Why A's Las Vegas relocation isn't final even if MLB owners approve it

Why A's Las Vegas relocation isn't final even if MLB owners approve it originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

As MLB's annual owners meetings begin Tuesday, a vote on the Athletics' relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas is at the top of their to-do list.

But even though owners reportedly are expected to approve the move, the relocation isn't set in stone.

David Samson, the former president of the Florida Marlins and Montreal Expos who was involved with the relocation process for both teams, recently explained why that's the case in an interview with Jason Mastrodonato of the San Jose Mercury News.

“It’s the next step,” Samson told Mastrodonato. “It’s a step. It’s not the final step. Even with a relocation approval vote, that doesn’t mean Oakland is losing its team.

“What they will approve is for the A’s to relocate to Las Vegas. But that’s not baseball approving the finished documents.”

The A's need 75 percent of MLB owners to approve the move in a vote expected to take place Thursday.

While it's a major step in the process for A's owner John Fisher, the franchise still will have plenty to do after the fact, per Mastrodonato, including approval of a stadium operating agreement and a non-relocation agreement with Las Vegas, a construction agreement, a private financing plan and new renderings for the proposed stadium after the originals were tossed out.

“These are not all five-page agreements; these are hundreds of pages,” Samson told Mastrodonato. “There has to be another stage where baseball will approve all these documents. … John Fisher can’t just stand up and say, ‘We’re playing here.’ ”

Additionally, the A's lease to play at Oakland Coliseum expires after the 2024 MLB season, so the team will need to find a new place to play unless their agreement is renewed. Oakland mayor Sheng Thao has stated extending the lease could come with stipulations, however, as the city seeks guarantee of a future expansion team and that the A's name would stay in the Bay.

Meanwhile, Nevada teachers are doing all they can to stop the A's from receiving public funding approved by the state legislature this summer to help build their new ballpark in Las Vegas. Schools over Stadiums is attempting to put the $380 million in public funding on the November 2024 election ballot, hoping Nevada residents redirect that money away from the potential stadium.

After a season of reverse boycotts and plenty of uncertainty for A's fans, much hinges on this week's vote. But it isn't necessarily the end of the road for those who hope to see the team stay in Oakland.