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MLB won’t charge A’s relocation fee if team moves to Vegas

Updated June 28, 2022 - 7:37 pm

If the Oakland Athletics end up moving to Las Vegas, Major League Baseball wouldn’t charge the team a relocation fee, an indication the league wants a team in Southern Nevada, a source with knowledge of the situation told the Review-Journal on Monday.

The fee varies on a case-by-case basis, but it is estimated the fee would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars range. The Raiders’ relocation fee charged by the NFL was $378 million when they made the move to Las Vegas in 2020. Golden Knights’ owner Bill Foley paid a $500 million expansion fee to the NHL to land the team in Las Vegas. Expansion fees tend to run higher than relocation fees.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred declined to comment on the possible waiver of the relocation fee, first reported by the New York Post. A’s officials also were not available for comment.

Since May 2021, the A’s have been researching the Las Vegas market as a potential home after MLB gave the team permission to explore relocation. Both MLB and the A’s have deemed the team’s current home, RingCentral Coliseum, not a viable option for the future.

The ballpark was built in 1966 and renovated in 1996 but has been plagued by sewage issues over recent years, lighting problems and low attendance. So far this season, the A’s are averaging a league-low 8,358 fans per home game, according to an ESPN MLB attendance report. The Miami Marlins are 29th out of the 30 MLB teams in home attendance at 11,487 fans per game this season at LoanDepot park.

The A’s brass have made multiple trips to Las Vegas to scout potential sites for a new ballpark to call home. They’re down to two potential sites in Southern Nevada, both located on or near the Resort Corridor.

Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft, who also sits on the board of directors for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, said MLB’s offer to waive the relocation fee shows the strength of what the area has to offer major league sports franchises

“It underscores how desirable Southern Nevada is for the sports industry as a whole,” Naft said. “It shows that not only have we proven ourselves as the greatest arena on earth, that the interest will only continue to build as more and more leagues evaluate Las Vegas as a home destination.”

That point is reinforced by a pair of billionaires — Wes Edens and Naseef Sawiris — who are looking to land a Major League Soccer team in Las Vegas. There also have been reports of the NBA’s interest in the area for a potential expansion team.

Naft said with all that attention, those looking to make the jump to the desert better get the process moving quickly.

“I continue to caution everybody, if they’re interested in making the move to Las Vegas they ought to get serious about doing that,” Naft said.

An important vote looms this week in Oakland when the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) is set to consider whether to remove the port priority use designation on the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal. The 56-acre waterfront site is where the A’s hope to build a $12 billion mixed-use development that would include a $1 billion ballpark.

The A’s need 18 of the 27 commissioners to vote in favor of the project at the Thursday meeting for the port use designation to be removed. A’s President Dave Kaval told the Review-Journal earlier this month that if the BCDC votes against removing the designation then the Howard Terminal project would be all but dead in the water.

“That’s a tall order… getting that type of support is not easy,” Kaval said of garnering the needed support from the BCDC.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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