Two companies picked for A’s Vegas home plans



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Oakland Athletics chooses construction team for new ballpark Image: MLB and Oakland Athletics

The Major League Baseball (MLB) team Oakland A’s have chosen a pair of companies to manage the construction of a new ballpark for the team in Las Vegas (US) following talks that have essentially ended with officials in Oakland, the ‘A’s’ announced recently.

‘cbsnews.com’ stated that Mortensen and McCarthy Building Companies will manage all construction-related activities for a ballpark when the Las Vegas Stadium Authority approves the hiring of the two firms.

The Oakland Athletics are an American professional baseball team based in Oakland, California (US). The Athletics compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League West division. The team plays its home games at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

The 63,000-capacity Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is a multipurpose stadium in Oakland, California, United States, and the home ballpark of the Oakland Athletics of the Major League Baseball (MLB). It is part of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex, with the adjacent Oakland Arena, near Interstate 880.

Mortenson is a Minneapolis (US)-based, top-25 builder, developer and provider of energy and engineering services committed to helping organizations move their strategies forward. Mortenson’s broad portfolio of integrated services ensures that its customers’ investments result in high-performing assets. The result is a turnkey partner, fully invested in the business success of its customers.

St. Louis (US)-based the McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is one of the oldest American-owned construction companies with offices nationally, knowing how to build from early in the design phase through completion is a tradition that will continue as they endeavor to advance the value of their expertise and deliver the highest quality, job-site safety and ultimately, the best final project costs.

‘cbsnews.com’ further stated that no one from the authority immediately responded to a request for information on when the authority might consider that approval.

Oakland ‘A’s’ President Dave Kaval called the two companies the best in their field. The two businesses managed the construction of the 65,000-capacity Allegiant Stadium in Paradise, Nevada for the National Football League (NFL) team Las Vegas Raiders, who were once located in Oakland. The Allegiant Stadium was completed in 2020 following 31 months of construction.

If the Oakland ‘A’s’ leave their hometown, they will join the Raiders and the National Basketball Association (NBA) team Golden State Warriors who left for Las Vegas and San Francisco. The Oaklanders have been working to bring a Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) team to their City.

Nevada may provide $380 million toward the construction of a stadium for the ‘A’s’. But an opposition group called Schools Over Stadiums may block the deal via legal action if necessary.

The group has not filed suit yet.

The Schools Over Stadiums says school children in Nevada are suffering from the largest class sizes in the country and per-pupil spending in Nevada is 48th in the United States.

Stated Alexander Marks, a spokesperson for Schools Over Stadiums, “This is just more of a rushed process.”

Marks said it’s odd that the ‘A’s’ are announcing the construction management firms before providing new renderings for the ballpark or the basic ballpark designs – “I think the release is just a way for the ‘A’s’ and (‘A’s’ owner) John Fisher to make it look like they’re moving forward without really moving forward.”

He thinks it’s putting the cart before the horse.

The Oakland ‘A’s’ lease on the RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland is up next year and Kaval said previously that the stadium’s useful life is up.

The Major League Baseball has yet to approve the ‘A’s’ move to Las Vegas.

New York (US)-based the Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization. One of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, the MLB comprises 30 teams, divided equally between the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), with 29 in the United States and 1 in Canada.
 

Relocation Application

‘LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL’ stated that the Oakland Athletics have officially submitted their Las Vegas relocation application to Major League Baseball, and team owner John Fisher is breaking his silence on the years-long stadium saga.

Fisher breaks down on what went wrong in Oakland, his excitement about a future in Las Vegas, what he makes of the “sell the team” chants by ‘A’s’ fans, and whether the end of “Moneyball” will start with the team’s Nevada move.

‘Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game’ is a book by Michael Lewis, published in 2003, about the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its General Manager Billy Beane. Its focus is the team’s analytical, evidence-based, sabermetrics (detailed statistical analysis of baseball data) approach to assembling a competitive baseball team despite Oakland’s small budget.
 

Relocation Application

Informed Fisher, “We just recently submitted our relocation application. The MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred has established a relocation committee that is going to review that, and it will then make its way to the other committees that will be reviewing it, and then to the full group of owners to vote on it. This is not new. Since we started looking at Las Vegas, we have been working closely with the Commissioner and our fellow owners to make sure people were really up to speed on where things were on the timeline of our project in Las Vegas. My hope is that this will get accomplished sometime soon, but I don’t want to put a timeline on that, because that timeline is really governed by the Commissioner and by our fellow owners.”

‘LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL’ further stated that Fisher is not known to be a media savvy person – “The reason that I haven’t been as outwardly involved in media to date is that I really wanted the people running the team, Dave Kaval on the business side and Billy Beane and David Forst and others on the baseball side, to be the voice of the team. They’re the ones that do most of the work here and create the teams and the product that’s out on the field and that we use for creating a great experience for our fans. It was important to me that they be front and center with the ‘A’s’, as opposed to having it be me. That obviously changes when we’re dealing with a truly momentous decision around relocating the franchise from one State to another. I feel that it’s important that the people hear from me, because at the end of the day that decision is mine. That decision needs to be supported by the owners themselves, but in the middle of an application for relocation is a decision that I chose to make. So, I think it’s really important that people hear from me about why that decision was made and what it means.”

