The New York Times reported that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred threw his backing behind the Oakland Athletics relocating their team to Las Vegas.
Manfred addressed a gathering of Associated Press sport editors in New York, and he brought up the topic of the A's relocation from California to Nevada for the very first time. The team had announced last week a plan to purchase 49 acres of land in Las Vegas to build a ballpark near Tropicana Blvd and Interstate 15.
Manfred claimed that the A's front office was "smart", and Las Vegas presented it with "a real revenue-enhancing opportunity." He lamented the impact of the move on the fans in Oakland.
Manfred stated, 'I really feel sorry for the Oakland fans.' Manfred also used the occasion to defend A’s owner John Fisher from the idea that he was using Oakland to get a better deal somewhere else.
It's not fair that the city of Oakland points a finger at John Fisher. It's not fair. If you really consider their reaction, you'll see that a site has been identified in Oakland. Las Vegas has been identified as the site. The two cities are located in the exact same location. I believe one of them will be able to make the economics work. However, the other city is going to pull out on the basis that they were somehow used as leverage.
I don't understand how you can negotiate exclusively with someone for seven years, and then be accused of using that person as leverage. I don't understand it. It's just different approaches from different governments, I think. We have done everything we can to make sure that Oakland fans are satisfied. Unfortunately, the government does not seem to be willing to do anything about it.
Sheng Thao, the Oakland mayor who had previously stated that the A's were "not a good partnership", did not make any comments on Manfred’s press conference remarks.
A's president Dave Kaval stated that the team still pursues a public-private partner to help finance a baseball park. The Nevada Independent reported that the A’s are looking for a funding mechanism from the public to raise about $500 million out of the estimated $1.5 billion construction cost.
The A's have not said how they plan to finance a new stadium, but the Las Vegas deal includes a special tax district and $500 million in transferable tax credits pending Nevada Legislature approval. Kaval hasn't said how the A’s plan to fund a new stadium. However, the Las Vegas deal contains a special tax districts as well as transferable tax credit of $500 million pending Nevada Legislature approval.