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A’s appear to focus on ballpark ‘on or near the Las Vegas Strip’

Updated November 1, 2021 - 5:52 pm

The Oakland Athletics appear to be focusing their Southern Nevada ballpark search on or around the Las Vegas Strip.

The A’s emailed Las Vegas Aviators fans a relocation interest survey, asking a bevy of questions regarding the franchise’s possible move to the valley, including queries about a Strip-located stadium. The Aviators are the A’s Triple A affiliate.

The survey stated the team was looking to possibly construct a ballpark “on or near the Las Vegas Strip,” but did not note any specific sites.

Another question asked was what impact having an open-air, retractable roof or a fixed-roof stadium would have on fan interest in attending games.

The A’s have made six visits to Southern Nevada since Major League Baseball officials gave them the OK to explore the market for potential relocation. Team owner John Fisher and president Dave Kaval have toured more than 20 possible ballpark sites, with a list of up to the top four sites expected to be released sometime this month, according to Kaval.

An A’s official declined to comment Monday on the survey.

The team confirmed multiple areas they either toured or have interest in following previous trips to the valley, with four falling in the Strip’s vicinity.

Las Vegas Festival Grounds

The Las Vegas Festival Grounds site on the southwest corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue is a plot referenced multiple times by Kaval.

The 40-acre site is owned by Phil Ruffin, who also owns Circus Circus next door, and is used for music festivals and other events.

The area had Kaval envisioning the game day experience after touring the site in July with a team architect.

“You can turn the stadium and look down and see the entire Strip, that’s pretty compelling,” Kaval said in July of the north Strip. “We like the notion of some of the venues where people will get out of their car, or walking from a resort and they walk up and see in the stadium. … It almost draws you in.”

Wild Wild West

The A’s have also noted interest in the land the Wild Wild West sits on, at the northwest corner of Tropicana Avenue and Dean Martin Drive.

Just across Interstate 15 from the Strip and a few blocks north of Allegiant Stadium, the nearly 100-acre plot of land would provide ample room for a ballpark and some surrounding development.

Station Casinos had no comment when asked in late September if there was any talks between the two sides regarding possibly building a stadium on that site. Station Casinos has tentative plans to build a large resort on the land.

Las Vegas Boulevard/Warm Springs Road

A 110-acre plot of land of Las Vegas Boulevard between Warm Springs and Blue Diamond roads has also piqued the A’s interest.

Brightline West wants to build the Las Vegas terminal for its planned high-speed rail line to Southern California on a portion of that land, which is owned by a Brightline subsidiary. This spot could be off the board, as Golden Knights owner Bill Foley noted a group including Wes Edens, co-founder of Fortress Investment Group, which owns Brightline, is targeting that land for a potential Major League Soccer stadium.

UNLV/Tropicana Avenue

A 42-acre plot of land on Tropicana near Koval Lane was also named by Kaval as a site of interest.

Although it would be within walking distance of the south Strip, it is located directly across from McCarran International Airport. Any structure of significant size there could pose flight path issues, which could take the area out of the running.

Three of those sites — UNLV/Tropicana, Wild Wild West and Las Vegas Festival Grounds — were also on the Raiders’ short list of possible stadium sites before they chose the Russell Road location for Allegiant Stadium.

The team has also explored potential ballpark sites in Summerlin and Henderson, including near the Downtown Summerlin outdoor mall development and the M Resort.

PSLs and ballpark seating

Among the list of survey questions were ones about fan appetite on the team using personal seat licenses for the possible stadium and financing options tied to those.

PSLs are a one-time seat fee that give fans the opportunity to buy season tickets for a specific seat each year. The Raiders utilized PSLs for Allegiant Stadium, selling them out before the facility was finished and generating the team $549 million in proceeds.

The noted reserve seating for the potential stadium would range between $30 and $130 per game, depending on the desired seat location.

Reserved seats would be located in the lower, mezzanine and upper seating levels at the stadium.

Premium seating options were noted to range between $150 and $450 per seat, per game.

Premium seating options include club seats, small group seating and luxury seats.

Season ticket options listed were full (81 games), half (40) and quarter-season (20 games).

The survey comes the week after the Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved a nonbinding agreement to join the city of Oakland in a potential tax financing district for a $12 billion waterfront development project in the Bay Area that would include a new ballpark for the A’s.

Although the vote was perceived as a positive for the push for a new stadium in Oakland, the A’s and the city are still negotiating issues the team had with the city’s project proposal. The two sides remain split on affordable housing, infrastructure and community benefit aspects of the possible project.

The project would feature a mixed-use development surrounding a $1 billion, 30,000-seat waterfront ballpark at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal.

Team officials have yet to announce when their next visit to the Las Vegas area will be.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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