Athletics Las Vegas Ballpark

Rosenthal reveals how MLB owners view A's possible relocation

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The Athletics have begun the process to apply for relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas after Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo signed Senate Bill 1 into law last month.

MLB owners still need to vote on the team's relocation, which requires 75 percent approval. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal joined Tim Kawakami on the latest episode of "The TK Show" podcast to discuss what he's hearing from owners around the league thus far.

"Depends who you talk to, Tim," Rosenthal began. "Different clubs, different owners have different perspectives. Some of the large market clubs, from my understanding and the conversations I've had, are not happy with this. Not happy that they're still going to be on the revenue-sharing lamb, not happy that they're vacating the sixth-largest market, not happy with the way the team has been run with revenue-sharing dollars in the last year. So those owners, we'll see how vocal they are when the vote is taken, I suspect they'll all fall in line as they always do, but maybe not. This is something to watch.

"You have other owners who just want to see this resolved. They think of Vegas as a better market than maybe you and I think of it as. And they know if you get this resolved, you get Tampa Bay resolved, then baseball expands by two teams, who knows, maybe even back to Oakland. And the expansion fees come in and everybody's happy. So it's a wide variety of opinions. The parting line for [MLB commissioner Rob] Manfred, as you well know and everyone else out there knows, [is] we tried. We couldn't get it done in Oakland. You can make the case that certainly they had a long time, Oakland, to get this done, or any other area in the Bay Area.

"But you could also make the case that John Fisher overshot his hand with the city, and I think you've detailed all the failures very well. It shows that this group has kind of bumbled their way through for decades, and now here we are. ... I would say that if I were running this sport, I would want someone other than John Fisher owning that team."

While speaking to reporters on June 15, Manfred also shared some of the conversations he has had with owners.

"It has always been baseball’s policy and preference to stay put," he said. "I think that always colors any conversation about relocation. Having said that, I think the owners as a whole understand that there has been a multiyear, pushing-a-decade effort where for the vast majority of the time, the sole focus was Oakland.

"Look, believe me, and I hear from ‘em, I feel sorry for the fans in Oakland. I do not like this outcome, I understand why they feel the way they do. I think that the real question is, what is it that Oakland was prepared to do? There is no Oakland offer, OK? They never got to a point where they had a plan to build a stadium at any site. And it’s not just John Fisher. You don’t build a stadium based on the club activity alone. The community has to provide support and you know, at some point, you come to the realization, it’s just not going to happen."

Once the A's submit their formal relocation application, Manfred said he would appoint a relocation committee to review it. He admitted that there's still plenty of work to be done, and the commissioner wouldn't predict a timeline for the process.

Manfred further explained what happens during that period.

"They have to submit an application, there are pretty rigorous requirements about the application: you have to talk about the market you’re leaving, the efforts you’ve made there; the markets you want to go to, why it’s better," Manfred explained. "It then goes to a relocation committee that has to review the application and make recommendations on things like operating territory, home television territory.

"That recommendation comes to me, goes to the executive council, they ultimately make recommendations to the clubs, and then there has to be a three-quarter vote."

On top of MLB approving the relocation, the A's must prove the can come up with the remaining $1.1 billion in private financing to fund the rest of the $1.5 billion ballpark project. After that, the team will have to find a temporary home as their current lease with the Oakland Coliseum is set to end after the 2024 MLB season, and their new Vegas ballpark wouldn't open until the start of the 2028 season.

Additionally, per The Nevada Independent, the A's must negotiate with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority to "establish a development agreement, lease agreement and non-relocation agreement, as well as a community benefits agreement for certain investments in the Las Vegas community."

The final designs of the Las Vegas ballpark also need to be evaluated by the Federal Aviation Administration since the construction site is two miles away from the Harry Reid International Airport.

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