Man­fred OK with team in Las Ve­gas

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - MLB - By Joe Knowles Chicago Tribune

NEW YORK — Ma­jor League Base­ball­would be open to hav­ing a team in Las Ve­gas, Com­mis­sioner Rob Man­fred said Thurs­day.

Witht­woex­ist­ing fran­chises— the Oakland A’s and the Tampa Bay Rays — strug­gling to se­cure fi­nanc­ing for new sta­di­ums, the op­tion of re­lo­cat­ing a team to Las Ve­gas is very much on the ta­ble.

“If we were look­ing at re­lo­ca­tion,” Man­fred said, “Las Ve­gas would be on the list.”

The NHL and the NFL are mov­ing into the na­tion’s gam­mea­sure bling cap­i­tal, break­ing a bar­rier— and tap­ping into a mar­ket — that hadn’t been pen­e­trated by pro­fes­sional sports.

“Those are two big moves,” Man­fred said dur­ing an an­nual meet­ing with a group of sports ed­i­tors at league head­quar­ters. “We’ll be watch­ing that care­fully.”

Man­fred didn’t rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of an ex­pan­sion fran­chise in Las Ve­gas but added that “un­til the Tampa Bay and Oakland sit­u­a­tions are set­tled, I can’t see talk­ing about ex­pan­sion.”

TheRays’ chances of stay­ing in the Tampa Bay area were bol­stered slightly this week when a in the Florida Se­nate that­would­have barred­pro­teams fro­mus­ing­pub­lic­money­failed to pass. With­out some sort of pub­lic fund­ing, it’s doubt­ful Rays own­er­ship could raise enough pri­vate cap­i­tal to ren­o­vate or re­place Trop­i­cana Field.

Man­fred also ac­knowl­edged the Mi­ami Mar­lins were for sale andthat a group­head­ed­byDerek Jeter and Jeb Bush­was “among a group of ap­peal­ing bid­ders.”

An owner with strong Florida roots would be de­sir­able, Man­fred said. Bush is the former gov­er­nor and a long­time res­i­dent of the state. Jeter would bring star power aswell as di­ver­sity.

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