Jim Hartman: The Oakland A’s move to Las Vegas

Jim Hartman

Jim Hartman

  • Discuss Comment, Blog about
  • Print Friendly and PDF

The Oakland A’s moved one step closer to their proposed relocation to Las Vegas, with the Nevada Legislature in special session approving Senate Bill 1, signed by Gov. Joe Lombardo.

SB1 provides for a $1.5 billion 30,000-seat stadium on the Las Vegas Strip. The bill caps public funding of the stadium at $380 million and does not raise taxes. More than $1.1 billion would be privately financed by the A’s.

Public funding is limited to $380 million coming from $120 million in bonds issued by Clark County, combined with revenue from a special tax district around the stadium and transferable tax credits worth $180 million. The A’s will pay back $120 million of that over the life of the agreement. A $25 million credit from Clark County will pay for infrastructure improvements.

A nine-acre ballpark will be built on the site of the 35-acre Tropicana Las Vegas Casino Resort. After the Tropicana is demolished, it’s unknown as to what will be built around the stadium. SB1 prevents a casino or hotel from being constructed in the stadium district.

The A’s have signed a commitment to play in the stadium for 30 years.

The A’s committed to a Community Benefits Agreement ensuring their financial donations to service groups.

The A’s expect to play in the stadium when the 2028 season begins. The A’s may play games at 10,000-seat Las Vegas Ballpark until the stadium is ready. They have one year remaining on their lease in Oakland.

Major League Baseball starts a months-long approval process for the A’s proposed relocation to Las Vegas.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said the team must submit a relocation application explaining its efforts in Oakland and why Las Vegas is a better market.

“There is no Oakland offer,” Manfred complains.

Oakland lost its NBA Golden State Warriors franchise to San Francisco in 2019 and its NFL Raiders franchise to Las Vegas in 2020.

Since moving to Oakland from Kansas City in 1968, the A’s have won four World Series, six American League pennants and 17 division titles in those 54 seasons.

John Fisher, son of the founders of Gap Inc., became the A’s owner in 2016.

The A’s reached the playoffs from 2018-20 but after trading top players and slashing payroll to a big-league low $58 million, they have the worst record in the major leagues at 20-60.

In both 2022 and this season, Oakland’s home game attendance is the lowest among the 30 teams.

Meanwhile Las Vegas has newfound sports success with NFL, NHL and WNBA teams that were nonexistent or based elsewhere seven years ago.

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

In recent decades there has been an increase in new stadium deals mainly – but not always – publicly funded. Two very different models exist on the Strip.

In 2016, Nevada’s Legislature approved $750 million in public funding from hotel room taxes for the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders and host of the upcoming Super Bowl.

T-Mobile Arena, home to the NHL’s new Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights, opened in 2016 after MGM Resorts and a California developer paid the full $375 million cost.

Both venues have been very successful.

Data cited by Sen. Heidi Seevers Gansert (R-Reno) lists Allegiant Stadium as the top grossing stadium in the world among stadiums hosting concerts and T-Mobile Arena as the fourth highest grossing venue with a 15,001-plus capacity.

Proponents of the stadium deal emphasize funding will be 75% from the A’s, with a 25% public contribution and no tax increase.

Most SB1 opponents, including left-liberal Democrats and hard-right Republicans, categorically oppose public money going into sports stadiums.

SB1 passed the state Senate 13-8 and Assembly 25-15, winning majorities from legislators of both parties.

Email Jim Hartman at lawdocman1@aol.com.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment