Oakland mayor to MLB: If team moves to Las Vegas, keep ‘Athletics’ name in Oakland

Published: Aug. 30, 2023 at 9:33 AM PDT

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - As the Oakland Athletics make progress on their work to relocate their team to Las Vegas, FOX5 confirmed a proposal by Oakland’s mayor to Major League Baseball’s commissioner: If the franchise moves to Las Vegas, the MLB should allow the “Athletics” team name to stay with Oakland.

FOX5 spoke with Mayor Sheng Thao’s chief of staff Leigh Hanson about Thao’s meeting and discussions with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. Details of the Mayor’s proposal have come to light, as the team announced the submission of their relocation application to MLB.

Thao’s proposal would play out in this scenario: the John Fisher-owned team would relocate the organization, franchise and players to Las Vegas under a yet-to-be-determined name, while Oakland gets to keep the “Athletics” brand.

According to Hanson, Thao made it clear to Manfred that the City of Oakland wants to “keep the team” but also offered interim solutions for the organization’s relocation. The discussions occurred during the MLB All Star game, as Thao traveled to Seattle with hard copies of the Howard Terminal plan for Manfred and all MLB owners to review.

The A’s lease on the Oakland Coliseum expires in 2024, with annual rent of $1 million a year. Where will the A’s will play from 2025 to 2028? That decision is still up in the air, but a location must be included in the relocation application process. The interim location will be subject to input by MLB owners and the players union.

Rent at the Coliseum could be negotiated as part of a deal, Hanson said, noting that concessions must be made by the MLB and the Athletics team for a lease extension at the Coliseum. The city currently loses money annually with $1 million rent, and concerts and other events generate more income than A’s games, Hanson said.

If the Athletics end up moving to Las Vegas, Thao also asked Manfred for a guarantee of Oakland at the top of the list for an expansion team, Hanson said.

FOX5 reached out to team management and the MLB for a response on the proposal. No date has been announced for a meeting of the owners, but a relocation vote must occur by the end of the year.

The proposed arrangement of leaving a “team” behind in a host city has not yet occurred in Major League Baseball. The National Football League saw that scenario play out in 1996, when the Cleveland Browns team relocated to Baltimore to reincarnate as the Ravens. Cleveland eventually regained a team under the Browns name.


President Dave Kaval announced the team’s progress Thursday before the Las Vegas Stadium Authority.

“Obviously, we have a lot of work to do. We just filed our relocation paperwork. We look forward to the league processing that in a really positive fashion as soon as possible. But at the same time, wanted to engage everyone here, just make sure people know that I’m going to be running points on this, “ Kaval said. “We want to have openness, transparency, lot of communication, to ensure we get a great outcome, not only with all the documents, but just to ensure that we can have a great community benefits agreement, and that the team can enter the market in a really positive way,” he said.

The A’s announced they hired the group who built the Raiders’ Allegiant Stadium to design the proposed ballpark on the nine-acre Tropicana site.

Treasurer Zach Conine was introduced as a new board member of the Stadium Authority, which was one of the conditions of stadium bill SB1. FOX5 spoke to Conine about the terms of the financing and funding of the bill, and what’s being done to protect taxpayers.

Steve Hill of the LVCVA also provided more insight into the timing of the implementation of a Stadium District, noting that the Tropicana must be demolished first.

“That district cannot be created until the Tropicana is no longer in that area on that site. So there will be no revenue stream generated until that district is created. So that’ll be some time in the future,” Hill said.

“Until there is a revenue stream, we still want to pay our vendors or consultants, our legal and accounting work to help pay for their work along the way. So we will basically borrow from the revenue stream that is available to us from the Raiders. We will keep track of that. Once there is a revenue stream in place, we will repay from that revenue stream to make them whole,” Hill said.


The Nevada State Education Association tells FOX5, they are days away from filing a petition for a referendum on the stadium bill. FOX5 told you about the creation of the PAC “Schools Over Stadiums,” and their efforts to launch a referendum, initiative or pursuit of legal action.

“People are frustrated. This process was secretive. It shut people out. If you put this vote to a people, we’re confident what this vote could be,” Alexander Marks said.

Hill has called the efforts “misguided” and “hard to get that on the ballot,” noting the benefits of thousands of jobs and tourism that will come from the future stadium.

Numerous organizations have already expressed interest in holding live events at the future ballpark, Hill said at a previous LVCVA meeting, showing there is already a need for a mid-size 30,000-seat facility. Allegiant Stadium holds 65,000 people, and T-Mobile arena has a 20,000-person capacity.