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On Thursday, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted to alter the classification of a terminal at the Port of Oakland. That potentially deals a blow to Las Vegas’s hopes of being the next home of the Oakland Athletics.
The 23-2 vote by the commission changes the designation of a 56-acre terminal at the Port of Oakland to “mixed use,” which could set the stage for construction of a new stadium that would keep the Major League Baseball (MLB) team in its home city of 54 years.
The vote is the first in a series of approvals that are necessary for construction of a new waterfront stadium. While local politics can be messy and slow-moving, it appears Oakland politicians are making concerted to keep the A’s in town. That dashes Sin City’s hopes of landing a third team from one of the four major North American sports leagues.
A’s-to-Las Vegas rumors are long-running, and even stoked social media controversy among local officials in the two cities. The intensity of the speculation, coupled with A’s President Dave Kaval’s reportedly weekly visits to Las Vegas and MLB’s approval of the club’s move to the US gaming capital, gave the impression that it was nearly a done deal.
Oakland Fights to Keep a Team…Finally
For Oakland, the Thursday vote by the development commission is a step in the right direction in terms of retaining the city’s remaining professional sports franchise.
Our city has historically been overlooked for major economic development, but today that story about Oakland changes,” said Mayor Libby Schaaf in a statement.
In recent years, Oakland lost the NFL’s Raiders to Las Vegas and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors to neighboring San Francisco.
In Oakland, the A’s are proposing construction of a $1 billion site that includes a stadium, hotels, residences, and retail space. That’s the reported price tag of a new ballpark in Las Vegas, for which MLB is aiming for $275 million in public financing – a notion Nevada state leaders aren’t enthusiastic about.
Where Las Vegas Goes from Here
The A’s-to-Las Vegas idea isn’t necessarily dead. But it is now on life support, possibly dashing the city’s hopes of adding a MLB franchise. The league was so enthusiastic about the prospects of a team calling the US casino mecca home, it was reportedly willing to waive the $1 billion relocation fee.
It’s possible another MLB franchise could move to Las Vegas. But for now, the only other relocation rumor in the league centers around the Tampa Bay Rays. However, that club is likely to remain in Florida.
News of the San Francisco commission’s vote emerges less than a month after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver threw cold water on the idea of that league imminently expanding. That perhaps indicatesLas Vegas may have to be content with the Raiders and the NHL’s Golden Knights for the time being.
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