Oakland A’s Fans Rally Against Team’s Relocation to Las Vegas

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In a spirited display of hometown love and commitment, a throng of Oakland A’s devotees rallied outside the Oakland Coliseum this past Thursday. Despite their numbers failing to eclipse those inside the stadium, these passionate supporters let their voices, and their point, decidedly permeate the air–they didn’t stand in favor of the A’s plan of relocating to Las Vegas.

Though the gathering’s actual headcount remained unverified by news outfits, rough estimates from onlookers and attendees suggested the crowd spanned from several hundred to 6,000.

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Opening day sales signaled a strong turnout inside the Coliseum as well, with 13,522 fans securing their seats. But, quite notably, a considerable fraction chose to decline their rightful spots inside. Instead, they occupied the southern parking lot of the stadium, their day marked by free tacos, live music, and a sea of T-shirts and banners bearing the bold command: “SELL.”

This call to action targeted John Fisher, the club’s owner, urging him to relinquish control of the Athletics to another proprietor. Simultaneously, a group known as Schools Over Stadiums, a political action committee linked to the Nevada teachers’ union, implacably resisted the suggested $380 million public funds reallocation meant to aid the construction of a new ballpark on the location of the soon-to-be-dismantled Tropicana Las Vegas.

Despite firm opposition from fans and local groups, the confirmation of the A’s Las Vegas relocation was established last November through a unanimous vote by Major League Baseball owners. Meanwhile, Bally’s, the casino hotel-running Rhode Island firm, has repeatedly affirmed their vision to create a new $1.5 billion ballpark on a specific chunk of its property.

The task of building this pristine stadium was assigned by the Athletics to the construction company, Mortenson-McCarthy. They pledged to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority to commence building by April 2025 and have the stadium fully operational for the 2028 baseball season’s start.

However, even after the new stadium’s construction, the A’s will face the decision of which location to call home during the three-year gap period before the stadium’s completion. Without an agreement to prolong their lease on the Oakland Coliseum, they may consider options like Salt Lake City and Sacramento.

Feedback on the rally, especially as seen on an Oakland A’s subreddit, drove home the profound resonance it had for longtime followers. Many confessed their joy, pride, and deep-seated nostalgia; some remarking on the camaraderie born out of shared fandom, others commenting on the sadness of the looming departure.

Earlier, on June 13, a different kind of protest played out as fans exhibited their unbroken ability to rally behind the A’s. They created a “reverse boycott” that saw the stadium’s average nightly attendance dramatically rise from 4k to nearly 27k, showing the team just how much support was available in Oakland.

Thursday’s rally, however heartening and defiant, didn’t mitigate one blunt fact: The A’s lost their opening game to the Cleveland Guardians 8-0. But, perhaps to those swaying to songs and raising a “SELL” banner high in the parking lot, that game wasn’t the real highlight—it was, instead, the invincible spirit of a community that gathered to support their ‘home team’.