It's unsurprising that the Oakland Athletics didn't try to seize the moment of the Super Bowl being held in Las Vegas, the city they're so desperately trying to move to. Rather than make any kind of advertising push during the run up to the big game, the Athletics sat quietly in the back of the room, trying to drum up a plan to somehow secure financing for their new ballpark.
Strong Public Schools Nevada, a second political action committee backed by the Nevada teachers' union, is currently suing the state of Nevada and Governor Joe Lombardo. They claim that SB1, the bill passed that gives the Athletics $380 million in public money for their ballpark, breaks several Nevada state laws.
Not only that, but the Athletics are still fighting Schools Over Stadiums, the PAC who is trying to get a ballot referendum petition for SB1 to rescind the public money awarded by the state legislature to John Fisher and the A's.
Leave it to John Fisher to completely miss the moment. Las Vegas has worked for the NFL and NHL, as the Raiders and Knights have been fairly successful franchises there. The Knights have been more successful on the ice than the Raiders have been on the field, but both stadiums are drawing good sized crowds. The Raiders may not have a homefield advantage due to all of the opposing fans but at least the seats are filled.
The Athletics however don't seem to be on that wavelength. Fisher has come out and stated that they're open to crowdsourcing money for the project and that he's been open to displaying portions of his contemporary art collection as a means of bringing in more foot traffic on game days.
There's just so little in the way of excitement for the A's relocation efforts. Rob Manfred made a few comments last week that seem to suggest he's getting tired of Fisher not having locked in these plans. The A's Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce event a few weeks ago didn't draw any level of hype or fanfare. In fact, it was widely mocked for being so low energy.
At some point, Fisher is going to have to commit to a plan, one way or another. We're not sure what plan that will be, or who it will be good for. But the owners have to be tired of his schtick and they can only wait so much longer before the league needs to release the preliminary 2025 schedule. The A's don't have a stadium for the 2025 season, so they're holding the league back in that regard.
We'll see what happens over the next few weeks. It's likely to be as discouraging as ever on the stadium front, even as MLB pitchers and catchers start arriving to spring training.