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The Oakland A's are relocating to Las Vegas after MLB owners approve the move

Reuben Ortiz of Modesto, Calif., holds a sign outside Oakland Coliseum to protest the Oakland Athletics' planned move to Las Vegas before the A's game with the Tampa Bay Rays on June 13, 2023. The Athletics' move to Las Vegas was unanimously approved Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023 by Major League Baseball team owners.
Jed Jacobsohn
/
AP
Reuben Ortiz of Modesto, Calif., holds a sign outside Oakland Coliseum to protest the Oakland Athletics' planned move to Las Vegas before the A's game with the Tampa Bay Rays on June 13, 2023. The Athletics' move to Las Vegas was unanimously approved Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023 by Major League Baseball team owners.

Three years after the NFL's Raiders abandoned Oakland for Las Vegas, MLB's Oakland A's announced they're moving there too.

The owners of the 30 teams in the league unanimously approved the move Thursday, though the A's aren't expected to play in Vegas until 2028.

The team will play their 2024 season at the Oakland Coliseum. But their lease at the stadium expires after that and no decision has been made on where they'll play while the stadium in Las Vegas is being built, the team said.

"Today marks a significant moment for our franchise, and it's met with mixed emotions — sadness for this change and excitement for our future," A's owner John Fisher said. "I know this is a hard day for our fans in Oakland. We made sincere efforts to keep our team in Oakland, but unfortunately, it did not work out.

A's fans have been frustrated with higher ticket prices, losing seasons, salaries too small to accommodate big-time players, an issue that was the subject of Michael Lewis' 2003 Moneyball and the 2011 film.

There have also been complaints for years about the Coliseum being outdated, but the team had not been able to reach a contract with the city for a new stadium.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday his first trip after starting his position in 2015 was to Oakland to find a fix for the stadium. But despite efforts that have lasted over a decade, there was "not a viable path forward" in the California city, he said.

"It didn't happen. A lot of back and forth, but the fact of the matter is there was never a deal in Oakland," he said.

"I know this is a terrible day for fans in Oakland," he added. "I understand that and that's why we've always had a policy of doing everything humanly possible to avoid a relocation, and I truly believe we did that in this case."

The $1.5 billion ballpark in Vegas will be built at the site of the Tropicana casino and hotel after it's torn down. It will have a partially retractable roof and 33,000 seats. The Nevada legislature approved up to $380 million of public funds for the project.

A new hotel and casino with 1,500 rooms will be built across from the ballpark on the 35-acre Tropicana site, according to The Nevada Independent.

The Philadelphia Athletics was founded in 1901 as part of the new American League. They moved to Kansas City in 1955 and to Oakland in 1968.

The franchise has won nine World Series titles, including a three-peat in the 1970s in Oakland and two back-to-back championships in Philadelphia.

The A's aren't the only Oakland team that found Vegas more attractive. The NFL's Raiders relocated there in 2020.

"We do believe over the long haul Las Vegas will be a great asset to Major League Baseball," Manfred said.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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