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A’s land temporary home ballpark before Vegas move

Updated April 4, 2024 - 7:35 pm

The Oakland Athletics will play in Sacramento following the 2024 MLB season as their Las Vegas ballpark is built.

The A’s will play at Triple-A ballpark Sutter Health Park for the 2025-27 MLB seasons and have an option for one more year in 2028, should there be any delays in the Las Vegas ballpark construction, the A’s announced Thursday. The team will not feature a city designation during the interim years. It will simply go by the Athletics or A’s.

“We explored several locations for a temporary home, including the Oakland Coliseum. Even with the long-standing relationship and good intentions on all sides in the negotiations with Oakland, the conditions to achieve an agreement seemed out of reach,” A’s owner John Fisher said in a statement. “We understand the disappointment this news brings to our fans, as this season marks our final one in Oakland. Throughout this season, we will honor and celebrate our time in Oakland, and will share additional details soon.

“We extend our appreciation to the (Sacramento) Kings and the city of West Sacramento, and look forward to making Sutter Health Park our home until our new ballpark opens in Las Vegas.”

The A’s and Oakland officials met this week to try and hammer out a deal for the team to remain at the Coliseum, but the two sides were too far apart on a lease extension. The city offered a five-year deal, at $97 million, while the A’s countered with a two-year extension worth $17 million. The A’s then met with Sacramento officials Wednesday, leading to the deal.

Early in the relocation process, the A’s floated the idea of playing the interim years at Las Vegas Ballpark in Summerlin, home of its Triple-A affiliate, the Aviators. That option was nixed for multiple reasons, including summertime heat in an open-air stadium, keeping the A’s lucrative TV deal in the Bay Area and wanting a grand arrival when the new ballpark is completed on the Strip, A’s President Dave Kaval told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

“We want to ensure that we have a big launch of the team in the big stadium down on the Strip,” Kaval said Thursday via phone interview. “Obviously, things like the heat are factors. And ensuring we have a good interim location and the broadcast piece was also a factor. All those things together really made Sacramento the best interim choice for us, as we embark on our path toward Las Vegas in 2028.”

A’s games will continue to be broadcast on NBC Sports California in the same areas they are available now, including San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and Sacramento.

Kaval reiterated that the team plans to continue playing a series of spring training games in Las Vegas in the years leading up to their arrival, with the potential for a series or two of regular season games at Las Vegas Ballpark.

“We’re still looking at playing a couple of series every year in Summerlin, I think that’s going to be a great way to see the market, get folks out and bring the excitement we saw at Big League Weekend, but have real games there,” Kaval said. “That is something we’re working with the league on, on the scheduling side. I can’t really say exactly when, but probably in the times of the year when it’s less hot would make the most sense. Either the beginning or ending of the season, because obviously it’s open air. But that is an exciting thing folks can look forward to.”

The Tropicana shut down Tuesday, with tentative plans to demolish the property in October and for construction on the the team’s $1.5 billion Las Vegas ballpark to start in April 2025. The A’s hope to have the 33,000-capacity stadium ready in time for the 2028 MLB season, but an extra year option with the Sacramento lease allows flexibility for the team.

A’s games at the Coliseum have seen the league’s worst attendance rates over the past few season amid Las Vegas relocation talk, with the team averaging 6,438 fans per game this season. The final regular season home game in A’s history at the Coliseum is scheduled for Sept. 26 against the Texas Rangers.

“It’s the last year, it’s bittersweet for us, 56 years, so I think there is a sadness that comes with that,” Kaval said. “But by the same token, we want to give people the space to celebrate the time and have some of those last memories there and come enjoy themselves at the ballpark.”

Sutter Health Park is in West Sacramento near the state Capitol and is across from the Tower Bridge from Golden 1 Center, where the Sacramento Kings play NBA home games. The A’s and the Sacramento River Cats, the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, will share the 14,611-capacity stadium, with each team having their own dedicated space at the facility. The River Cats are owned by Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé.

“On behalf of all of MLB, I want to express my appreciation to West Sacramento, Sutter Health Park, the Kings and the greater Sacramento region for their excitement to host the A’s for interim play, as the A’s new permanent home is built in Las Vegas,” Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

The Kings will work with the A’s, providing operational assistance and helping the team host games at the stadium.

“We’re going to be working hand-in-hand with them,” Kaval said. “It will be a really integrated effort, one where the experience is really positive for everyone involved.”

The ballpark recently went through a multi-million dollar renovation, but other modifications will be made to the stadium to bring it up to MLB standards, with plans to upgrade LED lighting and adding an additional clubhouse.

“We’re going to have both fan-facing improvements, new seating, premium seating and new video boards, things of that nature,” Kaval said. “Also we’re going to have a clubhouse and player-facing amenities. So we’re going to do what we can with the Kings to make sure that’s done in an appropriate way. … I think when we open next year, for Opening Day, we can put our best foot forward for the three years that we’re here, before we move to Las Vegas.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X.

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