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A's reach deal to play in Sacramento while waiting for Las Vegas stadium

The Oakland Athletics are headed to Las Vegas by way of Sacramento.

The team has reached an agreement with the City of Sacramento, the A's announced Thursday, and will play there from 2024-2027 with an option to stay for the 2028 season in case of construction delays.

The deal solves one of the significant remaining questions for the A's as they prepare to pull up roots from Oakland and head for the Las Vegas strip, where the team has plans to build a 33,000-seat stadium on the site of the recently closed Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel.

With the Vegas stadium still in the planning stages and bridges burned with the local Oakland government, it was unclear what the A's would do while waiting for construction. Among the options were figuring out a way to remain in Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, getting the San Francisco Giants to share Oracle Park and waiting it all out in Sacramento.

Oakland reportedly offered to bridge the gap with a five-year lease extension earlier this week, though that came with demands, including a $97 million extension fee and requirements that MLB facilitate the sale of the A's to a local ownership group, let Oakland keep the team's name and colors, or give Oakland a "one-year exclusive right to solicit ownership of a future expansion team."

This whole process has not been popular, to say the least. The A's have seen a number of fan protests and by far the worst attendance this season in MLB, with nearly empty stands observing one of the league's worst teams.

Even Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg opined that the A's should remain in Oakland, but as it turns out, the city will host the team for the next few years.

What will the A's look like in Sacramento?

It's sure to be an awkward situation for the A's in Sacramento, which already hosts the Giants' Triple-A affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats. The River Cats' Sutter Health Park holds a capacity of 14,014, which is smaller than MLB's smallest stadium (the Tampa Bay Rays' Tropicana Field) by more than 10,000 seats.

Of course, it's not like the A's have had to worry much about overly full stadiums.

It's difficult to imagine fans in Sacramento turning out for a team planning to leave in a few years, especially if the Athletics' last years in Oakland are any judge. However, the A's have made it quite clear that they're willing to endure some brutal years if it means getting what they want.

It's also hard to see A's owner John Fisher spending much to improve his team and impress Sacramento, though he might start to care once the Vegas move nears and he faces the prospect of trying to attract locals and tourists to see one of the most moribund franchises in baseball.