Opinion: A’s relocating to Las Vegas holds benefits for the franchise

The sunsets at RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. as the Oakland A's take on the Kansas City Royals on Friday, June 11, 2021 (Jesús Cano/The Collegian)

The city of Oakland is on the verge of losing its third professional sports team in less than five years.

The Golden State Warriors settled across the bay in San Francisco and the Raiders went all-in on Las Vegas. Soon, the Oakland Athletics could also take a gamble on Southern Nevada.

The MLB commissioner Rob Manfred forced the A’s to explore other markets after deeming RingCentral Coliseum not suitable for the organization’s future.

Dark glooms hover over A’s fans after the people of Oakland realized the team’s departure is probable. It is already hard being an A’s fan after the team’s disappointing playoff chase this season.

But as hard as it may be to accept, this is OK for A’s fans.

It wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if the plans to remain in Oakland fail.

Las Vegas is a suitable location for sports. The Vegas Golden Knights made a playoff run to the Stanley Cup in its inaugural season, sparking the talks of teams following success in Sin City. The Raiders joined after. While the football team only being in the city for two months, similar success should follow too.

It’s also a better spot for opposing fans to come visit. Oakland isn’t a top tourist location like New York, Los Angeles and San Diego. 

Although Oakland may have the upper hand when it comes to the metropolitan area, the addition of having a baseball team can add to the Vegas experience.

The Las Vegas Aviators’, the Athletics’ Triple-A affiliate, attendance numbers are knocking it outta the park. The team’s average attendance is 9,299 per game, which led all of minor league baseball in 2019, according to baseballdigest.com.

Oakland A’s vice president baseball manager Billy Beane, has high praise for Las Vegas.

“The facilities here are better than what we have in Oakland,” Beane said to 8 NOW Las Vegas. “When our guys get sent down to triple-A, they’re actually going up in terms of playing the stadium.”

The fans don’t show up in Oakland.

The A’s, who have been in Oakland since 1968, struggled with attendance in 2021, a season where fans were eager to come back to the stands.

According to Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News, the A’s averaged 20,521 attendance in 2019. They have had more than 20,000 fans in attendance just five times this season.

On the same night, there was a playoff push for the wildcard spot against the Seattle Mariners, the Fresno Grizzlies drew more fans. 

A lot of factors are in play: A’s tickets seeing a small spike in prices, on-site parking being $30 and the big issue, and the stained concrete walls and consistent sewage leaking at the Coliseum. That just makes casual or non-baseball fans look the other way. Especially when San Francisco’s Oracle Park is across the Bay. It also doesn’t help when the A’s can’t keep fan favorites because of their paper-thin payroll.

The Oakland A’s host the Boston Red Sox on Friday, July 2, 2021 at RingCentral Coliseum. This game drew an attendance of 32,304, one of the season’s highest attended games. (Jesús Cano/The Collegian)

But the A’s aren’t making it easy on fans to come out either, as season ticket holders were informed that their ticket prices for next season would double.

Even if the A’s do get a new stadium at Howard Terminal, the fan attendance is an issue because the location of the new ballpark doesn’t have the best access to a freeway. On the other hand, the Coliseum is right off California I-880 and has an overpass that is connected to the Coliseum BART(Bay Area Rapid Transit) station.

But A’s fans will tell you, that’s OK. 

Even if the team heads to Las Vegas, or any other location, that is OK too.

The end is near in Oakland. The once concrete jungle that housed the Raiders and the A’s will one day come crashing down and thunderous echoes of the structure will infiltrate the surrounding areas. 

That echo is the sound of Oakland’s “Golden Era” ending.

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