Viva Las Vegas!
The Oakland Athletics dog and pony show will continue in Las Vegas next week as A’s officials assess possible ballpark sites in the market as part of getting Oakland’s attention to pony up money for needed infrastructure for a new Oakland baseball park. The Athletics ownership seems to have only Las Vegas for leverage in its talks with Oakland officials. Las Vegas started going after some form of Major League Baseball in 1999. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman talked to a number of Major League Baseball team executives trying to convince them to move spring training operations to his city. Goodman failed. During 2003 and 2004 Las Vegas officials met with Major League Baseball about moving the then-MLB owned Montreal Expos to the desert market. MLB cut a deal with Washington, DC politicians and moved the team there in 2005. Goodman’s staff also tried to lure Florida Marlins owners Jeffrey Loria to the desert and failed. Loria ended up with public financing for a new Marlins ballpark at the site of the old Orange Bowl in Miami. In 2005, Goodman predicted that Las Vegas would have a Major League Baseball team by 2011.
In 1996, the Oakland A’s first home stand was played in Las Vegas because the Oakland Coliseum renovation was not complete. Allegedly Oakland Athletics officials did talk to people in Las Vegas in 2019 about the possibility of relocating to the city. Athletics officials don’t really need to do a fact finding tour of the Las Vegas market. All they need to do is pose three questions and they can do it by email. Can you provide government support and for the moment until the model changes a big-time cable TV deal and corporate dollars? It is that simple.