Nevada Legislature considers up to $380M funding for potential Oakland Athletics stadium in Las Vegas

Late Friday, a bill was introduced in the Nevada Legislature that could provide up to $380 million in funding for a proposed retractable roof stadium on the Las Vegas Strip, intended to be the new home for the MLB’s Oakland Athletics. 

The $1.5 billion stadium, with a capacity of 30,000 seats, has been touted as the definite solution for the Athletics, who have been seeking a new venue to replace the Oakland Coliseum, in California, their current home since 1968.

The proposed location for the new stadium would be the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip, where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort currently stands. Under the proposed funding plan, the majority of the public financing, at $180 million, would come from transferable tax credits provided by the state.

Additionally, $120 million would be raised through county bonds, subject to varying interest rate returns. Lastly, Clark County would contribute $25 million in credit toward infrastructure costs.

The Nevada Legislature’s approval of the plan does not involve direct tax increases. The bill can proceed with a simple majority vote in both the Senate and Assembly. Lawmakers have a little over a week to review the proposal before the session adjourns on June 5. If necessary, a special session could be called to address the matter, reports Associated Press.

While Las Vegas offers the potential to attract large amounts of tourists, with nearly 40 million visitors annually, some expressed disappointment that negotiations did not move forward with the city of Oakland. Mayor Sheng Thao referred to the Athletics’ approach as not being that of a “true partner.”

Should the relocation to Las Vegas materialize, the Athletics would become the fourth franchise home for a team that originated as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-1954. It would also make Las Vegas the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to host three major professional sports franchises.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred mentioned the possibility of a vote on the Athletics’ relocation to Las Vegas during the owners’ meeting scheduled for June 13-15 in New York.

Republican Governor Joe Lombardo

However, the stadium funding plan faces uncertainties within the Nevada Legislature. Democratic leaders have expressed that financing bills, including the proposal for the Athletics, may not proceed if Republican Governor Joe Lombardo follows through on his threat to veto several budget bills. 

The bill also includes provisions for a homelessness prevention and assistance fund, to be managed by the Clark County Board of Commissioners in collaboration with MLB and the Nevada Resort Association. The fund would support services such as emergency rental and utility assistance, job training, and rehabilitation for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

The proposed lease agreement with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority would be subject to renewal after 30 years. Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager stated that Nevada’s legislative leadership is currently reviewing the proposal, emphasizing that no commitment will be made until the official proposal has been evaluated and input has been received from interested parties, including community members affected by the potential project.