A's owner Fisher files application to relocate, says he's not selling team
Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has pushed the franchise one step closer to Las Vegas by officially filing to relocate the team.
"We just recently submitted our relocation application," Fisher told Mick Akers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "The commissioner has established a relocation committee that is going to review that, and it will then make its way to the other committees that will be reviewing it, and then to the full group of owners to vote on it."
Fisher couldn't provide a timeline for the committee to reach a decision but noted that the team has been "working closely" with commissioner Rob Manfred to move the process along.
"My hope is that this will get accomplished sometime soon, but I don't want to put a timeline on that, because that timeline is really governed by the commissioner and by our fellow owners," he said.
MLB's relocation committee includes eight of the 30 owners and is chaired by Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Once the committee reviews the application and gives Manfred its recommendation, owners will vote on the move; Fisher requires 75% of the vote for the relocation to proceed.
Should it be approved, it would mark the third time that the Athletics have relocated, which would be an MLB record. The team began in 1901 as the Philadelphia Athletics before moving to Kansas City in 1954 and finally to Oakland in 1968.
The A's have been searching for a new home either in Oakland or elsewhere for several years. Playing in the aging Oakland Coliseum has taken a considerable toll on the franchise's finances, Fisher noted. He claimed the A's have been unprofitable for some time and will lose $40 million this year.
Fisher firmly turned his sights to Las Vegas when negotiations for a downtown Oakland ballpark stalled again earlier this year. In June, Nevada state lawmakers approved a bill to give the team $380 million in public funds for a stadium on the Las Vegas strip. The A's lease at the Oakland Coliseum expires after next season, and they'll need a temporary home for at least three years before the Las Vegas ballpark is ready in 2028.
A's fans in the Bay Area are doing their best to challenge the move. They staged a "reverse boycott" earlier this year, and chants of "sell the team" have become common among the sparse Coliseum crowds. But whatever slim chance the team has of remaining in Oakland is likely tied to Fisher selling his controlling interest, something the billionaire confirmed is not happening.
"I have not considered selling the team," Fisher said. "I've now owned the team with my partner Lew Wolff (now the A's Chairman Emeritus), it's shocking really how the time flies, but since 2005. Our goal since then has been to find a new home and build a new home for our team."