The Stadium Game Continues In Oakland And Las Vegas

Neither market is all that appealing.

The ongoing saga of where Major League Baseball’s Athletics franchise will play in the future, Oakland or Las Vegas, continues. The John Fisher owned Oakland Athletics got some bad news when Alameda County, California decided it does not know if it wants to be a part of a special tax district that would be set up in the planned Athletics Oakland waterfront stadium-village complex. Fisher needs Alameda County on board to help with public funding of his proposed development. Fisher’s Athletics business is also doing studies and now focus groups within the Las Vegas market to see if relocating the franchise to Nevada can work.

There is one red flag that should concern Fisher and MLB. Will people travel to Las Vegas to watch games from other Major League Baseball markets to watch their team play the Las Vegas A’s? Depending on tourism to fill a stadium is not part of the three-legged stool that is needed for financial success. A major league sports owner has to have government support, which could include public money to build a stadium or tax breaks or incentives, a cable TV deal that brings in a chunk of money and corporate support. Major League sports would rather have customers not fans as customers spend money on valet parking, eat at in-venue restaurants, buy merchandise and are willing to spend big money on seats as opposed to fans who like cheap tickets and would rather bring their own food and drinks to a game. Fisher does not even have a stadium location picked out in Las Vegas. According to Nielsen research, the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose market has the sixth biggest Designated Market Area in the United States. Las Vegas is number 40. More TV and corporate money is available in Oakland, Las Vegas would be MLB’s smallest market and that’s a problem.

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

New York Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo reacts after striking out against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning of a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)