Updated May 4, 2023 - 11:10 am
To build Circa hotel-casino, Derek Stevens knocked down a ballpark.
We speak of Las Vegas Club, the exterior of which was designed as a baseball stadium. A giant ballplayer even loomed over Main and Fremont.
But in fact, Stevens has long built the concept of baseball in Las Vegas. The co-owner of Circa, the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate owned the Las Vegas 51s from 2008-13.
Stevens has also been an aggressive advocate of presenting sports as entertainment, with games playing to revelers at Stadium Swim, and the majestic LED-screen layout at Circa Sportsbook.
The resort visionary’s message has sparked Vegas’ refurbished image as the Entertainment and Sports Capital of the World.
“I’ve been of the same mindset going back to when I owned the Triple-A team,” Stevens said Sunday just before the Baller Dream Celebrity Poker Tournament. “I’ve always thought baseball could could make it in Vegas. I think baseball will have a tremendous impact.”
Stevens said the team’s 81 home dates will take up dates when “it’s a little bit of a slower time in Vegas.”
“I think Major League Baseball will make it, and I’m very enthusiastic about the A’s coming coming to Las Vegas,” Stevens said.
The resort operator attended a Feb. 1 meeting among north Strip and downtown officials reviewing the A’s plans for a stadium site. Those original concepts included the Las Vegas Festival Grounds property on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard.
The A’s have since entered into an agreement with Station Casinos to purchase 49 acres at Tropicana and Dean Martin, the former Wild Wild West site.
“It’s a good start. You’ve gotta get the land in place, first,” Stevens said. “There’s a few other things that have to be worked out, but if it doesn’t work out in that space, it’s gonna work out somewhere else.”
Expect Stevens to partner with the Athletics upon their relocation.
“We absolutely will. We love what we’ve done with other sports teams here, it’s had a big impact on our business,” said Stevens, who has held Golden Knights and Raiders watch parties at his Downtown Las Vegas Event Center. “We’re obviously a bit more sports-oriented than other casinos. That’s why we’re very enthusiastic about Major League Baseball coming here.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.