Major League Baseball team owners could vote in June on the Oakland Athletics’ potential relocation to Las Vegas, commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday.
The balloting could happen when the owners meet from June 13-15 in New York. However, there are several steps to complete before a formal vote is held.
“It’s possible that a relocation vote could happen as early as June,” Manfred said in Milwaukee. “It’s very difficult to have a timeline for Oakland until there’s actually a deal to be considered. There is a relocation process internally they need to go through, and we haven’t even started that process.”
Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo announced a tentative agreement with the club on Wednesday. The agreement requires approval from state legislators, whose session ends June 5 and won’t reconvene until 2025.
The A’s and legislative leaders reached a tentative agreement earlier this month with Bally’s Corporation on a $1.5 billion stadium plan on the current site of the Tropicana Las Vegas casino.
The A’s reportedly have a deal in place to receive up to $380 million in public funds for the 35,000-seat, retractable-roof stadium on the Las Vegas Strip.
Does Manfred believe the A’s won’t remain in Oakland, their home since 1968?
“I think you’d have to ask the mayor of Oakland that,” Manfred said. “She said she had cut off negotiations after an announcement was made in Las Vegas. I don’t have a crystal ball as to where anything’s going. There’s not a definitive deal done in Las Vegas. We’ll have to see how that plays out.”
The Athletics’ lease at Oakland Coliseum, their home since arriving in the Bay Area, expires after next season. The team and the city haven’t been able to work out an agreement to keep the team in the area despite a crumbling stadium.
“Unfortunately, it’s a facility that was never as good as this one (in Milwaukee) when it started,” Manfred said. “They made some unfortunate decisions not to maintain the ballpark in the way that it needed to be maintained. It resulted in a decline in the attendance, which had an impact on the quality of product the team could afford to put on the field.”
Oakland mayor Sheng Thao said last week that she and the city are close to making a deal for a new stadium if the A’s reopen negotiations to remain in the Bay Area.
“I really hope that they have a change of heart and really, truly feel that they do,” Thao told NBC Bay Area. “If they would call me, I would pick up because it’s not about me, it’s not about (owner) John Fisher, it’s really about the bigger, more complex issues around the fan base, what it means to drive the economy here in the city of Oakland.”