The A’s have made their decision and it isn’t Utah

Oakland Athletics pitcher Ross Stripling (36) watches as Cleveland Guardians' Josh Naylor, foreground, scores on a balk during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, March 29, 2024, in Oakland, Calif.
Oakland Athletics pitcher Ross Stripling (36) watches as Cleveland Guardians' Josh Naylor, foreground, scores on a balk during the first inning of a baseball game Friday, March 29, 2024, in Oakland, Calif. | Godofredo A. Vásquez

The Athletics will not be calling South Jordan, Utah, or anywhere along the Wasatch Front home. Even on a temporary basis.

The A’s announced Thursday morning that they will relocate to Sacramento for the 2025-27 seasons, with an option to play there in 2028, ahead of the franchise’s anticipated move to Las Vegas.

“We look forward to making Sutter Health Park our home through our move to Las Vegas,” A’s owner John Fisher said in a statement. “We extend our appreciation to the (Sacramento) Kings and the City of West Sacramento for hosting the A’s while we work to complete our new ballpark in Las Vegas.”

Sutter Health Park, home of Triple-A’s Sacramento River Cats, has 10,000 permanent seats, with the ability to increase capacity of the ballpark to 14,000 when grass outfield seats are included.

The A’s will play there for at least three seasons, while their new ballpark is built on the site once home to Tropicana Las Vegas.

“I’m thrilled to welcome the A’s to Sutter Health Park, where players and fans alike can enjoy a world-class baseball experience and create unforgettable memories,” Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said in a statement. “Today marks the next chapter of professional sports in Sacramento. The passion of our fans is second to none, and this is an incredible opportunity to showcase one of the most dynamic and vibrant markets in the country.”

The A’s, as part of their process of leaving Oakland for Las Vegas, had been considering three options for a temporary home: They could obtain a lease extension to temporarily remain in Oakland, move to Sacramento or move to South Jordan and take up residence in the new Salt Lake Bees ballpark that is currently under construction.

Officials from the Larry H. Miller Company met with A’s executives in January to pitch them on a temporary relocation to Utah, as the Deseret News previously reported. They said the ballpark under construction in South Jordan’s Daybreak development could be expanded to 10,000-12,000 seats for MLB action.

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Construction continues on the new Salt Lake Bees baseball stadium in South Jordan on Thursday, April 4, 2024.

Then, in February, the company announced a plan to invest $3.5 billion in Salt Lake City’s west side power district, which could include a Major League Baseball stadium if Utah gets an expansion team, as the Deseret News reported at the time.

But ESPN reported Wednesday that Sacramento was the clear frontrunner for the A’s temporary stay, and that reporting was made official with Thursday’s announcement.

“On behalf of all of MLB, I want to express my appreciation to West Sacramento, Sutter Health Park, the Kings and the greater Sacramento region for their excitement to host the A’s for interim play, as the A’s new permanent home is built in Las Vegas,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

The A’s have struggled with attendance in Oakland for years, ranking dead last in MLB in 2023 with an average of 10,276 fans, per Front Office Sports.

The move to Sacramento allows for their existing fan base to follow them more easily than a move to Utah would have, and the River Cats have averaged a little over 4,000 fans per game in recent years, per Ballpark Digest.

The Larry H. Miller Company released the following statement Thursday about the agreement between Sacramento and the A’s:

“We want to express our gratitude to Major League Baseball and the Athletics for approaching the Larry H. Miller Company about potentially hosting the Athletics in our new ballpark in Downtown Daybreak during their transitionary period. From the beginning, there were economic reasons tied to an existing television contract that favored the Athletics staying in Northern California. We wish the Athletics much success in their home state during this exciting time in their team history.

“Our proven and ready ownership group and broad-based coalition is fully committed to bringing an MLB expansion team to the Power District on Salt Lake City’s west side. We are grateful and encouraged that Utah was viewed as a potential host and solution for the Athletics, and we will continue to demonstrate that we are the ideal MLB expansion market. In the meantime, we are excited to open our new state-of-the-art Bees ballpark in Downtown Daybreak in the spring of 2025.”