Crony Capitalism

Poll: A Majority of Las Vegas Voters Don't Want To Pay for Athletics' New Stadium

The team's owner, John Fisher, may have overestimated Las Vegas residents' enthusiasm for a new baseball team.


Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher's effort to relocate the baseball team to Las Vegas, Nevada, had seemingly earned him promises of $600 million in public funding for a new stadium from state lawmakers that he didn't need

But if Fisher was hoping for a fresh start in Las Vegas, he might be in for a big surprise.

A poll by Emerson College found that only 32 percent of respondents reacted favorably to their tax money going toward the construction of a new baseball stadium for the Athletics. A formidable 52 percent voted in opposition.

Fisher's campaign to negotiate an extortionate deal with Nevada lawmakers is yet another potential example of taxpayer-subsidized stadiums, an unsavory arrangement that has become so commonplace it's easy to lose count.

The result of this poll, however, is a reminder that not everyone is on board with this corporate welfare. Just last week, taxpayers in Kansas City rejected a sales tax for renovations on a football stadium and the construction of a new baseball stadium, despite those teams' owners threatening to relocate if the initiative failed.

The Athletics ownership, however, has moved past such ultimatums. The team recently relocated to Sacramento, where they will stay at least until the end of the 2027 season.

The decision to leave Oakland came after many years of tension between Fisher and the city. The key catalyst was the infamous Coliseum stadium, which had been home to the Athletics since 1968.

The outdated arena is generally considered among the worst stadiums in pro baseball and has gone through it all: sewage troubles, feral cats, dead mice in soda machines, cat feces, moth infestations, and broken seats. The list goes on.

But attempts to replace it were in vain. Fisher's demand that the public fork over $855 million for infrastructure and development around a new ballpark—Fisher is worth $3.1 billion, by the way—was one of several reasons why he had a falling out with the city.

Many fans have also blamed Fisher's incompetence for the team's failures, and they've made that clear in numbers: Since 2022, the Athletics have recorded the lowest average attendance among all the Major League Baseball teams, with just 10,275 per game in 2023. 

Fisher doesn't have support from all of his players either. Trevor May, a former reliever who retired as an A's player, went on a tear against Fisher during his retirement announcement, calling him a "greedy fuck."

The owner's pursuit of public funds is yet another attempt to make taxpayers bolster a private business and perhaps compensate for his mismanagement. Fisher now wants to take those problems to Las Vegas. The poll by Emerson College suggests that voters are not buying it.