Oakland is a city with a rich sporting history. They were home to the Golden State Warriors, Oakland Raiders, and the Oakland Athletics. But the Warriors moved across the pond to San Francisco and the Raiders moved to Las Vegas to become the Las Vegas Raiders. Now, Oakland’s last professional team has announced its intentions to move to the same market as the Raiders. But the Athletics move doesn’t fix the issues that surround the team.
Understanding the Athletics Move
Las Vegas is a perfect market and is the front runner for an Athletics move. If the MLB expanded and Las Vegas was selected it would be almost guaranteed a success. The NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights have shown that Las Vegas could host a major league team and they could do it successfully. But the story is a little different with the NFL.
The Raiders still haven’t been able to succeed in capturing Las Vegas and while it’s still early, it’s tough to say if they will get the success they are looking for in the city. They currently sit third last in attendance with only the Chicago Bears and Washington Commanders having less attendance.
Now Oakland’s last team will be joining the Las Vegas family as the third major league team. When the lease is up at RingCentral Coliseum and the new baseball field is finished being built in Las Vegas the team is expected to move.
Athletics Move: Not the Solution
But the problem leading to a potential Athletics move isn’t Oakland and the solution isn’t Las Vegas. The problem will move cities as well. John Fisher, the owner of the Athletics will continue being the owner of the team. He invested in the team in 2005 and became the primary owner of the team in 2016. Since his reign, the Athletics have been historically one of the most underfunded teams in the league. Now, in the 2023 MLB season, the team continues to struggle.
Regardless of an Athletics move, Fisher will still be the owner of the team in Las Vegas which means that the team will continue to be poorly managed. Las Vegas will also know the issues that he has caused Oakland as they are happening in real-time. It has been a PR disaster that not even the Raiders had when they left the Bay Area a few years ago. It would be a miracle for the Athletics to somehow tap into their new market without any long-term issues.
The worse part is that Las Vegas is a rightful expansion city that the MLB should be in. They have a minor league team called the Las Vegas Aviators. They have been a successful team with owners that continue to invest in the team. In 2019 they opened a new ballpark called the Las Vegas Ballpark. It is considered one of the best ballparks in all of minor league baseball and if it was bigger, the 10,000-seat ballpark could compete with MLB stadiums.
Vegas will lose ownership that has proven to want Las Vegas and continues to invest in the city to an owner that is only there because someone else is paying the costs for a new baseball park. The loss of the Aviators and an empty Las Vegas Ballpark will be a huge loss that could have easily been avoided if Fisher decided to sell the team to someone who wanted to invest in Oakland.
Oakland is a city with a rich sporting history that has had it stolen by greedy owners and now only has a second-tier soccer team and an ultimate frisbee team. On the other side, Las Vegas is a promising new major league sporting market that has become a dumping ground for owners to move to if they don’t want to pay money to support their team or community. Both cities are plagued by greed and are suffering because of that.
With a potential Athletics move right around the corner, all eyes will be on Oakland and Las Vegas.
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