Oakland A’s doing MLB’s work for them
By David Hill
It seems that Major League Baseball will be heading to Las Vegas one way or another. Either the Oakland A’s will relocate or there will be an expansion franchise in the city’s future. However, it remained uncertain as to how much the city would support the team, despite the enthusiasm of the mayor to bring MLB to the desert.
This was a question that the A’s wanted to have answered as well. However, based on a survey of over 17,000 A’s fans, residents of southern Nevada, tourists, and other baseball fans, that is not a problem. The responses were overwhelmingly positive to the idea of a team playing in Las Vegas.
Oakland A’s handling MLB’s job
The survey also asked whether or not a ballpark on the strip would make a difference. While the A’s had stated a preference to build in the heart of the city, that was of no concern to fans as the support was virtually the same regardless.
But this work may not matter, at least for the A’s future. The Howard Terminal Project is getting closer to fruition as the Environmental Impact Report has given it the green light. The A’s are pushing for a binding vote on the new ballpark, and related infrastructure and improvements, as soon as possible.
So what of that work in Las Vegas? MLB has stated that they are going to look at expansion once the A’s and Rays stadium situations are determined. If the A’s stay in Oakland, Las Vegas has been considered to be one of the favorites for an expansion franchise.
In allowing the A’s to explore relocation, the league was able to gauge how much interest there would be in having a team in Las Vegas. They were also able to determine how much the city would be willing to pay in order to make that happen, especially in regards to a new stadium. The A’s essentially did the league’s job for them.
The Oakland A’s flirtation with Las Vegas will have benefits in the future. Major League Baseball knows there is a market for a new team.