Updated November 20, 2023 - 4:36 pm
Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher said Monday he has no intentions of selling the team before it moves to Las Vegas or thereafter.
A provision in the A’s relocation approval by MLB team owners last week noted that if Fisher were to sell the team before its planned 2028 arrival in Southern Nevada that he would have to pay MLB 20 percent of the sale price.
Fisher said selling the team hasn’t crossed his mind, adding that he hopes to add to the championship culture created by the back-to-back WNBA champion Aces and Stanley Cup champion Golden Knights.
“I want my family to own the A’s long into the future,” Fisher told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We are committed to building a state-of-the-art ballpark on the Strip and bringing more championships to Southern Nevada.”
Following their unanimous relocation approval by the 30 owners, the A’s are expected to announce their Las Vegas stadium architect soon.
The team also will finalize various agreements with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority in the next several months to open up the ability to tap into the $380 million in public funding designated by Senate Bill 1 for the $1.5 billion ballpark. Fisher also will need to finance the more than $1 billion that he will be putting toward the project. He has said he’s working with Goldman Sachs on that process.
Construction on the ballpark can’t begin until the Tropicana is demolished. The definite timeline for that has yet to be determined. But Mortenson-McCarthy, the joint venture that serves as the construction manager on the Las Vegas stadium, noted plans were to begin construction in April 2025 and be completed in January 2028.
That would peg demolition to begin between early and the end of 2024 to meet the planned construction start date.
The A’s are also facing a challenge by the teachers union-backed nonprofit Schools Over Stadiums.
The group filed a ballot referendum seeking to get the $380 million in public funds on the November 2024 ballot for voters to decide the fate of. A Carson City District Court judge struck down that petition, to which Schools Over Stadiums announced last week that it planned to file litigation in an attempt to block the stadium funding. The teachers group cited five instances that claim SB1 violates the state constitution.
Danny Thompson, a lobbyist with A’s ties who was one of two who challenged Schools Over Stadium’s petition, said the pending lawsuit wasn’t a huge concern on the team’s end.
The A’s have already begun to leave their mark philanthropically in Southern Nevada, donating to several causes. That includes the A’s donating $25,000 apiece to the Public Education Foundation and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Southern Nevada, $15,000 to the Henderson All-Stars to help fund their Little League World Series trip and last week providing 200 families in need with Thanksgiving meals and groceries.
“I think sports become much more than watching balls and strikes and watching your team win and lose. They become a critical part of the community,” Fisher said. “There’s a robust group of young baseball players playing Little League throughout Vegas, and we want to see that grow … My family has been quite supportive of civic institutions and social services institutions throughout the Bay Area. I feel like that is an important thing for us to do in Las Vegas as well.”