In the wake of renewed criticism of the A’s plans to construct their new ballpark on the Vegas strip, Rob Manfred restated his hope the team will stay on schedule. The franchise has indicated they expect to begin construction on the park next year and will have the field ready for the start of the 2028 season.
“I would be disappointed if we didn’t open that stadium, Opening Day, 2028,” the commissioner told reporters from this week’s owners’ meetings in Orlando (relayed by Jesse Rogers of ESPN). “In terms of an interim home, I’m comfortable with where they are in the process.”
The A’s lease at the Oakland Coliseum expires at the end of this year. They’ve recently been exploring possibilities for the 2025-27 seasons, something Manfred said needs to be finalized in the relatively near future. “We need to, in the next few months, know,” the commissioner said of the team’s plans for the intervening three years (via Evan Drellich of the Athletic). “It’s hard, even scheduling — although it’s clearly going to be someplace in the West — you know, there’s a difference between some places in the West and other places in the West.”
Among the interim hosting options: Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Reno, sharing San Francisco’s Oracle Park with the Giants, and playing at the organization’s Triple-A field in Las Vegas. A’s officials have publicly floated the possibility of a short-term lease extension at the Coliseum, but that has never seemed likely given the acrimony between the franchise and Oakland.
Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t seem there’s any momentum behind the scenes for the A’s to stay in Oakland through 2027. Henry Gardner, executive director of the agency in charge of the Coliseum, tells John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle he hasn’t heard from team personnel about the possibility of a three-year lease extension. “We are proceeding like they’re gone at the end of the year,” Gardner tells Shea.
Complicating the search is the A’s local broadcasting contract with NBC Sports California. That deal lapses once the A’s leave the Bay Area, putting one of the franchise’s major revenue streams in jeopardy. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported last month that the A’s will receive around $70MM under the terms of that deal in 2024.
Sacramento does not fall within the contracted limits of the Bay Area. Departing Oakland or San Francisco could scuttle the deal entirely. At the very least, it’d likely force the A’s back to the negotiating table to accept a lower rights fee if they want to keep their in-market broadcasting on NBC Sports. The organization is comfortable abandoning that contract entirely in 2028, but they’d preserve that revenue in the shorter term if they reached an agreement to stay in the Bay Area until the Vegas stadium is ready.
The stadium plan has come under fire in recent days. On Monday, a political action committee filed a suit against Nevada and its governor to try to overturn the law that approved $380MM in public funding for construction. (The plaintiffs claim the voting process didn’t meet the procedural requirements of the state’s constitution.)
Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman made more headlines on Tuesday when she cast doubt on the stadium arrangement in a conversation with Front Office Sports. Goodman subsequently walked those comments back somewhat (on X), although she reiterated in her clarifying statement that “it is (her) belief that in their perfect world the ownership of the A’s would like to have a new ballpark on the water in Oakland and that the ownership and government there should listen to their great fans and try to make that dream come true.”
Neither of those developments are necessarily anything more than public relations quibbles for team officials. The lawsuit’s chances of succeeding are uncertain at most. Goodman’s office, meanwhile, doesn’t have jurisdiction over the proposed construction site on the Vegas strip. That falls under the purview of Clark County, which has been generally supportive of the stadium plan.
Oakland mayor Sheng Thao nevertheless reiterated that the A’s longtime home city is willing to reopen discussions in a chat with Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic this evening. There’s little chance of that happening. Thao indicated she hasn’t spoken with owner John Fisher since the team announced it was turning its attention to Las Vegas last April. Thao nevertheless took the opportunity to throw a swipe at team leadership, particularly Fisher.
“There was a thought that this plan he had in the beginning was viable,” Thao told Rosenthal. “And now we’re seeing that actually, maybe the plan isn’t viable. The question becomes, are the plans not viable or is it that the ownership’s not viable?” Fisher has made clear he has no designs on selling the franchise, so the mayor’s comments are likely to amount to little more than rhetoric.