Did Oakland Athletics’ Ownership Boot The Ball In The Stadium Game?

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Telling the Oakland mayor about the Las Vegas land deal was not a wise move.

Did Oakland Athletics’ owner John Fisher and Athletics’ President David Kaval make a large error in playing the stadium game? Fisher has a tentative agreement to buy a parcel of land where a stadium could be built in Las Vegas and let Oakland officials know about the deal. That may have been a mistake because Oakland mayor Sheng Thao broke off negotiations with Fisher because Oakland does not want to be used for leverage in the stadium game in Las Vegas. Fisher needs $500 million in public funding to complete the stadium. The Las Vegas ballpark will cost an estimated $1.5 billion. If Oakland is not at the table talking to Fisher and Kaval, Nevada officials won’t have to give away the store to entice Fisher and Kaval to sign the deal that would allow the Athletics owner and president to leave Oakland for the Nevada desert.

In the stadium game, maximizing leverage is a big part of negotiations but by announcing the land purchase, Fisher and Kaval have given a sizable amount of leverage away. Thao will listen to Fisher and Kaval if they want to reconsider talking to Oakland officials. But the clock is ticking on Fisher and Kaval to get a deal done because the Nevada legislative session is done on June 5th. Fisher has 11 lobbyists listed as active for the Athletics Investment Group to talk to Nevada state lawmakers in an effort to get the half billion dollars. Kaval is one of those registered lobbyists. Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo said he is not in favor of raising taxes to help lure professional teams to the state. But that does not mean Fisher won’t get some form of public assistance from Nevada. If Fisher can’t seal the deal in Las Vegas, things might get very tense in the A’s stadium game between Las Vegas and Oakland.

Evan Weiner’s books are available at iTunes – https://books.apple.com/us/author/evan-weiner/id595575191

Evan can be reached at evan_weiner@hotmail.com

Bob Welch