low-revenue teams, if only because the A’s would be playing in the tiniest MLB market in MLB’s tiniest ballpark.

MLB’s owners have made their proverbial bed and now will have to lie in it. All of this would appear to doom owner John Fisher’s team to be a doormat for the foreseeable future. I fail to see how that’s good for the team, or for baseball in general.

We should know more in a week or so, and until then, we await developments.