He affirmed that he has not considered selling the team – “I’ve now owned the team with my partner Lew Wolff, it’s shocking really how time flies, but since 2005. Our goal since then has been to find a new home and build a new home for our team. Long-term, I think we’ve understood, and looking at the great success stories of new ballparks throughout baseball, I think all but four ballparks in baseball are new since the early ’80s. Led by [Baltimore’s] 45,971-capacity Oriole Park at Camden Yards, going through the great facility Atlanta has built. It’s been clear to us that we need a new home, but it’s taken us a long time. We’re super excited about where we are today with the new stadium we’re going to build, which I think is going to be iconic for the Strip. We think it’s going to be great for the community, and which we think is going to be great for not only the ‘A’s’ and our fans, but for all of baseball and really of sports.”
 

New Home

He added, “The whole reason that we’re building a new stadium is so we can have not just a competitive team, but, we hope, a team that can have the kind of success, for example, that the Golden Knights have had, winning the Stanley Cup in six years. If we can win the World Series within our first six years, that would be an incredible goal to have. That is why we are building a new stadium, so that we can have a team on the field that can win the World Series. Also a team that is going to be made up of players, some of them young, having come up through our system with the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) team [Las Vegas] Aviators, players that will be recognized by our fans who have gone and watched them play when they were 18, 19, 20 years old, and up to free agents. The ‘A’s’ have had a more challenging time signing free agents because we haven’t had the revenues to support a payroll to do that. We expect that being in a new stadium, being in Las Vegas is going to change all of that. Our goal is to win and win with a team people love to watch.”

“The building of a mostly privately-financed stadium – my family will invest in excess of a billion dollars in this project and in this stadium – will be the largest amount contributed by a baseball team owner of any stadium built to date. We’re super excited about the public-private partnership that has been created by the funding from the State and the (Clark) County supporting this project. The stadium will be part of the Stadium Authority, just like the Raiders, just like Allegiant (Stadium) is.”
 

Player Payroll

He further informed, “The payroll itself will be funded by the operations of the team itself, which is everything from selling tickets, sponsorships and naming rights, concessions, to hats, as well as media and what is provided by (Major League) baseball central funding. We expect that our revenues will be considerably higher in our new ballpark than they have been to date, and that will enable us to have a higher payroll and keep our young talent around, as opposed to sadly seeing them go to other teams, and it will allow us to be out there signing free agents.”
 

Financial Plan

Commented Fisher, “We have a very good financial plan in place. We’ve been working closely with Goldman Sachs, and my family as well, as indicated, is planning to invest a substantial amount.”

The ‘A’s’ are not a profitable organization as Fisher put in, “No. We’ll lose $40 million this year and in previous years, which included COVID when the losses were more significant, but we lost $175 million. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to us to have a new stadium. It can help the team get to break-even, but even more importantly it can help drive the kinds of decisions we want to make around payroll for retaining our young players and signing new players and, hopefully, getting back to a World Series, which we did in 1989, a game that I was at, the Earthquake Series against the San Francisco Giants, when the now closed 69,732-capacity Candlestick Park in San Francisco shook. We want to bring the ‘A’s’ back to winning the World Series – without the earthquake.”

October 17th marks the 33-year anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake that jolted the San Francisco Bay Area in 1989. The catastrophic natural disaster also struck the Oakland-Giants 1989 World Series Game 3, causing the Series to be postponed due to safety concerns and loss of electricity.
 

Rebuilding Period

Fisher stated that the ‘A’s’ this year will lose $40 million with a $60 million payroll – “And the losses that the ownership has had here with this team over the last several years have been very significant. We have done everything we can to try and build ourselves back up to being a highly competitive team again. But all teams go through a rebuilding period. If you look at the MLB teams Houston Astros and the Cleveland Guardians. When you look at Cleveland before they moved into the Jacobs Field, in I think 1994, they finished last, second-to-last or third-to-last for like the previous 10 years. From 1995 through 2001 they finished first six of those years. That’s just indicative of the likes of what happens. Teams who have great players lose those players. When that happens you rebuild, and you rebuild with younger players. They start out in the minors and they move up to be, you hope, great players. And they build themselves up to be great players in the future. Houston, same thing. In 2012, the ‘A’s’ dominated the Astros, but for the last eight-plus years the Astros have been an almost unbeatable team. It’s just a process all teams go through, and small-market teams like the ‘A’s’ often go through them more frequently, because it’s harder to hold on your best players.”

The Raiders stayed at the Oakland Coliseum after their approval to go to Las Vegas, but the question of what will happen in Oakland going forward is obviously something that the community will take up as well.
 

Passionate Fans

Remarked Fisher, “We have tremendously passionate fans in Oakland. And while our attendance this year has definitely been heavily impacted by all the relocation efforts and by the fact that the team has had an extremely difficult season, in baseball you start out in the Spring and there is this incredible amount of hope and rebirth. And every team goes into the first game of the season, following Spring training, all tied for first. We are excited about our young players, all of who have been seen by our soon-to-be fans at the Las Vegas Ballpark, playing for the Aviators. That’s a really exciting opportunity for us, is for families to be able to follow their favorite player when they’re a minor leaguer and see them go 20 minutes away to the new stadium and play for the ‘A’s’ on the Strip.”

He summed up by stating, “I am so focused on finding one home, which is a home for our team, that I will say that I have looked at different places in the community, and I think it’s a great place to live and my plan is to spend a lot of time out there. I think a key to our success, just as the success of the Golden Knights and the Raiders and some of the other successful things in Vegas, is to really connect with the community and really be seen as part of the community. That is something that is really important to me and my family, is to feel really connected to the community and to build friendships there. But also to do things to support the community. The ‘A’s’ have been a really big supporter of our community in Oakland and the East Bay, supporting Little League teams, hospitals, literacy programs, and our expectation in Las Vegas is to be very supportive and do what we can, so people understand that the team is a part of the community and does what it can to make the place a better place to live for everyone.”

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