Could open by 2027

MLB's Oakland Athletics purchase land for new ballpark in Las Vegas, ask for $500M in public assistance

Reading time 2:38 min

Major League Baseball team Oakland Athletics announced late Wednesday it has signed a binding agreement to purchase vacant property just off the Las Vegas Strip owned by Red Rock Resorts for a new retractable roof ballpark, ending discussion about the team staying in the Bay Area. However, Nevada legislative leaders noted Thursday that they had little information on the plan.

Team president Dave Kaval said the A's will work with Nevada and Clark County on a public-private partnership to fund the stadium. Kaval said the team hopes to break ground by next year and would hope to be moved to their new home by 2027.

But Nevada lawmakers highlighted on Thursday that they had little information about the Oakland Athletics' intentions to relocate to Las Vegas, apart from the existence of a finalized land purchase agreement, an upcoming funding bill, and an unspecified timeline for completion.

The stadium and other developments are projected to cost about $1.5 billion, as reported by The Nevada Independent, while the A's are asking for $500 million in public assistance, said Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft, who has been in talks with A's leadership and whose district includes the potential stadium site.

Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft

"That’s something that they’ve come up with," said Naft of the A's funding ask. "You don’t always get what you want. And I think that’s probably going to be the case with the $500 million."

Naft said the NFL's Raiders moving from Oakland, California, to Las Vegas in 2020 helped revolutionize Las Vegas as a major sports city. But even with the land purchase, he has unanswered questions about how the new stadium will affect year-round Las Vegas residents.

"I think the fact that Oakland is no longer an option as of last night means that we can have a more serious conversation about what would be involved with the relocation to our community," he said, as reported by the Associated Press.

How much say the county's Board of Commissioners will have depends on how much leeway the state Legislature gives them in negotiations. The Legislature could prescribe a narrow mandate that the county has to follow or come up with a plan that gives commissioners more negotiating power, Naft said.

The state Senate majority leader, Democrat Nicole Cannizzaro, was “briefed on the outline of a proposal, and she appreciates the interest the A’s have shown in Las Vegas," spokesperson Greg Lademann said. "However, (Cannizzaro) has not committed to supporting any deal, nor would she without seeing detailed legislative language and discussing it with her caucus," Lademann said. 

The Legislature is entering the last six weeks of a session that is held every two years. A funding bill of this nature would be exempt from a deadline that has passed for bills to be introduced and passed out of their first committees. Nevada Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo remains committed to a campaign promise not to raise taxes, spokesperson Elizabeth Ray said in a statement.

"The prospect of bringing new jobs, more economic development, and an exceptional MLB team to Las Vegas are exciting on many levels," Lombardo said in a statement. "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."

Democratic Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager noted the city's recent success in hosting sports teams. "It’s important we consider both the benefits and impacts to Las Vegas and the state," Yeager said.

Republican Senate Minority Leader Heidi Seevers Gansert made a similar remark in a statement that said she looks forward to reviewing the proposal. Meanwhile, Republican Assemblywoman Danielle Gallant said her caucus will “continue to support our governor as he navigates potential ways to diversify our economy and bolster the existing industries that make Nevada unique.”

North Strip and downtown Las Vegas casinos had previously signaled their support for a relocation of the MLB’s Oakland Athletics to the area.

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