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Why A's attendance in Las Vegas this weekend does and does not matter

Fans came out to Las Vegas Ballpark for A's baseball, but neither game was at full capacity
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Depending on who you hear it from, the attendance of the A's weekend series in Las Vegas for Big League Weekend was either a big deal, or indicative of absolutely nothing. Both sides are right.

On the one hand, this is the first time that the Oakland franchise has traveled to Vegas to play baseball games since the team announced their intent to relocate, which could have been met with parades in the street, A's owner John Fisher kissing babies, and lots and lots of confetti. 

Instead, the announced attendance was 7,938 and 9,342 on Friday night and Saturday afternoon for a total of 17,280 between the two contests out of a possible 20,000 with standing room only tickets available. For a team that needs to draw 30,000 fans per game for 30 straight years to hit their projections, that's not exactly a great start. 

There's also the fact that fans in the crowd took pictures of the ballpark, and there were definitely entire sections of empty seats, making the announced attendance as realistic as the financial figures that Jeremy Arguero produced for the Nevada Legislature last summer. 

Last year when the A's traveled to Vegas and played the Cincinnati Reds on a Saturday and Sunday they drew 16,829. That's a difference of 451 people over the two-game span that the A's tacked on once they announced the move. 

On the other hand, this was a split squad series against the Milwaukee Brewers. Not even all of the A's best players were in town for the weekend series, and on Saturday they rolled out a lineup that looked like an Aviators squad for 2024.

The counterargument here is that the A's are banking on fans from out of town to attend games against any and all opponents at their proposed ballpark, so which team the A's are playing shouldn't factor into the attendance whatsoever. This was a special event, two games between two MLB teams, one of which hopes to call Vegas home in a few years. 

Big League Weekend was, you guessed it, during the weekend, which has led to a lot of the success that the Raiders have had due to the NFL playing most of their games on Sundays. People can fly in, take in a game, and then go run around Las Vegas for a weekend. That wasn't exactly what happened for the A's. 

Then again, if the team does move here, then they're still at least four years away from officially landing in Las Vegas. No use investing time or energy in the club just yet. There will be plenty of roster moves made in the coming seasons, so it's best to start really paying attention a couple of years down the line.

Yet, the A's tried (not necessarily their best, but there was effort) to make this weekend an event. Earlier in the week they released renderings of the new ballpark they hope to open, John Fisher made an appearance, and they even threw a FanFest ahead of Saturday's game. They tried to bring people out to the ballpark. 

Where you fall in regards to how the A's did this weekend depends on what your preconceived notions of the relocation were coming in. The team did a decent job drawing fans overall, but they also didn't reach capacity which is what they need to do 81 times a year for three decades if and when they move.