MLB would give Oakland A’s break on fees for Las Vegas move

0

Major League Baseball doesn’t plan to charge the Oakland Athletics a relocation fee if the team moves to Las Vegas — a rare accommodation that shows the league is concerned about the team’s ability to find a viable home, The Post has learned.

The Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays currently are weighing moves to cities that also reportedly are being targeted by potential expansion teams. The Rays have been rumored to be eyeing Orlando, Fla. or Charlotte, NC. They also may propose a new stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla., close to their current home, insiders speculate.

However, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis this month vetoed $35 million in funding for a Rays spring training complex after the team tweeted about gun control, an indication that the Rays may face new hurdles in getting state funds for any move.

The A’s, meanwhile, were hoping to announce a move to Las Vegas, potentially contingent on getting public financing, this month. The team still lacks key assurances from Nevada state officials to take the next step, sources said. There is also a vote in Oakland at the end of the month about a new stadium that could make it possible to stay.

It has been speculated that if the A’s left Oakland, the team’s home of 54 years, they might need to pay a relocation fee as high as $1 billion. But MLB held its owners meeting earlier this month and a relocation fee was not discussed in an open session, sources said.

The money-losing A’s presently have the lowest attendance in baseball, drawing only 8,562 fans a game at their 54-year-old stadium. 
Getty Images

Sports leagues typically charge relocation fees as a way to discourage unnecessary moves and because they are giving up an expansion fee in a desirable city that could be paid by a potential new team, sources said.

MLB’s last team to move was when the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, DC, in 2004, but MLB owned the Expos at the time so there was no fee. Before that, the last MLB team move was in 1971, when the Washington Senators left for Arlington, Texas.

By not charging the A’s such a fee, MLB could help soften the economic hit of a mostly privately financed stadium. A’s owner John Fisher may get at best $250 million in public funding to cover the costs of a new $1 billion domed stadium in Las Vegas, sources said. Fisher, whose parents founded the Gap chain, is reportedly worth $3.3 billion.

The money-losing A’s presently have the lowest attendance in baseball, drawing only 8,562 fans a game at their 54-year-old stadium. Before the season began, the A’s traded most of their best players to reduce payroll.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has essentially signed off on the A’s move to Vegas as long as the Nevada state government pays for some of the costs of a new stadium, The Post reported exclusively in April. Relocation fees could be considered by MLB, but it would be for future moves and not for the A’s, a second source said.

Word of the free pass from Manfred surprised team owners and sports bankers alike, who spoke to The Post on the condition that their names not be used.

“The market a team moves to is the asset of the league,” one sports investment banker said. “I’d be surprised if there wasn’t some relocation fee.”

“I’m pretty sure there is always a relocation fee,” another sports banker told The Post.

Rob Manfred
Word of the free pass from Manfred surprised team owners and sports bankers alike, who spoke to The Post on the condition that their names not be used.
MLB Photos via Getty Images

In the NFL, the St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers in 2017 paid $645 million each to move to Los Angeles and share the same stadium. The Raiders also paid $378 million in 2020 to move from Oakland to Las Vegas.

In the NBA, the last moves occurred before team values skyrocketed. Still, the owners of the Seattle Supersonics paid $30 million to the NBA for the 2008 move to Oklahoma City, and the Vancouver Grizzlies owners paid $30 million for its 2001 move to Memphis.

Meanwhile, in baseball there are only a small handful of cities in attractive markets that are far enough from existing markets to be homes for new teams. Existing teams in the West could block expansion teams from coming to cities like Austin, Texas, Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Canada. That leaves Las Vegas as one of the only viable markets in the western US, sources said.

Last year, MLB said expansion fees for new teams could be $2.2 billion. There has been talk of adding two new franchises, including in Nashville, but MLB first wants to resolve the Oakland and Tampa situations.

MLB declined to comment.

FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS

 

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! Vigour Times is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment
Enable Notifications    OK No thanks