Fisher claims A’s not profitable, will lose $40M this year originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
As the Athletics seek a relocation from Oakland to Las Vegas, owner John Fisher says he’s set to lose a staggering amount of money during the 2023 MLB season.
Fisher told the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s Mick Akers the A’s aren’t profitable and will lose $40 million this year, noting the franchise has lost $175 million in “recent years” that included the coronavirus pandemic.
“Which is one of the reasons why it is so important to us to have a new stadium,” Fisher told Akers. “It can help the team get to break-even, but even more importantly, it can help drive the kinds of decisions we want to make around payroll for retaining our young players and signing new players and, hopefully, getting back to a World Series, which we did in 1989, a game that I was at, the earthquake series against the Giants, when Candlestick Park shook.
“We want to bring the A’s back to winning the World Series — without the earthquake.”
Fisher’s comments come as the A’s boast MLB’s lowest 26-man payroll ($30.5 million) and overall payroll ($58.7 million), per Spotrac, with a league-worst 36-90 record in 2023. Additionally, MLB’s last collective bargaining agreement made the A’s eligible for the league’s revenue-sharing distribution, from which the team will receive a 50-percent share in 2023. In 2022, the A’s received a 25-percent share of $9 million, per Forbes.
A’s fans have become used to the team’s fire sales in recent years, as players who proved their worth in Oakland are either traded to other teams or sign for what they deserve in free agency. And so far this season, an ESPN report states the A’s have MLB’s lowest average attendance at 10,552 per game.
But Fisher, whose net worth was estimated to be $2.4 billion by Forbes in 2022, said the A’s low payroll and subsequent demise after making the MLB playoffs six times from 2012-2020 hasn’t been intentional as the team approaches a move to Vegas.
“Nothing could be further from the truth,” Fisher said when Akers asked if the A’s have deliberately tanked over the last two seasons to drive down attendance and further justify a relocation. “The A’s this year will lose $40 million with a $60 million payroll. And the losses that the ownership has had here with this team over the last several years have been very significant. We have done everything we can to try and build ourselves back up to being a highly competitive team again.”
Fisher said the A’s have been in a rebuilding period, specifically comparing the team to Cleveland. Cleveland’s team performed significantly better in the seasons after they moved into Jacobs Field, Fisher told Akers, adding, “That’s just indicative of the likes of what happens.”
And with Fisher confirming to Akers the A’s officially have submitted their relocation application to MLB, the owner is hoping increased revenue in Las Vegas can help the team avoid such problems in the future.
“Teams who have great players lose those players,” Fisher continued. “When that happens, you rebuild, and you rebuild with younger players. They start out in the minors and they move up to be, you hope, great players. And they build themselves up to be great players in the future. …
“It’s just a process all teams go through, and small-market teams like the A’s often go through them more frequently, because it’s harder to hold on your best players.”