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‘An incredible opportunity’: Lombardo signs bill for A’s Vegas ballpark

Updated June 15, 2023 - 6:59 pm

Gov. Joe Lombardo on Thursday signed the bill that will provide $380 million in public funding to build a $1.5 billion baseball stadium in Las Vegas for the relocating Oakland Athletics.

“I’m excited to officially sign SB1 this afternoon,” Lombardo said. “This is an incredible opportunity to bring the A’s to Nevada, and this legislation reflects months of negotiations between the team, the state, the county, and the league. Las Vegas’ position as a global sports destination is only growing, and Major League Baseball is another tremendous asset for the city.”

Lombardo is expected to conduct a second, ceremonial signing of the measure sometime in the next two weeks in Las Vegas.

“Today is a significant step forward in securing a new home for the Athletics,” the A’s said in a statement. “We thank Nevada Governor Lombardo, Legislative leaders, and Clark County Commissioners and staff for their hard work, support, and partnership.”

The bill, known as Senate Bill 1, passed at the end of an eight-day special session called after the conclusion of the regular 2023 Legislature in Carson City.

The bill generated plenty of testimony in support and opposition during hearings, both during the regular session and in the special session. The final vote saw Republicans and Democrats support and oppose the legislation, for various reasons.

The governor’s signature on the legislation ends a lengthy process in which the A’s sought to move from their longtime home in the Bay Area after a deal could not be reached on building a new stadium in Oakland. Team officials scouted a number of sites in Southern Nevada before ultimately settling on the Tropicana hotel-casino site on Las Vegas Boulevard.

Tropicana owner Bally’s Corp. and Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc., which owns the land the Tropicana sits on, are providing the A’s 9 acres of the 35-acre site free of charge. Bally’s Corp. Chairman Soo Kim estimated the land is worth $180 million.

The 30,000-seat, partially retractable roof stadium will not only see the A’s play their home games, but concerts and other events as well. Proponents estimate it will ultimately create more than 8,000 jobs and have an annual economic impact of $1.3 billion.

Although a significant step, the A’s still aren’t officially the “Las Vegas Athletics.” The team must now have their relocation to Southern Nevada approved by MLB. Once the A’s formally submit their application, the MLB will review the team’s plan.

Thereafter, the league will call for a vote of owners; 75 percent of teams must vote in favor of the A’s Las Vegas move to make it official.

“We will now begin the process with MLB to apply for relocation to Las Vegas,” the A’s statement noted. “We are excited about Southern Nevada’s dynamic and vibrant professional sports scene, and we look forward to becoming a valued community member through jobs, economic development, and the quality of life and civic pride of a Major League Baseball team.”

That approval will officially mark the end of the A’s over two-year relocation process in Las Vegas.

Construction is slated to begin in 2024 or 2025, and the first pitch is expected to be thrown out in the spring of 2028.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman is ready to welcome the A’s as the city’s fourth major professional franchise, but noted they have lofty expectations to meet.

“When we have the model of the Vegas-born Vegas Golden Knights as family and loyal, committed, involved team individuals and ownership in the heartbeat of this community, you have a high standard to meet,” Goodman told the Review-Journal in a text message.

Contact Steve Sebelius at SSebelius@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0253. Follow @SteveSebelius on Twitter. Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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