California is decaying in real-time under the current Democratic leadership, and residents and businesses have been fleeing in droves. Numerous Hollywood types like Mark Wahlberg have left, citing the high taxes, spiking crime, and suffocating regulations imposed on residents and businesses. Red states simply offer more freedom, less government intrusion, lower taxes, less crime, and a generally better quality of life. As beautiful as California is, it simply isn’t worth it to run a business or live there any longer.
Among the industries leaving California, sports teams are some of the toughest to sell. Sports franchises are usually rooted in tradition and steeped in history. Teams like the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys are forever associated with their namesake cities. However, sometimes franchises have to do what is best economically, no matter how much pain it inflicts on the loyal fanbase. After all, at the end of the day, sports franchises are a business like any other and have to make money.
One of the more recent relocations came from the Oakland Raiders, who moved to Las Vegas after the city of Oakland failed to approve financing for a newer, more modern facility. Las Vegas stepped up, and now the Las Vegas Raiders are an NFL franchise. Sin City struck again recently, as Major League Baseball has approved the relocation of another Oakland team to the Red State desert of Nevada. MLB voted on Thursday to approve the relocation of the Oakland A’s, becoming the first MLB team to change cities since 2005, when Montreal lost the Expos to Washington D.C.
The move, however, is still years away from taking place, as Vegas likely won’t have a stadium finished before 2027. It is unclear where the A’s will play for the two seasons in the meantime. The new facility is reportedly being built with a partnership from Bally’s Gaming & Leisure Properties to build a stadium on the Tropicana hotel site along the Las Vegas Strip.
The red state of Nevada approved public financing for a $1.5 billion dollar, 30,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof near the Raiders home of Allegiant Stadium. The A’s will join the Raiders, the NHL’s Golden Knights, and the WNBA’s Aces as professional franchises calling the Vegas Strip home.
It is a sad situation for Oakland, as their sporting history is steeped in tradition with the A’s and Raiders. Some of the best, most memorable teams from the 70s, 80s, and 90s played in Oakland. Unfortunately, being a small market team, the economic structure of Major League Baseball has made it more difficult for small-town teams to compete.
With limited financial resources on hand, having a facility that can attract fans is key, and Oakland and the state of California simply weren’t willing to keep the Raiders or the A’s. Much of the revenue the teams rely on to operate comes from having fans in seats. With subpar facilities in terms of the fan experience, fewer A’s fans were coming to games, leading to flagging attendance and less money to spend on players.
This self-perpetuating cycle ultimately killed the Bay Area team. Oakland finished 50-112 this season and averaged just over 10k fans a game. That simply isn’t a sustainable business model, and the end result will be the Las Vegas A’s. It is a sad time for Oakland sports fans, but economic conditions in California are driving residents and businesses out, and the Oakland A’s are just the latest to flee to a better life in a Red State.
Featured image: By Quintin Soloviev – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=131380571
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