MLB Commissioner Says Las Vegas Is a Relocation Option
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said the league would be open to having a team in Las Vegas, per Joe Knowles of the Chicago Tribune.
With the NHL’s decision to allow a team in Las Vegas, it seems as if the rest of the sports world is following suit. The NFL’s Oakland Raiders will move to Vegas in two years as part of another billion-dollar stadium project. Now it looks as if Vegas is a possibility for MLB as well.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said that Las Vegas is a clear option for a team looking to relocate. Expansion has long been on the minds of the league and MLB fans, but Manfred said that the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays will need to sort out their stadium situations before expansion is a viable option.
MLB Commish: “If we were looking at relocation, Las Vegas would be on the list” (via @jknowles31)
— Darren Heitner (@DarrenHeitner) April 20, 2017
If Oakland or Tampa Bay can’t resolve their stadium dilemmas, Vegas now presents an intriguing option. Knowles noted that Manfred didn’t rule out the possibility of an expansion franchise in Vegas, but the league’s priority is sorting out the situations in Oakland and Tampa Bay.
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Tampa Bay’s chances of funding a new stadium were bolstered this week after a bill in the Florida senate prohibiting professional sports teams from using public money to fund stadium projects failed to pass. It was recently reported that Rays owner Stu Sternberg is optimistic about the team’s chances to secure a new stadium site by the end of the season.
Minor League Baseball currently has a Triple-A team, the Las Vegas 51s, in town – but it’s likely that a major league franchise would need to build an entirely new stadium. The 51s have played in their current home, Cashman Field, for 35 seasons, and are now looking to build a new stadium. It’s unclear how the news of a potential MLB franchise’s relocation would impact the 51s.
Oakland’s chances of staying in town are uncertain. With the Raiders moving in two years and the Golden State Warriors’ new stadium project being built across the bay in San Francisco, it’s unclear if the Athletics will be able to secure enough funding to stay in Oakland.
It’s not certain that if the Athletics or Rays relocate that they would move to Vegas, as Montreal continues to emerge as an appealing market. But Manfred’s comments signal a clear commitment to improving conditions for every team, whether that be in their current city or a new one.