Will the Oakland Athletics Follow the Raiders to Las Vegas?
By: Jonathan Lipman
The Oakland Athletics have begun the process of exploring markets in search of a new home. Oakland has housed the Athletics since 1968. However, the continued struggles of receiving approval for a new waterfront stadium along with the departure of other local franchises, the Golden State Warriors and Oakland Raiders, have encouraged the Athletics organization to leave the Bay Area.
The immediate frontrunner to land the A’s is emerging sports city Las Vegas, Nevada. The recent addition of the Raiders and the construction of their $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium is promising for the A’s plans. Las Vegas has also been the home of the NHL’s latest expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights, since their inception in 2017. The Golden Knights ranked 13th in home game attendance across the league during the 2019-2020 season, which will definitely be a focal point for the A’s as they have been ranked in the bottom half of home game attendance every year since 2001.
The city of Las Vegas is famously known as the gambling capital of the world. With sports betting becoming more and more popular in recent years with the development of partnerships between franchises, leagues, and sportsbooks, individual teams have new opportunities to generate revenue. The Raiders announced they have partnered with MGM Resorts as their “Official Gaming Partner” and will host the MGM Club gambling lounge in Allegiant Stadium. The Athletics will have the ability to establish a similar partnership with the sports betting outlet of their choosing should they decide to relocate to Las Vegas. Other MLB clubs such as the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs have already established gaming partnerships.
Vegas also has the advantage of being a major tourism destination. Las Vegas consistently brings in over 40 million visitors annually and an MLB franchise would surely attract tourists to home games. Oakland lacks a strong tourism base and has consistently ranked outside of the top 5 most visited cities in California.
Las Vegas has been extremely welcoming to new franchises looking to relocate and has also been rumored to be high on the list of destinations for an NBA expansion team. For a team struggling to gain traction amongst local fans and tourists in Oakland, the Athletics have the perfect opportunity to greatly increase their revenue and improve the franchise.