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Oakland Athletics agree new deal for stadium site on Las Vegas Strip

MLB team reaches agreement with Bally’s to build a US$1.5 bn, 30,000-seater stadium.

16 May 2023 Josh Sim

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  • A’s previously signed agreement for another site in Las Vegas
  • Franchise to ask Nevada Legislature for US$400m in funding

Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Oakland Athletics have agreed a deal with Bally’s and Gaming & Leisure Properties (GLPI) to potentially construct a new ballpark on the Tropicana hotel site in Las Vegas.

The franchise had previously signed an agreement to buy a 49 acres of land at a different location also found on Tropicana Avenue, which would have resulted in a request for US$500 million in public support to back the project. Now they have pivoted towards building a new 30,000-seater stadium on the 35-acre Tropicana hotel site, with the project to cost around US$1.5 billion.

While the new deal features a scaled-down plan for the land, the location is considered closer in walking distance for fans staying on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the agreement also provides betting brand Bally’s the option to build a hotel-casino on the remaining land.

“We are honoured to have been selected to partner with the Oakland Athletics on this monumental step in helping to bring Major League Baseball to the great city of Las Vegas, and to be a part of the once in a generation opportunity of having a professional baseball team located within a short walk of the Las Vegas Strip,” Bally’s president George Papanier said in a statement.

“We are excited about the potential to bring Major League Baseball to this iconic location,” added Oakland A’s president Dave Kaval in a news release. “We are thrilled to work alongside Bally’s and GLPI, and look forward to finalizing plans to bring the Athletics to Southern Nevada.”

Kaval has previously told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he hopes the new stadium can be completed for the 2027 season. The franchise is currently asking the Nevada Legislature to provide close to US$400 million in public funding, with a vote on a proposal to come as early as later this week.

MLB also will need to approve the franchise’s relocation, which appears to be straightforward given commissioner Rob Manfred has already signalled his support for their proposed move. The team has played in Oakland since moving from Kansas City in 1968.

The A’s currently average less than 9,500 home fans per game this season, which puts them last among the 30 MLB franchises. They have been looking for a new venue to replace the Oakland Coliseum for a while, with a site near the Oakland waterfront previously their target destination.

SportsPro says…

Agreeing and then moving the proposed site for the team’s new ballpark in Las Vegas is the latest twist in a chaotic process that will see the A’s become the latest major league franchise to move to Nevada.

However, the lower burden on the public purse will certainly carry favour with a local authority that has shelled out for a number of significant sporting infrastructure projects in recent years. Allegiant Stadium, which is the new home for the National Football League’s (NFL) Las Vegas Raiders, got US$750 million of public funding, for example.

With a site now – seemingly – agreed it will be a race against time for the A’s to get the stadium built and team moved before the financial pressures of the dwindling crowds in Oakland cause bigger problems on the franchise’s balance sheet.

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