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Oakland Athletics reach tentative funding deal for new Las Vegas ballpark

State of Nevada set to provide up to US$380m in funding for US$1.5bn stadium.

25 May 2023 Josh Sim

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  • A’s want 30,000-seater venue to be built on the Tropicana hotel site
  • Funding bill expected to be introduced in Nevada Legislature in coming days

Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Oakland Athletics have struck a tentative agreement with the state of Nevada over the funding for a new stadium.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the agreement, announced by Nevada’s governor Joe Lombardo, will provide up to US$380 million in tax support for the ballpark, which will cost US$1.5 billion in total.

The 30,000-seater venue is set to be built on the 35-acre Tropicana hotel site, with the Athletics closing a deal with Bally’s Corporation for the site earlier this month. Bally’s, in turn, will reportedly have the option to build a hotel and casino on the remaining acreage not used by the A’s.

Though the agreement would mean that public funding would cover less than 25 per cent of the stadium’s building costs, the amount is yet to be guaranteed. Nevada state treasurer Zach Conine also said that the project would involve the most private investment of any MLB ballpark.

“This agreement follows months of negotiations between the state, the county, and the A’s, and I believe it gives us a tremendous opportunity to continue building on the professional sports infrastructure of southern Nevada,” said Lombardo.

“Las Vegas is clearly a sports town, and Major League Baseball should be a part of it.”

The tentative agreement indicates that a funding bill will be introduced in the Nevada Legislature imminently, with lawmakers to have just under two weeks to consider the drafted legislation before the session ends. Both the state senate and assembly will need to vote through the bill, with a special legislative session a possibility if lawmakers cannot pass the agreement by 5th June.

“I am excited that we have finally received the A’s proposal and we are currently reviewing it,” said Steve Yeager, Nevada state assembly speaker.

“As I have continuously said throughout this process, no commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members.

“At the end of the day, any decision will be guided by what is best for Nevadans, our economy and our communities.”

The A’s have committed to moving to Las Vegas, having conducted a long search for a new home to replace the outdated Oakland Coliseum, where they have been based since 1968. A site near the Oakland waterfront was a previous target, before the decision was taken to relocate the team to Nevada. MLB will need to approve the franchise’s move, but the league’s commissioner Rob Manfred has already indicated his support for the relocation.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal added that the A’s could move into the new venue as soon as 2027.

SportsPro says…

While the tentative agreement means a move to Las Vegas is inching closer, the A’s will be reliant on lawmakers ushering through plans for the ballpark they have long been looking for.

The US$380 million in public funding would also be considerably less than what the Las Vegas Raiders got, with the National Football League (NFL) franchise receiving US$750 million for their new stadium.

Should the proposal fail to be approved, it will put the A’s in a tight spot, given they need an agreement for a new ballpark by 2024 to continue earning from MLB’s revenue-sharing distribution. Considering the team averages the lowest home fans attendance in the league, missing out on that revenue would be a huge blow.

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