Oakland Athletics Relocation Options: Four Cities the A's Could Move To

A year on after losing the Raiders to Las Vegas, Oakland could soon bid goodbye to the Athletics after the MLB gave the franchise its blessing to begin exploring options for relocation.

The A's have played in Oakland, California, since 1968, but on Tuesday owner John Fisher indicated the franchise's stay in the city could be coming to an end.

"The future success of the A's depends on a new ballpark," he said in a statement. "Oakland is a great baseball town, and we will continue to pursue our waterfront ballpark project. We will also follow MLB's direction to explore other markets."

The A's, who are the last professional franchise left in Oakland after the NBA's Golden State Warriors moved to San Francisco two years ago, have looked to move out of the 55-year-old RingCentral Coliseum and build a new ballpark in downtown Oakland at the Howard Terminal site.

The plans, however, have stalled for years and the venue would not open before 2027, even should plans be approved by Oakland's City Council this summer. The A's had originally hoped to inaugurate the facility by 2023, a year before their lease at RingCentral Coliseum is due to run out.

While their decision to explore plans for relocation does not mean the A's will leave Oakland, it will almost certainly put pressure on local authorities to resolve the ongoing impasse.

"We're hopeful that our really exciting plan for a waterfront ballpark that's privately financed will be taken up by the city council," A's president Dave Kaval told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

"I think it's something that is kind of a once-a-generational opportunity to reimagine the waterfront. We're going to continue to pursue that and we're still hopeful that that could get approved, but we have to be realistic about where we are with the timelines."

Here's a look at four possible destinations.

Las Vegas

Over the last few years, Sin City has developed a reputation as the go-to city for franchises looking to establish themselves in a new market. The NHL's Golden Knights paved the way in 2017 and were followed last year by the NFL's Raiders, the Oakland Coliseum's former co-tenant along with the A's. The Raiders play in a glitzy, brand-new facility and it doesn't take a great deal of imagination to picture the A's playing in a state-of-the-art ballpark in the desert.

Playing in a tourist hot-spot such as Vegas should also guaranteed a boost in ticket sales, courtesy of casual fans who may opt to attend individual games. Conversely, would the A's be able to establish a core fan base in Vegas?

The other obvious downside is that relocating to the nation's gambling capital may not be a great optic given baseball's sordid relationship with betting. At the same time, however, that may not be the problem it would have been in the past as the MLB is moving closer to embrace legalized betting.

Oakland Coliseum
A general view of RingCentral Coliseum on August 6, 2020 in Oakland, California. The Oakland Athletics have begun exploring options to relocating away from Oakland. Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Charlotte

The MLB is the only major league currently not represented in Charlotte, which is an established player at national level thanks to the NFL's Carolina Panthers, the NBA's Hornets and the NHL's Carolina Hurricanes—who play in nearby Raleigh. Baseball isn't entirely absent from the landscape, however, with the Triple-A Minor League Baseball's Charlotte Knights playing at Truist Field. The venue is one of the standout ballparks in the minors, but it would be relatively small for an MLB team.

Portland

As is the case with Charlotte, sport is well established in Portland. The NBA's Trail Blazers have been one of the city's most recognizable features over the last five decades, while the MLS' Timbers and the NWSL's Thorns have both enjoyed success. Significantly, relocating to Portland would not disrupt the MLB's geographical balance as the A's would just trek a few hundred miles up the Pacific Coast. The franchise would need a new ballpark, butt a new facility that could seat up to 45,000 fans is expected to open next year.

Portland isn't the biggest of markets, but is bigger than Kansas City and Cincinnati, which currently host MLB teams.

Nashville

Much like Charlotte, Nashville, is an established major league city with the NFL's Tennessee Titans and the NHL's Predators joined last year by Nashville SC in the MLS. The city is a tourist hub and has a strong baseball tradition, dating back to the Nashville Stars, who played in the Negro Leagues between the 1930s and 1950s. Nashville is also home to the Sounds, who compete in Minor League Baseball's Triple-A East. The notable downside is that, so far, there isn't a concrete plan to develop a ballpark, although a few different sites have been mentioned.