The Oakland Athletics may be on the move sooner rather than later, if MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is to be believed.
The A’s have long been honest about their desire to resolve their stadium situation, with the RingCentral Coliseum being one of the worst facilities in professional sports.
During a recent SiriusXM interview covered by Fox News, Manfred said he’s “no longer optimistic” about the future if the team in Oakland.
The franchise and local politicians have been engaged in lengthy discussions over building a new stadium at the Howard Terminal site, but to this point, no concrete decisions have been reached, and multiple deadlines have been passed in the process.
According to Fox, negotiations being delayed to 2023 essentially put the nail in the coffin of the team’s efforts to stay in the Bay Area.
The A’s lease at the stadium ends after the 2024 season, with Manfred saying during the interview that the breakdown in communications means there’s now additional ”uncertainty.”
Attendance in Oakland has been abysmal, with the team finishing dead last in 2022, averaging just 9,849 fans per game, or nearly 40,000 less than the Dodgers drew in Los Angeles. That was the lowest single season number since the Montreal Expos in 2004, before they were eventually moved to Washington, D.C.
In spring 2021, team ownership announced they were looking into relocating while working on a potential downtown stadium simultaneously.
MLB praised the move, saying they had “worked very hard to advance a new ballpark in downtown Oakland for the last four years, investing significant resources while facing multiple roadblocks.”
But Saturday’s news makes it much more likely the Oakland Athletics will soon become the Las Vegas Athletics.
In just a few years, Oakland could go from having two professional teams to none, while Vegas goes from zero to three.
Welcome to the wild word of major sports leagues.