So far, the Athletics' attempt at relocating their franchise to Las Vegas has been a roller-coaster ride.
From fan-organized protests, a high-profile process to acquire public funds and, most recently, ballpark renderings deemed useless, plenty has happened as the A's look to leave Oakland. But now, other MLB owners reportedly have taken issue with aspects of the move, per the San Francisco Chronicle's John Shea.
"I heard from industry sources with close ties to MLB ownerships that some owners of low-revenue teams are upset that the A’s are receiving preferential treatment -- no relocation fee, for instance -- and that high-revenue owners aren’t thrilled that the A’s benefit from increasing revenue sharing but don’t seem to transfer the money into their baseball team, including payroll," Shea wrote in a column published Sunday.
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In December, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the league would waive the A's relocation fee if they were to move to Las Vegas -- a sum estimated to fall in the $300 million range. Manfred addressed waiving the fee again after the league's owners meetings last month, telling reporters it wouldn't be realistic to charge the A's.
"The relocation fee, the ultimate decision, will be made in the process that I described a moment ago," Manfred said. "I’ve been clear with the owners: In the context where you have an owner who’s making a billion-dollar private commitment moving to a market where they receive public funding, for baseball to step in and have a relocation fee, I don’t see that as a realistic possibility."
While there still are some hurdles for the A's to clear in the relocation process, including a vote of approval from MLB owners, the team has begun the application process after securing up to $380 million in public funds to construct a new stadium along The Strip. The move would end up providing the A's with an upwards of $50 million from revenue sharing in 2024 and 2025 combined, per Forbes.
MLB's last collective bargaining agreement made the A's eligible for a 25-percent revenue share in 2022, a 40-percent share in 2023, a 75-percent share in 2024 and a full share in 2025 -- but only if the team has an agreement for a new ballpark in place. This windfall in the wake of the franchise's seemingly never-ending fire sale in recent years appears to have some of the league's owners up in arms.
While A's ownership has promised to field a competitive team in Las Vegas, it remains to be seen if their relocation will actually come to fruition.