Attendance Concerns for the Proposed A’s Ballpark in Las Vegas
The proposed relocation of the Oakland A’s to Las Vegas has raised concerns about the team’s potential attendance at their new ballpark. With an estimated 27,000 attendees per game, including 30% out-of-town visitors, the A’s would need to attract over 8,000 tourists to each of their 81 home games per season. This figure seems excessively high, especially considering the numerous other entertainment options available in Las Vegas.
Furthermore, the A’s recent performance on the field does not bode well for their future attendance. Having lost 214 games in the past two seasons and possessing one of the weakest farm systems in baseball, the team is not currently in a position to attract a large fan base. This is particularly concerning in a market like Las Vegas, where there are plenty of alternative ways to spend one’s time and money.
Even if the A’s were to reach 90% capacity for their home games, as projected, it would still be a challenging feat. In 2023, only two teams, the Astros and Red Sox, achieved such high attendance figures, and those numbers may have been inflated. The Astros were the defending World Series champions, and the Red Sox have a strong brand and nationwide appeal. The A’s, on the other hand, do not possess the same level of popularity or success.
Implications of Playing in a Minor-League Park
Another factor that could hinder the A’s attendance is their temporary relocation to a minor-league park in Sumerlin, Nevada, while waiting for their new ballpark to be constructed. It is likely that the team will play a significant number of games in the Las Vegas area across multiple seasons, and they are expected to perform poorly during this period. This means that the novelty of their presence in the city may wear off before they even move into their new venue, dampening any potential momentum.
A Comparison to the Washington Nationals’ Relocation
The relocation of the Montreal Expos to Washington, D.C., provides a relevant example. The Nationals played in R.F.K. Stadium for three seasons before moving into Nationals Park in 2008. Despite being a losing team during their first season in the new ballpark, the Nationals ranked 20th in total home attendance and 19th in average home attendance. However, it is important to note that the Nationals were in a stronger market for baseball than Las Vegas, and they were not as bad as the A’s are projected to be.
Financial Challenges and Ownership Concerns
The A’s heavily rely on gate revenues, as they are expected to face a significant decline in local-media revenues due to the move to a smaller media market. Las Vegas would become the smallest media market in MLB, and the current Regional Sports Network model is already unraveling. This poses a financial challenge for the A’s, as they may struggle to generate substantial income from local media rights.
Additionally, the A’s owner, John Fisher, has a history of not investing in player payroll. Despite promising future investments after the move, Fisher’s track record suggests otherwise. His unwillingness to spend on the team, coupled with the financial burdens of building the new ballpark, may hinder the A’s ability to attract fans.
Obstacles to Public Funding and Relocation Fee
The use of public funds to subsidize sports venues is opposed by the teacher-led Schools Over Stadiums PAC, particularly due to Nevada’s poor educational outcomes. They are pushing for a public referendum on the A’s funding package, which the team and like-minded lawmakers are trying to avoid. The outcome of this opposition could potentially delay or prevent public funding for the A’s ballpark.
Furthermore, MLB has waived the standard relocation fee, which could have amounted to $300 million. This decision by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred reflects the questionable financial viability of the A’s relocation to Las Vegas.
The Uncertain Future of the Las Vegas A’s
While the move to Las Vegas is not guaranteed, private investors may see potential in the A’s as revenue-sharing recipients in MLB’s smallest market. However, they must consider the team’s current and projected performance, their dependence on attracting tourists, the challenges of generating local-media revenues, the timeline of the move, and Fisher’s history of ownership. The risk involved may outweigh the potential benefits.
In conclusion, the A’s relocation to Las Vegas faces numerous attendance concerns and financial challenges. The team’s performance, competition from other entertainment options, and the limitations of the Las Vegas market all contribute to the uncertainty surrounding the success of the proposed ballpark. Only time will tell if the Las Vegas A’s will become a reality.
Major League Baseball Owners Approve Oakland Athletics’ Relocation to Las Vegas
In a unanimous vote, Major League Baseball (MLB) owners have given their approval for the Oakland Athletics (A’s) to relocate to Las Vegas. However, while this may seem like a significant step towards the team’s move, the biggest challenge still lies ahead – securing private financing for the proposed