A's owner Fisher hasn't considered selling team despite fan protests originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
Chants of "Sell the team!" have rung out loud and clear during Athletics games this season, but owner John Fisher has no intention of granting the request from Oakland fans.
The 62-year-old addressed the push by the A's faithful during a recent interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Mick Akers, confirming the team officially has submitted its application to MLB for a relocation to Sin City.
"I have not considered selling the team," Fisher told Akers. "I’ve now owned the team with my partner Lew Wolff, 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."
The A's in June received up to $380 million in public funding for a new $1.5 billion ballpark in Las Vegas after Nevada lawmakers approved the team's stadium funding bill, setting the table for a public-private partnership that will bring baseball to the state. The team's pivot to a Las Vegas relocation came after years of negotiations with the City of Oakland for a new stadium at Howard Terminal.
Fisher told Akers his family will invest an excess of $1 billion into the Las Vegas project and predicted the new A's stadium will permit the team to field a more competitive roster.
"The whole reason that we’re building a new stadium is so we can have not just a competitive team, but, we hope, a team that can have the kind of success, for example, that the Golden Knights have had, winning the Stanley Cup in six years," Fisher told Akers. "If we can win the World Series within our first six years, that would be an incredible goal to have.
"That is why we are building a new stadium, so that we can have a team on the field that can win the World Series. Also a team that is going to be made up of players, some of them young, having come up through our system with the [Las Vegas] Aviators, players that will be recognized by our fans who have gone and watched them play when they were 18, 19, 20 years old, and up to free agents."
Fisher said the A's have had a more difficult time signing free agents in Oakland because their revenue there won't support it. In Vegas, the team expects that to change.
"We expect that our revenues will be considerably higher in our new ballpark than they have been to date, and that that will enable us to have a higher payroll and keep our young talent around, as opposed to sadly seeing them go to other teams, and it will allow us to be out there signing free agents," Fisher told Akers.
The A's are working with contractor Mortensen-McCarthy to build the new stadium on at least 9 acres of the 35-acre Tropicana site along The Strip. Mortensen-McCarthy also constructed Allegiant Stadium, the new home of the Las Vegas Raiders, and the NFL team enjoyed a 49-percent increase in value from 2021 to 2022 after moving from Oakland in 2020, per Forbes.
Fisher hopes the same will happen for the A's.
"But the reason that we’ve have been so focused on getting a new stadium built for the last 20 years, while our teams have been exceptional on the field, we have done it with generally low payrolls, compared to the average or higher payrolls in Major League Baseball," Fisher told Akers. "That is not the path that we want to follow moving forward. We want to be able to be in an environment where we can create revenues that can support much higher payrolls for the team and be a team that can compete for the World Series, hopefully every year.
"I got into this sport because I want to win, and building a new ballpark and doing it in Vegas and having it be tremendously successful is going to help us achieve that goal. For ourselves and especially for the fans all over, for the team and the people who work for us."
With the A's relocation application submitted, all that's left in the process is a review by the relocation committee before a vote by MLB owners.