MLB owners vote on Athletics’ relocation to Las Vegas could come Thursday
LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Major League Baseball owners are meeting this week to review the Las Vegas relocation plan for the Oakland Athletics, and the owners are expected to vote Thursday to approve the move.
The MLB owners meeting is taking place in Arlington, Texas from November 14 to 16, and 75 percent of the 30 owners must vote “yes” for the plan to proceed.
The plan has faced fierce opposition from the City of Oakland, Oakland fans, and a Nevada teachers union still working to put the public financing portion of the legislature’s Stadium Bill to a vote on a statewide referendum.
Fans traveled to Arlington to make their voices heard. The Oakland 68s posted video of a aerial banner urging owners to vote “no.” Other fans created boxes of Athletics memorabilia with custom messages and designs for each MLB owner.
FOX5 spoke to L.A. Times sports reporter Bill Shaikin, who traveled to Arlington to cover the vote. He previously spoke to some team owners about the Athletics’ relocation plans, and gives FOX5 Vegas insight into why owners will vote “yes”—and made their decision far ahead of the meeting.
“[The owners are] mostly thinking about the long-term health of Major League Baseball, and not just the A’s or any one team,” Shaikin said. “What Major League Baseball would really like to do is to expand into to new markets. Of course, the owners would like the billions of dollars in expansion fees that go with that. But Commissioner Manfred has said for years, until we get the stadium situations done in Oakland and in Tampa Bay, we can’t do anything else,” Shaikin said.
“From baseball’s point of view, the A’s have been trying to reach a deal somewhere in the Bay Area for about 20 years. The [Nevada] legislature’s already had the vote. That money is there waiting for the A’s to just take it and build,” he said.
“It’s unfortunate for the fans of Oakland who are really, really great fans, who have just had their heart taken out from under them by a team that has not performed and not played well. The owner has not stuck the team with good players. In the meantime, here’s a fresh start. And everybody in baseball wants to take advantage of that,” Shaikin said.
Shaikin spoke to Commissioner Rob Manfred at the World Series, and noted that the MLB is watching the efforts of Schools Over Stadiums. Last week, attorneys for an A’s lobbyists won a court battle when a judge declared the petition language for a referendum “legally deficient.” Schools Over Stadiums plans to appeal the ruling and also file a lawsuit to contest the constitutionality of the legislation.
Major resort owner MGM International is also paying attention to the referendum effort and MLB owners’ vote. On a call with investors, MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle spoke about the company’s plans for properties adjacent to the Tropicana hotel site, also confirming the existence of new stadium renderings.
“They actually showed me the design, which was spectacular, I might add. So we’re all excited by that. I think you’ll see us invest in the way people move around that corner and make it in concert and synergistic with the design I saw,” Hornbuckle said.
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