A new professional sports league may be looking to move to Sin City, after an announcement was made by Rob Manfred last week, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball. Manfred stated that the league is open to moving to Las Vegas if a team like the Tampa Bay Rays or the Oakland Athletics wanted to make the move. Both teams currently play in stadiums that are outdated, but the host cities are not interested in providing public funding to create new venues for gaming.
The statement by the Commissioner was made at MLB headquarters during the league’s annual meeting last week. Manfred’s comments were first reported by the Chicago Tribune with the Commissioner stating that if the MLB were looking to relocate a team, Las Vegas would be the first city on the list.
The MLB, NFL, NBA and NHL, the four major sports organizations operating in the United States, have long been opposed to operating in Las Vegas, Nevada due to casinos offering sports betting. This opposition has seemingly fell to the wayside as the NFL and NHL have both now decided to move into the city. The NFL will see the Las Vegas Raiders come in to play in 2020 with a new stadium in the works while the NHL will have a new expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights, in operation by next year.
According to the Commissioner, the MLB plans on keeping a close eye as to how well the NHL and NFL teams do in Las Vegas, watching to see if there is a solid fanbase in place to support the franchises. For the MLB to move to Las Vegas, there would be several steps to take. A new stadium would have to be created with a dome, due to the hot summer months. Also to consider would be if the area has enough baseball fans. An MLB team would play more than 80 homes games each season. Las Vegas has only two million individuals in the metro area, so it would have quite a small population when considering locations of the 30 MLB teams.