What economic experts predict for the Athletics' upcoming move to Las Vegas – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

As the Athletics prepare to leave Oakland and temporarily arrive in Sacramento while their new baseball stadium is built on the Las Vegas Strip, many economic experts have predicted whether the new stadium will even be built.

In an exclusive interview, John Shea of ​​the San Francisco Chronicle interviewed several experts, many of whom believe that A's owner John Fisher will have a difficult time raising the funds needed for the new Las Vegas baseball stadium, which is scheduled to open for the start of the 2028 MLB season.

Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist and professor at Smith College in Massachusetts, expressed skepticism that Fisher could handle the temporary move to Sacramento and the subsequent move to Nevada.

“I don't think this is a promising project at all. The A's have enormous challenges ahead of them,” Zimbalist told Shea. “Fisher hasn't endeared himself to anyone in this process. If they actually go through with the plan to play three years in Sacramento, it's going to be a big economic blow to him as well. I think that's tough. If I had to make a prediction, I'd say it's not going to happen in Las Vegas.”

Zimbalist explained to Shea that given the way modern baseball stadiums are financed, it would be a challenge for someone like Fisher to raise the necessary funds, even if he had to dig deep into his family's pockets.

“I think that's going to be difficult,” Zimbalist told Shea. “Today, modern stadiums are financed through collateral and real estate deals where the owner contributes a certain amount of money to the stadium and in return receives development rights around the stadium, sometimes well below the market value of the land, as well as tax abatements to encourage investment that is made for mixed-use development around the stadium.”

“The problem in Las Vegas is that there is no land to build on the Strip and they don't know where to build parking. It's a very congested area. I can't imagine how that's going to happen on this site.”

Still, there are many other people who believe Fisher will have enough funds to finance the construction of his $1.5 billion stadium, in addition to the $380 million he would receive from the state of Nevada. Former A's owner Lew Wolff told Shea that he sees no problems with Fisher and the new stadium project.

“John would not undertake any activity that he could not afford financially and that he did not feel like doing,” Wolff told Shea. “I have been associated with John and his family for decades and have never seen an endeavor that they have undertaken that they were not committed to and able to execute.”

Oakland fans have been expressing their displeasure with Fisher's regime for many years, with recent actions including a reverse boycott of an A's home game and signs and T-shirts calling for the team to be sold.

After a series of failed negotiations with the city of Oakland earlier this year, Fisher announced that the team would leave the Coliseum after the 2024 season to play three seasons at Dignity Health Park in West Sacramento while Las Vegas Ballpark is built.