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Oakland Athletics, Nevada announce agreement to bring MLB team to Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS — The Oakland Athletics and members of the Nevada state government released a joint statement on Wednesday announcing a tentative agreement to bring the MLB team to Las Vegas. Relocation is tentatively set for the 2027 MLB season but could be expedited depending on the deteriorating situation in Oakland.

Governor Joe Lombardo (R) announced on Wednesday that a bill is being drafted to be submitted to the Nevada Legislature in the coming days to help finance a new stadium for the A’s on the Las Vegas Strip.

“This agreement follows months of negotiations between the state, the county and the A’s, and I believe it gives us tremendous opportunity to continue building the professional sports infrastructure of Southern Nevada,” Gov. Lombardo said in a statement. “Las Vegas is clearly a sports town, and Major League Baseball should be a part of it.”

The Oakland Athletics also released a statement in the press release from the Nevada Governor’s office.

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“We’re very appreciative of the support from the State of Nevada and Clark County’s leadership,” A’s President Dave Kaval said. “We want to thank Governor Lombardo, the Legislative leadership, the Treasurer, and Clark County Commissioners and staff on the collaborative process.”

It was noted late Tuesday night that the A’s and state leaders had come to an agreement for a public financing package that will end up including at least $325 million, significantly lower than the $500 million the Athletics had initially asked for.

Here’s a breakdown of the financing for the proposed Oakland Athletics stadium in Las Vegas:

  • $180 million in transferrable tax credits
  • $120 million in bonds from Clark County
  • $25 million credit toward infrastructure costs

This is part of a broader $1.5 billion stadium the A’s plan to build on the Las Vegas Strip’s Tropicana site.

After announcing their intention to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas, the Athletics had originally entered into an agreement to purchase a lot of land located on Tropicana Boulevard and Dean Martin, near the site of the home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders.

A few weeks later, the downtrodden MLB team announced a deal with Bally’s Corp. to build a $1.5 billion stadium on a portion of the Tropicana Las Vegas site. Under this agreement, Bally’s plans on demolishing Tropicana, allowing the A’s to build a 35,000-seat retractable roof stadium on nine acres of the 34-acre site. Bally’s would then build a new state of the art casino and hotel as part of a broader project.

The A’s had initially asked for $500 million in public funding at the previous site. Their agreement with Bally’s Corp. was said to lower the ask to under $400 million. It now includes at least $325 million as mentioned above. This gap seems to have appeased those who had reservations about the public financing of another professional sports venue in Las Vegas.

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Details of Oakland Athletics’ agreement and remaining obstacles

oakland athletics relocation to las vegas
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  • Proposed 30,000-35,000 seat retractable-roof stadium.
  • Stadium to open in time for the 2027 MLB season.
  • MLB Relocation Committee would have to approve the relocation by Jan. 1, 2024.
  • Construction expected to start in 2024.
  • Nevada Legislature would have to convene a full vote, likely before current session ends on June 5. As Gov. Lombardo noted, it should happend within the next few days.
  • The new stadium would require approval by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before construction starts due to its proximity to Harry Reid International Airport.

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Full timeline for Oakland Athletics relocation to Las Vegas

MLB: Spring Training-Colorado Rockies at Kansas City Royals
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It now stands to reason that the Nevada State Legislature will approve this new financing package. New Nevada Governor Joe Lombardi (R) had previously thrown his support behind the $500 million financing package before Wednesday’s announcement on a tentative agreement.

“Welcoming the A’s to Las Vegas would be great news for Southern Nevada as well as our entire state. The prospect of bringing new jobs, more economic development and a historic MLB franchise to Las Vegas is exciting on many levels.

As we continue to navigate this opportunity, I’m in regular communication with the A’s, Major League Baseball, legislative leadership and local and state stakeholders,” Lombardo statement on likely Oakland Athletics relocation.

Without resistance from the Governor’s office and with approval from the Legislature, the only remaining state issue is FAA approval. Obviously, all parties have vetted the location on the Vegas Strip. That also won’t be an issue.

We can also assume that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred will get the relocation committee behind the move from Northern California to Southern Nevada. He’s long been a proponent of relocation and the A’s focusing on Nevada.

“We support the A’s turning their focus on Las Vegas and look forward to them bringing finality to this process by the end of the year,” Manfred said back in April.

Assuming everything mentioned above goes according to plan, Opening Day of the 2027 MLB season makes sense as a soft deadline. Though, there are outside factors in play that could actually expedite relocation.

Related: Why it’s always been a sucker bet to be an Oakland Athletics’ fan

Oakland Athletics situation in Northern California

MLB: New York Mets at Oakland Athletics
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Under the aforementioned timeline and assuming everything goes according to plan, the A’s would still technically play the next three-plus seasons inside the rundown Oakland Coliseum.

Given what we’re seeing in Oakland between the fans, ownership group and the actual product on the field, that doesn’t even seem to be sustainable.

The few fans who have actually decided to show up to games in support of the worst team in baseball have utilized their attendance as a protest against an ownership group led by John Fisher.

Oakland Coliseum itself is a black mark on Major League Baseball as a whole, continually acting the part of a laughingstock for visiting teams. From sewage leaks in opposing dugouts to possums running roughshod, it’s almost like a scene out of Caddyshack.

Meanwhile, the A’s sit at 10-40 on the season and are on pace to win 32 games. That 50-game start is tied with the 1897 St. Louis Browns and 1932 Boston Red Sox for the fourth worst in MLB history. Combine that with MLB’s lowest payroll and an average attendance of 8,695, and we’re looking at the real-life version of Major League without the happy ending written in.

The somewhat good news? The A’s can get out of their lease with the Oakland Coliseum after the 2024 season. There’s also a decent chance that MLB can orchestrate a deal that would enable relocation after this season. Again, what’s happening in Oakland is not a good look for the league.

Under this scenario, Las Vegas Ballpark in the suburb of Summerlin could become a temporary home for the Oakland Athletics. It opened in 2019 and is the home of the A’s Triple-A affiliate in Southern Nevada. It’s also considered one of the best minor league stadiums in baseball.

With a record attendance of 12,211 and lacking major league facilities, there are certainly hurdles to overcome. But things can be done to make this venue playable for the A’s in April of 2024.

Either way, Wednesday’s joint announcement between the Oakland Athletics and Nevada state officials has seemingly cleared the path for relocation to Southern Nevada. Sure, there’s other things that need to be done. But money speaks the loudest. It sure the heck did the talking in expediting this process.

Now, about John Fisher? Well, that’s a story for another time.

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