Does John Fisher Believe In the Las Vegas Market?

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The baseball franchise owner wants to play as many as eight home games a year in a different city.

It is highly unlikely that the cast of characters that produced the spectacle of the move of the Oakland Athletics to Las Vegas by franchise owner John Fisher, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, the Athletics President Dave Kaval and the people from the Nevada Legislature who gifted Fisher $380 million in seed money to build a baseball stadium will ever admit that perhaps they made a wrong decision. Nevada taxpayers’ who are furious that state money is going to a private business might not be brimming with joy with this news. The Athletics ownership is requesting to play up to eight home games a season away from the team’s planned $1.5 billion Las Vegas ballpark. Is that an admission that the Las Vegas market may not be up to Major League Baseball standards in that there may not be enough television money or corporate support available?

The request to play more than a half-dozen home games away from Las Vegas is in the team’s 37-page proposed 30-year non-relocation agreement. In the last three partially publicly funded stadium agreements in Miami in 2009, in Cobb County, Georgia in 2014 and in Arlington, Texas in 2017, the teams’ ownership agreed to no more than three “home” games in neutral sites a year. Kaval said having eight games outside of Las Vegas was a way for the team to build up its brand, promote the club and attract players and sponsors. Up to eight games is 10 percent of a home schedule and whatever money is spent in the Las Vegas ballpark area will be lost and someone has to pick up the tab on stadium costs.  Fisher’s business plans to make a three-year stop in Sacramento, California before settling in Las Vegas. It is an ominous sign for Las Vegas that Fisher doesn’t want to play a full schedule in town.

John Fisher

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