John Fisher, The Oakland Athletics Owner, Has Perfected The Stadium Game

Oakland and Las Vegas are vying for the franchise.

Whatever happens with Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics franchise, the outcome will be a case study for sports business management graduate students in how to perfectly play the stadium game. Athletics owner John Fisher and Athletics President Dave Kaval got Oakland and Las Vegas into a bidding war for the baseball business. Oakland and California elected officials are leaving no stone unturned to get nearly a billion dollars of taxpayer’s money to pay for infrastructure for Fisher’s business’s future home. Fisher wants to build a stadium-village on the Oakland waterfront. Fisher and Kaval have gotten a promise of free land in Summerlin, Nevada from The Howard Hughes Corporation. The group owns the Athletics Triple-A minor league affiliate, the Las Vegas Aviators, along with the baseball team’s park. Athletics officials have spent time scouting the Las Vegas market looking at sites in the city including The Strip and in Henderson. Athletics ownership, according to Kaval, also put in an offer on a plot of land in the Las Vegas Valley where it could ballpark.

What Las Vegas political and business leaders have done is simple. They have shown the commissioner, Rob Manfred and the other 29 owners they are very serious about landing a team, whether it is Fisher’s business or an expansion team. But there are so many questions about the viability of a Major League Baseball team in Las Vegas. Is the TV market big enough? Las Vegas pales in comparison to the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose market concerning the amount of TV dollars available. The Oakland market with San Francisco and San Jose is the sixth biggest in the United States. Las Vegas would be among the smallest markets in Major League Baseball. How much corporate support would be available for a Las Vegas team? The stadium game continues in Oakland and in Las Vegas.

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FILE – This rendering provided by the Oakland Athletics and BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group shows an elevated view of the baseball club’s proposed new at Howard Terminal in Oakland, Calif. The Oakland City Council approved preliminary terms for a new $12 billion waterfront ballpark project for the Athletics, Tuesday, July 20, 2021. But it’s not clear if the 6-1 vote will be enough to keep the A’s at the negotiating table instead of leaving the city. (Courtesy of BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group/Oakland Athletics via AP, File)