Oakland may be out of professional sports teams sooner rather than later.
The future of the Athletics in Oakland has been in limbo for several years, but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred thinks a new destination is on the horizon.
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Manfred told Sirius XM that he’s no longer optimistic they will remain in Oakland, and a move to Las Vegas is likely.
The A’s and Oakland officials had been in discussions regarding a new stadium as part of the Howard Terminal project, but deadlines passed without progress. Because of this, negotiations for the project have been pushed to next year, which A’s president Dave Kaval said would “all but doom our efforts” to stay in Oakland.
Manfred echoed those sentiments, saying there is now “uncertainty” if the A’s will stay put. The team’s lease at the Coliseum ends after the 2024 season.
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In May of last year, the team announced it was exploring relocation possibilities while preferring to stay in the Bay Area in a new stadium.
At the time, the A’s “worked very hard to advance a new ballpark in downtown Oakland for the last four years, investing significant resources while facing multiple roadblocks,” MLB said.
The Golden State Warriors moved to San Francisco last year, while the Raiders moved to Vegas before the start of the 2020 season.
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The A’s ranked dead last in attendance this past season, averaging just 9,849 people per game, according to Baseball Reference. It was the lowest average in baseball since the 2004 Montreal Expos, who moved to Washington, D.C., for the start of the next season. Combined with the lockout, the A’s traded away Matt Olson, Matt Chapman, Sean Manaea and Chris Bassitt.
On May 2, only 2,488 people came to see the A’s take on the Tampa Bay Rays, whom Manfred says thinks will remain in St. Petersburg.