Oakland Athletics Move to Las Vegas Needs More Cash

From stadium renderings that were mocked, to major questions about where the Oakland A’s would play games once they left Oakland, it has truly been a journey to bring major league baseball to Las Vegas .

Most professional sports teams that have moved cities don’t have as many of these problems. But most teams aren’t viewed as a pariah. The A’s are the worst draw in major North American professional sports, and owner John Fisher is the most hated man in the East Bay.

But Las Vegas is a draw, sports team ownership is desirable, and Fisher is now trying to raise $500 million for stadium financing via a sale of equity in the A’s.

Fisher has hired sports finance company Galatioto Sports Partners to help him raise $500 million and make the proposed stadium in Las Vegas a reality. Public funding in the amount of $380 million was approved last summer by Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo. But Fisher and the team are on the hook for the other $1.12 billion for the planned ballpark.

The A’s are currently valued at $1.2 billion by Forbes (29th in MLB), and that would go up significantly with a move to Las Vegas. So getting investors in the team shouldn’t be that hard. But to get to $500 million, he might have to sell as much as 40% of the team. Fisher has been the majority owner of the team since 2005, and he became the sole owner in 2016 when Lewis Wolff sold his remaining 10% stake to Fisher.

Galatioto Sports Partners’ History

Fisher is one the heirs to the Gap fortune, with his parents creating the clothing brand and retail giant back in 1969. His personal wealth is estimated to be $3 billion, which is enough to maintain his ownership of the team, but not enough to single-handedly finance a new stadium.

When the Walt Disney Co, was looking to move away from professional team ownership, Galatioto was the team they turned to. Major League Baseball’s Anaheim Angels were sold to Arizona businessman Arturo Moreno in 2003, and the NHL’s Anaheim Mighty Ducks were sold in 2005 to telecommunications billionaire Henry Samueli.

Other clients of Galatioto include the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, and San Francisco Giants of MLB; the NBA’s Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors, and Philadelphia 76ers; and the New York Jets and Washington Commanders of the NFL.

It’s not just that Fisher needs to cover the cost beyond the public funds. The state of Nevada will not give him access to those funds until he has detailed plans in place for the private funding portion for the new ballpark. When those funds were first approved, the estimated break ground date was late 2024. That time line is now in jeopardy.

So far this season, the A’s are averaging less than 6,000 fans per home game. No other team in baseball is below a 12,000-fan average. The other four baseball teams in California are averaging more than 36,000 fans per game.

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