Oakland A’s explore playing in Utah before Las Vegas stadium is ready


Could the Oakland A’s temporarily become the Utah U’s?

The Athletics, who are searching for a stadium that will house them after their lease with the Oakland Coliseum runs out following the 2024 season and before their new ballpark in Las Vegas opens in 2028 (they hope), are conducting a stadium tour that has taken them more than 700 miles away.

A’s leadership met with Steve Starks, the CEO of the company that built Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City, on Thursday, a mere 11-hour car trip from A’s fans in Oakland.

Smith’s Ballpark plays host to the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees, a team that is planning to move into a new ballpark in nearby South Jordan in 2025.

Fans in the outfield bleachers display homemade signs critical of the MLB Commissioner and Oakland Athletics ownership and Oakland Athletics infielder Zack Gelof (20) and outfielder Brent Rooker (25) stand on the field during the eighth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
The A’s lease in Oakland ends after the 2024 season. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

According to Starks, the A’s are interested in taking up temporary residence in the new ballpark, which would force the Bees to remain at Smith’s for three extra seasons.

“We hosted team officials on Thursday, and demonstrated we can accommodate their ballpark needs,” a statement from the Larry H. Miller Company read. “Our organization and the state are excited and able to welcome the Athletics until their new stadium in Las Vegas is completed.”

The new ballpark is expected to hold 7,500 fans.

The A's averaged fewer than 11,000 fans in 2023.
The A’s averaged fewer than 11,000 fans in 2023. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

As putrid as the attendance has been at the Coliseum since A’s ownership refused to work toward cleaning up the park and declined to put a team with any hope of winning on the field, the A’s still drew an average of 10,276 fans at home games last season.

Led by owner John Fisher, the A’s have appeared determined to leave Oakland and have been searching for detours along the way to Vegas.

Also included in the stadium tour has been Sacramento’s Sutter Health Park, home of the Triple-A River Cats.

A’s team president Dave Kaval told the Nevada Independent in August that other options include a return to the Coliseum, sharing Oracle Park with the Giants and Las Vegas Ballpark, where the Triple-A Aviators play.

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