When the Oakland A's officially move to Las Vegas, it will become the best sports town in America.
I realize the popular thing right now isn't to advocate for the departure of the A's, especially after the fans' successful "reverse boycott" this summer. This statement actually has nothing to do with Oakland, which is a great and vibrant city, or the Athletics' fans.
It also has nothing to do with their owner, John J. Fisher, who was born into hyper-wealth as the heir to a fortune from his parents starting Gap Inc. It's not about how — despite his net worth of roughly $2.5 billion, and the Oakland franchise increasing roughly six to seven times its value since he purchased it — the A's still maintain an embarrassingly low payroll that ranks at the bottom of Major League Baseball.
We're not even going to talk about how Fisher had to joke to employees of the A's organization that he "actually existed," because he is so rarely seen or heard from.
Nope. Instead, the point to be made here is about how Las Vegas is simmering to become the best sports destination in the country and that adding a baseball team to the city will only fulfill that promise.
Viva Las Vegas: The New No. 1 Sports Town
With public funding officially approved for a new stadium for the A's in Las Vegas, which is estimated to be completed around 2027 or 2028, it's all just a formality now.
Yes, there are some hurdles — such as the fact that if the team moves into town earlier, before its new stadium is completed, it could play at the current home of its minor league affiliate, the Las Vegas Aviators. The Aviators don't have a dome. Baseball, as we know, is played in the summer, and a quick look at the mid-July forecast in Las Vegas has temperatures between 105 and 115 degrees. That's not exactly ideal without air conditioning, so you probably need to figure something out there.
But these are all just minor details.
What about all of the issues of major importance? Vegas has those covered.
You want to go see your favorite team play? Why not take a trip with your buddies when they have a quick, three-game weekend swing in Vegas? There are incredible hotel accommodations with tons of direct flights from almost anywhere in the U.S. It also has some of the best entertainment, restaurants and clubs in the country. And the fact that Vegas has no open-container laws or required shutdown time for alcohol? Sign me up. Anyone who has ever stayed for an extra-inning game when beer sales stop at the end of the seventh knows exactly what I am talking about!
Plus, Las Vegas remains the hub of sports betting, and you can place numerous bets on the game without the hassle of or need for mobile betting apps or concerns about state regulations. Not a bad way for the A's to make some money with affiliations and partnerships.
These factors seem to be working out for the Vegas Golden Knights. They have incredible attendance, a pregame theatrical show that compares well to other performance venues across town, — and, oh yeah, they just won the Stanley Cup. Not a bad city to have a parade in.
Success in the city doesn't stop there. The Las Vegas Aces won the WNBA title last year, have the reigning MVP A'Ja Wilson on their team, and are currently a league-best 17-2. I personally went to a WNBA finals game in Vegas last year, and let me tell you: If every sporting event took place in a casino and allowed you to take in outside beverages, I would attend even more of them. It was epic.
As for the Raiders? Well, they have capitalized on all of the ambiance Vegas has to offer a sports town. Tickets are so sought-after that they are the most expensive in the entire NFL. It's not surprising that Tom Brady wanted a slice of the ownership pie.
Adding a baseball organization to the mix, especially for the down time between hockey season and the NFL, is an absolute no-brainer.
Plus, you throw in the fact that Nevada has no individual state income tax or corporate income tax, and suddenly a team such as the Oakland A's — which constantly find themselves on the cheaper end of spending in a league without a salary cap — get more bang for their buck. With more value to each dollar, the A's can compete by enticing better free agents at more tax-friendly levels to the players and the team.
A baseball team in Las Vegas will create an incredible experience for fans and add to the already-fantastic sports landscape that is the city of Las Vegas. A bachelor party in Las Vegas synced up to see my favorite MLB team and wedged somewhere in between time at the pool, casino and golf course? Sign. Me. Up.
At this point, you might be saying that all Vegas is missing is an NBA team. Well, if LeBron James has his way, he might be the one to bring it to the desert once his playing days are over. We'll just have to see.
By the time that happens, it will already be the best sports city in America, and an NBA franchise would only be icing on the cake.
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