It is no secret that Nevada wants to be in the business of baseball and Las Vegas is clearly the most valuable area for that to happen but relocating the Oakland Athletics doesn’t seem like the home run Dave Kaval likes to pretend it is and expansion isn’t universally seen as feasible, either. There is, however, a path for Las Vegas to become a fantastic baseball destination while also changing the face of Major League Baseball along the way.
MLB as an entity should build a stadium in Las Vegas.
With a no-home-team stadium in Las Vegas, MLB could host every team in the league for a weekend series that might actually draw tourists and fans from around the country. The stadium would be dark except for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday which would eliminate the unrealistic need to sell out a weekday afternoon game in April when tourism and baseball’s interest are both at their lowest. It also reduces drawing fans away from the local minor league team.
Every weekend, the MLB stadium can host two teams for a series which will be nationally broadcast. For both teams, this will count as a road game so neither team sacrifices home-field ticket sales, and home-field advantage can be determined by a simple coin toss prior to each game. This would allow for 26 consecutive weeks of events as opposed to the every-other week structure of a traditional home-field. The schedule could also be opened up to host two series’ a week (a series of day games and a series of night games) during peak tourist weekends such as July 4, Memorial Day, and Labor Day.
An MLB owned stadium could also be home to the All Star game every year and could host minor league championships, spring training exposition games, and international games to broaden the reach and appeal of baseball.
The property could also include a flagship MLB store to sell all 30 teams’ merchandise, a baseball museum, and a flagship Topps store to attract fans of the game year round.
Major League Baseball would be able to build this stadium without any public funds which makes it a slam dunk for politicians and having a rotation of teams would certainly grow tourism on the strip much more than having a home team. Would a Yankees fan be more likely to book a trip to Vegas just to see his team play on a Tuesday night in April or when they’re playing in Las Vegas on a weekend? And with this set-up, you’re pulling from two fan bases every week instead of one and hoping that the local fan base — who has no connection to a relocated team — will complete the sell out.
Under this scenario, there really isn’t any down time for the stadium and a season of sell out games is much more realistic. Plus, it gives MLB a new revenue stream that it can disperse among all 30 teams or use to finance new stadiums for teams so that baseball owners never have to seek public funds again. With the success of a relocated Athletics team wildly speculative and expansion an uncertainty, this could be baseball’s best bet to enter the Las Vegas market, grow the game of baseball, and preserve the integrity of all existing fan bases.
Of course, this all teeters on the Commissioner’s office having any sort of creative thinking ability and there is no evidence that that ability exists.