All The Pros And Cons For The Oakland A’s Moving To Las Vegas

Written By Marc Meltzer on November 1, 2021

The Oakland A’s have been exploring the idea of moving to a new city for less than a year. While other cities were on the initial list of potential new homes, the A’s front office quickly zeroed in on Las Vegas.

The A’s would be the second team to leave Oakland for Las Vegas in the past few years. The NFL approved the Raiders move to Las Vegas in 2017. The Las Vegas Raiders played their first game in Las Vegas in 2020.

While Alameda County (Oakland) is working to keep the A’s in California, the team is still deciding on moving to Las Vegas. The staff of the Major League Baseball (MLB) team has visited Las Vegas to learn about the city and explore possible locations for the team to build a stadium and play its home games.

After the World Series is over, the A’s will reveal possible locations for the team and any partners to build a baseball stadium in Las Vegas.

During their previous visits, A’s officials looked at locations all over town from the Vegas Strip and out to Henderson and Summerlin. The Las Vegas Aviators (Oakland’s AAA minor league team) plays its home games in Summerlin across the street from Red Rock Casino.

The Alameda County board met this week to discuss a possible plan for the A’s to remain in Oakland. While there’s a plan and the board says it ​wants to keep the team in Oakland, the team will continue to explore other options.

Here’s the current timeline for the A’s and Oakland to decide if the MLB team will move or remain in the bay area.

  • Nov. 2021 – Las Vegas stadium sites revealed
  • Dec. 2021 – Oakland will deliver its environmental impact report
  • Early 2022 – Oakland/A’s development agreement for a new stadium
  • TBD – Finalizing the deal

The possibility of the A’s moving to Las Vegas will continue for at least a few more months. The county and team still have plenty of negotiating. The A’s will have even more work to do if it decides that Las Vegas will become its home in the future. For starters, Las Vegas doesn’t have a baseball stadium suited for an MLB team.

Throughout this exploratory phase, Las Vegas residents have been discussing whether or not Las Vegas is a baseball town. While the Aviators draw very well, it will take more to build a successful MLB franchise in Las Vegas.

Could the A’s follow the Raiders lead and move to Las Vegas? Here are some pros and cons on why Las Vegas may or may not be a good home for the A’s.

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Pros For The A’s Moving To Las Vegas

There are good reasons on both sides of the argument for the A’s moving to Las Vegas. The addition of a “Big Four” major league franchise could boost the image of Las Vegas.

Major League City

The addition of the A’s would bring Las Vegas closer to being a real Major League sports town. “The Big Four” sports have always been NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. Las Vegas is home to two of the four at this time.

While Las Vegas is home to a WNBA team and hosts events from all levels of sports, it’s not quite on the same level as major sports towns like New York or Chicago. That may be fine for some but another major league team would bring Las Vegas closer to other large towns.

MLB betting and MLB in general are more popular than hockey, WNBA, minor league sports, etc. It should be obvious but an MLB team is a step up in talent from a minor league baseball team. The A’s would help boost the image of Las Vegas as a real sports town.

On a related note, Las Vegas is on the shortlist of cities if the NBA decides to expand. Adding both an NBA and MLB team would put Las Vegas on par with cities like Boston and Minneapolis.

Another new stadium will offer residents more things to do

Another new stadium in Las Vegas will probably be a mixed-use development. Depending on the location, there could be more bars, restaurants, shopping and other non-gaming activities.

Many of the potential locations on the Vegas Strip would put a stadium within walking distance to various casinos.

The land on the north end of the Vegas Strip would put a stadium near Circus Circus, Sahara and The Strat. The south Vegas Strip location would be near Mandalay Bay. Of course, the long-rumored land at the site of the Rio is still in play.

A new stadium would be a catalyst for locals and tourists to have more new places to go and things to see in Las Vegas. There’s nothing wrong with that.

A stadium could bring an economic boost for Las Vegas

There’s no deal in place for a stadium so it’s possible an agreement will be economically viable for Las Vegas. A new stadium with a retail development will bring thousands of jobs and potentially millions in tax dollars.

Additionally, nearby businesses should see a boost. Every year the stadium will host 81 A’s games with as many as 50,000-60,000 people visiting. Similar to Allegiant Stadium, the venue will likely host other events when baseball games aren’t being played.

Cons for the Oakland A’s Moving to Las Vegas

If bringing the A’s to Las Vegas becomes a failure, it would be a black eye for a rapidly growing city. An empty or abandoned stadium would be more than just an eyesore.

NBA would be better for Las Vegas

There are plenty of sports fans and bettors that would rather skip the MLB team. The potential for Las Vegas being home to an NBA team is more exciting to many people.

It’s understandable more would be interested in a basketball team. Judging by sports betting revenue, more people like basketball than football.

According to the UNLV Center For Gaming Research, there’s been more money bet on basketball than baseball since 2000. The combination of pro and college is the second most bet on sport in Nevada sportsbooks.

Additionally, will be little if any infrastructure needed for Las Vegas to become the home of an NBA team. This team would likely play its home games at T-Mobile Arena when the Vegas Golden Knights aren’t in action. Las Vegas could be home to an NBA team with very little impact on the city.

Las Vegas doesn’t need another team and stadium

Las Vegas is busy enough between people visiting for casinos, sports and other forms of entertainment. Next year large conventions like CES will bring more people to Las Vegas.

Las Vegas traffic already feels as though it’s greater than pre-Covid levels. A new venue will likely create even more traffic and congestion. This could negatively impact the mental health of Las Vegas residents as well as the environment.

While an MLB team would be great, there really isn’t a need for another stadium with 81+ events a year.

The vast majority of large events will likely go to Allegiant Stadium. There are plenty of entertainment venues in Las Vegas, and more like The Sphere behind The Venetian are already under construction.

There may not be support for the A’s to succeed

One of the charms of the MLB season is that it stretches from early spring through early fall. Watching MLB games in an air-conditioned sportsbook is a great way to spend the hot summer days and nights in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys baseball during the dog days of summer. Judging by the crowds in the sportsbooks, very few people enjoy it these days.

While not an exact mirror of watching the game in person, this is a microcosm of how the public feels without an MLB team in Las Vegas. Watching games in a casino is free and there’s little demand. Will a local team that charges people to watch the game change this? Possibly, but that’s a pretty big gamble.

The issue is whether or not Las Vegas residents want to go to 81 home games. It takes time, money and effort. Unlike the shorter NFL and NHL seasons, there won’t be as many tourists visiting Las Vegas to fill the stadium as often.

It’s easy for traveling fans to justify spending money for a short vacation to Las Vegas to see their team play a single game. However, very few will be buying tickets to see their favorite team playing in a three or four-game series. In addition to buying tickets, a visitor will have to cover hotels, meals and anything else.

Las Vegas residents may not be able to fill an MLB stadium for 81 home games by themselves.

Photo by Michael Wyke / Associated Press
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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