Oakland A’s Could Get Free Pass on MLB Relocation Fees for Vegas Move

  • The Oakland A’s are close to moving from Oakland to Las Vegas, but there are financial concerns
  • A relocation fee for the A’s could reach $1bn, but officials are reportedly ready to waive it
  • A vote will go ahead in Oakland this week on the development of a new local A’s stadium
  • MLB Commissioner Manfred has already effectively approved the A’s to make the Vegas move
Oakland A's pitcher
The Oakland A’s might not have to pay MLB relocation fees if they move to Las Vegas, according to reports. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Two big decisions

The MLB is supposedly prepared to give the Oakland A’s a break on relocation fees if the team decides to ultimately move the franchise to Las Vegas. According to reports, the league has concerns about the California-based team’s ability to finance the move to a new home. 

need to get proper financial assurances

The Oakland A’s had planned to unveil a move to Las Vegas at some stage in June, their desired site being the Tropicana casino on the Las Vegas Strip. However, the A’s first need to get proper financial assurances from state officials in Nevada to proceed.

The Tampa Bay Rays, another MLB team, are also reportedly looking at relocation, potentially to Charlotte, North Carolina, or Orlando, Florida. Otherwise, they could build a new stadium close to the current venue. 

A move to Vegas looks likely

In December, the Oakland A’s reportedly chose the 34-acre Tropicana casino site for their Vegas relocation. The possible fee to make such a move would reach up to $1bn, according to the Las Vegas-Review Journal.

However, at a meeting of MLB team owners recently there was no public discussion of implementing such a relocation fee. Relocation fees are usually in place as a disincentive for teams to make moves that are unnecessary. It also compensates for the lack of a receipt of an expansion fee. 

That said, a vote will go ahead in Oakland this week regarding the possible development of a new MLB stadium that could lead to the A’s staying put.

The A’s have been located in Oakland for the past 54 years and won four World Series titles during that time. They have consistently had the worst attended MLB games for a number of years.

Other relocations in MLB

MLB has not seen any other team relocations since 2004 when the Montreal Expos moved to Washington DC. As the MLB owned the team at the time, there was no relocation fee to pay. Previous to that, no moves had taken place since 1971 when the team in Arlington, Texas turned into the Washington Senators. 

the lack of a relocation fee could make it easier

With a potential new baseball stadium in Las Vegas costing about $1bn, the lack of a relocation fee could make it easier for the A’s to privately finance the stadium. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has already more or less given the green light for a move to Las Vegas, once the state government in Nevada agrees to pay for part of the new stadium. 

Other sports leagues usually charge some sort of relocation fee for moving teams. When the Oakland Raiders NFL team moved to Las Vegas in 2020, they paid $378m to relocate.