Oakland A’s owner John Fisher felt the need to clarify something about the future of the franchise on Monday.
He has no plans to sell the team.
Fisher made the statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal on the heels of last week’s unanimous vote by MLB to approve the A’s move to Nevada.
“I want my family to own the A’s long into the future,” Fisher said. “We are committed to building a state-of-the-art ballpark on the Strip and bringing more championships to Southern Nevada.”
Why speak about this now, after Fisher has repetitively made it clear he doesn’t intend to sell the team?
Perhaps it’s because of a report in USA Today last week that provided some insight into how the other MLB owners perceive Fisher’s intentions.
Within MLB’s agreement to approve the A’s relocation, there’s a provision called a “10-year flip tax,” USA TODAY reported.
The tax is to prevent Fisher from using the relocation to boost the team’s value and then sell it to another ownership group.
If Fisher sells the team before the A’s are to begin playing in their Las Vegas ballpark in 2028, he would be taxed 20% of the purchase price, with the money split among the owners. The tax then goes down to 10% if he sells in 2029, and a decreasing amount each year until it ends in 2034.
Fisher bought the team in 2005 for $180 million. In March, it was worth an estimated $1.2 billion, according to Forbes annual report. The value could go up with a move to Vegas and a new ballpark that will be partly funded by Nevada taxpayers.
Because Fisher was able to convince MLB owners that a path forward in Oakland was not viable, commissioner Rob Manfred recommended they waive the relocation fee, expected to be at least $300 million, to get the A’s to Vegas.
The “10-year flip tax” could be a way that MLB attempts to nudge Fisher to invest in his team and become less reliant on revenue sharing.