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Las Vegas could be an option for MLB, commisioner says

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on Feb. 3, 2017,

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred on Feb. 3, 2017, in Palm Beach, Fla. Credit: AP / Lynne Sladky

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said baseball would have to consider Las Vegas as a potential destination when the league is ready for expansion or relocation.

“Just on the demographics, it could work based on the size of the city,” Manfred said on Thursday at a meeting with the Associated Press Sports Editors. “We’ve seen two other professional sports teams go there.”

The NFL approved the Oakland Raiders’ move to Las Vegas in March. The team will open a $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas in 2020. The NHL added an expansion team – the Vegas Golden Knights – that will begin play next season.

“It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the NHL and NFL being there,” Manfred said. “That’s two big moves in a relatively short period of time. We’re going to watch that carefully.”

Manfred said there are no current plans to expand, and the league is waiting to see how the stadium situations play out in Tampa and Oakland. Both the Rays and Athletics have been trying to get a new stadiums built for years.

“Until Tampa and Oakland are resolved, I can’t see us expanding just as a practical matter . . . If we were looking to relocate, Las Vegas would be a possibility.”

In the past, professional sports teams have avoided moving to Las Vegas because sports betting is legal in the state. Those concerns have dissipated in recent years.

“The presence of gambling is an issue that people have gotten past,” Manfred said. “You can gamble anywhere. We all know that. It’s not just Las Vegas. From that perspective, I’m open to it.”

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