North Strip and downtown Las Vegas casinos have signaled their support for a potential relocation of the MLB’s Oakland Athletics to the area. Operators strongly support the team building a $1 billion ballpark in their area, according to local media reports.
Resorts World Las Vegas President Scott Sibella confirmed that he and hotel owners from the north Strip and downtown met with A’s brass last week, reports Las Vegas Review-Journal. They discussed the potential of a 35,000-seat domed stadium on the Las Vegas Festival Grounds site, located on the southwest corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue.
“We reinforced our support that we believe the best site is on the Sahara/LV Blvd,” Sibella wrote in an email, as per the cited source. “Having the A’s in Las Vegas will be great for the Strip properties and the LV community.” The meeting did not include discussions regarding economics; only that the “A’s will have our full support,” Sibella further told Review-Journal.
After nearly two years of work in the Las Vegas Valley, the A’s trimmed a site list of more than 20 to two – the festival grounds site and the Tropicana on the south Strip. Derek Stevens, co-owner of the Circa, Golden Gate and The D properties downtown, confirmed that he also attended Wednesday’s meeting, adding that a lot of key players want to see the A’s relocate to Vegas.
“I talked with ownership in John Fisher and their President Dave for a while yesterday,” Stevens told Las Vegas Review-Journal. “This will be very good for Las Vegas, very good for jobs, very good for hotel rooms (i.e. the LVCVA). The key thing is getting the location nailed down and moving forward.”
The A’s are interested in public assistance if they were to relocate to Southern Nevada, a person with knowledge of the proceedings said, as per Review-Journal. Gov. Joe Lombardo said last month he would not be in favor of raising state taxes to help lure a team to Nevada, but added that there were existing economic development programs the team could utilize.
Stevens said those who complain about potential tax breaks the A’s could receive don’t understand the impact the franchise and a new ballpark could have on the valley. “If Vegas doesn’t land the A’s, it could impact whether Vegas gets a team anytime in the near future,” the co-owner of downtown’s Circa said.
“Having the (MLB) Commissioner waive the relocation fee is huge. When people say they want an expansion team that is a “Vegas Team,” people forget the expansion fee will be between $1 billion to $2 billion,” Stevens added. “Who in Vegas has that kind of money for an expansion fee and THEN have to deal with all the other elements like stadium costs and operating cash?”
The A’s also have ballpark plans in Oakland for a $12 billion mixed-use project at Howard Terminal near Jack London Square. That project would be centered on a $1 billion, 35,000-capacity waterfront stadium and include residential, commercial and public space.
After the Oakland City Council approved its own term sheet in July that the A’s challenged on several fronts, the two sides have been working to come to an agreement. However, it’s unclear where the process stands at this point.
Major League Baseball would love the A’s ballpark situation to be resolved as soon as possible. The preference would be to eventually add two more teams via expansion, but commissioner Rob Manfred has said that he wants the Rays and A’s both to nail down their plans for their future ballparks before the league discusses proceeding with expansion plans, reports CBS.