The MLB’s Oakland Athletics are the latest Pro Sports team to seemingly be looking to relocate from their current hometown. They wouldn’t be the first Oakland team to do so. As both the NBA’s Golden State Warriors (from Oakland to San Francisco) and the NFL’s Oakland Raiders (now Las Vegas Raiders), both moved within the last few seasons.
With their time coming to an end (most likely), at the end of their contract with the city in 2024. Most have the top new city being Las Vegas. But I don’t see that as the best option overall. Also as mentioned before, one Oakland team already moved there, (Raiders). So instead of them being a “copycat“, here are 3 options besides Las Vegas, that would be good for the A’s to call their new home.
Why Relocation Is A Good Idea
Before I get into the Cities they should consider, let’s get into why it’s a good idea for the A’s to move. The A’s haven’t been at the top of attendance in the MLB for a while, but this past season it reached a new low. They averaged under 10,000 fans per game (9,849). They also garnered the lowest total attendance in a season (787,902) since the 2004 Montreal Expos (748,500).
Meeting the bottom of the barrel attendance-wise, was partly due to the fact that they traded their four best players before the season was even a few games in. 3x Gold Glove 3B Matt Chapman(Blue Jays), 2x Gold Glove 1B Matt Olson(Braves), 1x All-Star SP Chris Bassitt(Mets), and SP Sean Manaea(Padres). Because the owner seems to either 1) be too cheap or 2) doesn’t have the money to pay them what they deserve. They all were traded for prospects. Some highly-touted and able to jump to Majors right away, while others need some time.
So when you don’t have “Star Power” to put on the field which in turn sells tickets, then you are gonna have a tough time. No “Star Power” and being in full on rebuild mode, makes for the perfect situation for relocation.
With that being said, here are my 3 options for the A’s. Along with some prospective new team names.
Raleigh/Fayetteville, North Carolina
North Carolina is more of a College sports state (UNC, NC State, Duke). But they do have the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, who aren’t doing so hot this season. And the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes. But they would seemingly welcome another pro team. The state is home to a baseball team (minor league), the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay Rays AAA affiliate). The Bulls had a top 15 attendance total out of all Minor League teams (Single A to Triple A). Which shows that the people of North Carolina are baseball people.
Would the “Tar Heel State” want a team that is in rebuild mode? Maybe not. But the cities of Raleigh/Fayetteville may be interested. Both cities are just a two and a half hour drive from Charlotte, where the Panthers play. And just over two hours from Durham, where the Bulls play. So even if the people of Raleigh and Fayetteville aren’t that big of sports spectators. The people in the cities that are, are only a hop skip and a jump away from where the A’s would be playing. That would hopefully mean a solid spectatorship from the start.
Possible names: Raleigh Oaks, Fayetteville Airmen, Raleigh Wood Ducks.
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Staying on the East Coast with my second option. Virginia is 1 of 24 states without a Professional Sports Team. At least not one within the “Big 4” leagues (NHL, MLB, NBA, NFL). It is the 12th most populous state(8.65 million people). I would have to say at least 85% of the baseball fans in the state are Nationals fans by association/proximity. After trading a generational talent in Juan Soto, the Nationals aren’t looking too great either. So fans might not love having to choose between two rebuilding teams to root for.
But if the A’s were to choose the “tourist city” of Virginia Beach, it would probably make the decision much easier for prospective fans. It sits at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. You could make a weekend out of a trip to the ballpark much easier than in some other cities. With the attractions, and sights/beaches to pair with taking in America’s pastime.
Possible names: Virginia Beach Maritimers, Chesapeake Bay Crabs, Virginia Beach Oysters, Chesapeake Bay A’s.
Last but not least, Portland, Oregon. Home to the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the MLS’ Portland Timbers. This wouldn’t be a far move for the A’s, staying on the West Coast, only a couple hour flight, or a 9 hour car ride. The Seattle Mariners may be the closer team, if this were to happen, being only a couple hour drive instead of flight. And they may be the better team, having just reached the playoffs for the first time in 21 seasons.
With over 640,000 people, there’s probably some “transplants” (people not originally from there), that would be happy to at least try and be a fan of a new team. Albeit a young rebuilding team, still a new team.
Possible names: Portland A’s, Portland Tree Frogs, Portland Pacific’s
I see all 3 of these options being better in the long run and from the start than Vegas overall.