A’s Departure for Las Vegas Gets Resounding Boo from Oakland Fans


Across Oakland and the East Bay, A’s fans reacted with dismay, anger, and disbelief at the news last month that the town’s longtime baseball team, the Oakland Athletics, plan to relocate to a site near the Las Vegas Strip, abandoning the Oakland Coliseum.

“Having grown up in the Bay Area, I think that it is really sad to see the A’s go,” said business owner and Oakland native Shauna Snowden. “A’s fans deserve better.”

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said she was “blindsided” by the announcement that Oakland would lose its third professional sports team in five years. The deal, negotiated in April by A’s president Dave Kaval to buy a 49-acre site for the team’s new stadium in Vegas, kills the team’s longtime plan to build a $1 billion, privately financed 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark at Howard Terminal, along with multibillion-dollar housing and commercial developments nearby.

It’s not the first team to split town and leave the city’s fans empty in recent years. Known as “The House of Champions,” Oakland was once a trifecta powerhouse holding multiple championships in baseball, football, and basketball—responsible for jump-starting the careers of famous sports figures like Jim Otto, John Madden, and many other sports legends.

“When I was a kid growing up, Oakland was the place to be for sports franchises,” recalled Sunni Khalid, Senior News Editor for KALW.

Now, a far cry from their historic four World Series wins based in Oakland, the A’s, who arrived here in 1968, are negotiating for a new ballpark in the Nevada desert. To fans, the timing just doesn’t seem right.

“It feels like Oakland is setting itself up for a hat trick, unfairly, when Oakland is going through an economic boom,” said Dave Newhouse, a veteran Oakland sportswriter and co-author of the new book Goodbye, Oakland: Winning, Wanderlust, and a Sports Town’s Fight for Survival.

“It’s the only city to lose a team twice… the Raiders and the Warriors left, and now the A’s.”

Mayor Thao argued that the city had negotiated in good faith. “Based on the A’s desire to achieve certainty in 2023, we laid out a detailed and specific plan to bring the project forward to a City Council vote this summer,” said Thao.

“But it has become clear that we are not able to reach acceptable terms and that the A’s are not good partners in the effort.”

Yet according to Andy Dolich, who co-authored Goodbye, Oakland with Newhouse, the plan to build the ballpark at Howard Terminal was fraught from the start.

“What the people of Oakland don’t know is that Oakland’s primary business is its shipping

industry,” said Dolich. “They want to build a waterfront stadium that will protrude into the Oakland actuaries, which means large shipping boats can’t turn around.”

Besides losing another team that wears the Oakland name, Dolich said the A’s departure—like the Raiders and Warriors before them—will impact the city’s economy.

“It also hurts to lose the business the teams bring in,” Dolich said. “The jobs they produce, and the promise, [are] now seemingly dead.

While fans were distressed by the announcement, they also understood that baseball—and professional sports in general—aren’t about community and civic loyalty anymore.

“I think that ownership did not care much for its fans,” said Ricky, a sanitation engineer from Martinez. “I think [A’s owner] John Fisher did everything in his power to make sure the team got worse, to make sure the numbers fit his argument.”

Newhouse agreed that the club’s move to Las Vegas will scar the city.

“Oakland has suffered a lot from how it’s perceived and how it’s been treated by its sport team owners,” said Newhouse.

“Despite producing many sports heroes, Oakland has been so miscast through its horrendous treatment within sports,” he added, and “the fans and community have suffered the most.”