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‘They won’t be missed’: Oakland mayor’s office rips into A’s over Vegas move

Updated January 25, 2024 - 5:53 pm

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao’s office said the Athletics won’t be missed when they leave the Bay Area ahead of the team’s planned Las Vegas relocation.

The Review-Journal reached out to the office this week to ask if the city and the A’s have discussed extending the team’s Oakland Coliseum lease past its expiration date at the end of the 2024 season. Leigh Hanson, Thao’s chief of staff, said no and then ripped into the club.

“To my great shock, the A’s have once again failed to provide anyone in Oakland clarity on their genius business plans,” Hanson said Monday via email. “To date they have not contacted or requested an extension to their lease from the Mayor, Alameda County, the (joint powers agency) that oversees the Coliseum complex and perhaps, most importantly, from the fans.”

The A’s are in the process of determining where they will play for the 2025-2027 MLB seasons. They hope to move into their planned $1.5 billion Las Vegas ballpark in 2028. Team officials toured ballparks in Salt Lake City and Sacramento, California, as part of those efforts.

Hanson claimed A’s games at the Coliseum, which is owned equally by the A’s and the city, are not profitable for Oakland.

“Luckily we make more money with one exhibition soccer game at the Coliseum than we do throughout the entire A’s season,” Hanson said. “So they won’t be missed.”

A’s owner John Fisher said he was not surprised to hear such sentiment since the team is set to leave the city. The club could move as soon as the end of the 2024 season.

“I understand the disappointment that the Bay Area fans have for the team leaving and I understand the disappointment that the mayor has, leading a great city like Oakland,” Fisher told the Review-Journal on Wednesday. “I’m not surprised by her comments, and as I’ve said before, we’ve done everything we could to try and make things work and ultimately concluded that it was not going to work for us in Oakland. But even more, the opportunity for us in Las Vegas was a tremendous opportunity and something that we really wanted to embrace.”

Where the team will play in the interim remains undecided. Fisher said it’s a priority for the team so it can tell employees and players where they’ll be working in the coming years. MLB also needs to know where games will be taking place so it can work on the 2025 schedule.

“It’s something we’re working on every day now,” Fisher said. “It’s something that is very top of mind for us and something that we hope that will get resolved relatively soon.”

Fisher said wherever the A’s end up for the 2025-27 seasons, the team still hopes to play some games in Las Vegas. The club will play the Milwaukee Brewers in two exhibition games at Las Vegas Ballpark as part of Big League Weekend on March 8-9 this year.

“We’re looking at all options, but I think it will be important to us, wherever we go, to play some games perhaps (at Las Vegas Ballpark), if that could work,” Fisher said. “Last year during spring training we played Cincinnati (in Las Vegas), which was really fun and really well-received. We’re doing the same thing again this year in March with Milwaukee, but what we’re looking for right now is where our primary home is going to be.”

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

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