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A’s focus on Vegas relocation process after landing temporary homesite

Now that its temporary homesite has been nailed down, the Oakland Athletics can now focus on aspects of their planned Las Vegas relocation.

That work entails hammering out agreements tied to the planned Las Vegas stadium, filing for trademarks for future homesites and fighting a ballot measure push challenging their stadium public funding.

Last week the A’s announced they will play at Triple-A ballpark Sutter Health Park in Sacramento for the 2025-2027 MLB seasons. Sacramento came into the fray because the A’s lease at the team’s current home, Oakland Coliseum, expires at the end of the year and the team needed a home park between 2025 and the planned Opening Day in Las Vegas in 2028.

The A’s plan to build a $1.5 billion, 33,000-fan-capacity ballpark on 9 acres of the 35-acre Tropicana site. Before construction can begin on the ballpark demolition of the Rat Pack-era hotel must occur.

“The Tropicana closed, the historic and memorable casino and resort, one that we want to make sure that we honor its legacy in what we do on the site,” A’s President Dave Kaval told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week. “That’s a big step that’s happening. They have an October demolition that Bally’s is moving forward with.”

Bally’s Corp. Chairman Soo Kim told the Review-Journal last month the Tropicana could be imploded, if they are able to secure the required permits. Once demolished, crews will clear and prepare the site ahead of the A’s planned construction start time in April 2025.

Vegas stadium agreements

The A’s aren’t sitting around waiting for the Trop to come down. The team is working on multiple agreements with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority.

A series of agreements need to be finalized and approved by the stadium authority before the up to $380 million in public funding earmarked for the stadium by Senate Bill 1 could be made available for the project. The A’s must also spend the first $100 million from its own funds during the construction process before the public money is made available.

Drafts of the lease agreement and the biggest document of the needed agreements — the development agreement — could be presented at the next scheduled meeting May 16.

“Conversations are ongoing on a weekly basis,” Kaval said. “We’ve got the community benefits agreement signed and approved, which is great. The lease and the non-relocation (agreements) are kind of the next ones with the development agreement. We’re going to work with Steve Hill and Ed Finger and their (stadium authority) staff to get that done.”

The development agreement will break down the construction of the ballpark, including its financing. The A’s are responsible for about $1.1 billion of the project’s cost, with SB1, signed into law last year, earmarking up to $380 million in public funding for the ballpark’s construction.

The A’s also are in constant contact with Clark County officials to keep them abreast of the latest developments.

“There’s a lot of progress being made in a variety of areas,” Kaval said. “All that is very exciting for just showing the progress toward that opening day in 2028.”

Trademark filings

The Athletics are also looking toward their future filing to secure a series of trademarks in their future home cities of Las Vegas and Sacramento.

Last week the A’s filed trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for Sacramento Athletics and Sacramento A’s, tied to planned merchandise sales when the team plays in the capital city.

This week the A’s filed trademarks for Las Vegas Athletics, Las Vegas A’s and Vegas Athletics.

Although the A’s Las Vegas trademarks were filed Monday with the USPTO, the team previously filed the trademarks on Nov. 13 — three days before MLB owners unanimously approved the Las Vegas relocation — in Mauritius, a small island country located near Madagascar.

Filing in a foreign country is a common practice by notable entities seeking to file under the radar from the public, trademark attorney Josh Gerben said on social media platform X.

“A trademark filed with the USPTO can become public within a day of being submitted,” Gerben’s X post read. “So this was likely done to hide the filings from the public.”

By originally filing their trademarks in Mauritius, Gerben said, the A’s were able to post-date the U.S. applications to the Nov. 13 filing date, because the country is part of the Paris Convention. Adopted in 1883, the Paris Convention is an international agreement that protects, among other things, intellectual property such as trademarks.

Since the A’s announced they were researching Las Vegas for potential relocation in 2021, a number of individuals and groups filed to trademark various A’s-related Las Vegas trademarks.

Even if a trademark filing preceded the A’s Las Vegas trademark filing, the likelihood of confusion, a common reason for trademark application refusal, could come into play in the A’s favor.

With the MLB team’s long-standing trademark ownership of the A’s and Athletics name tied to a baseball organization, the likelihood of confusion could benefit the A’s over nonaffiliated individuals or groups.

Stadium funding lawsuit

Beyond work related to the future stadium, the A’s are also in a legal tussle with Schools Over Stadiums, a Nevada teachers union created political action committee, opposing the team’s public funding for their Southern Nevada ballpark.

After an early legal win last year when a District Court judge ruled in favor of A’s lobbyists who filed a lawsuit against a Schools over Stadiums petition referendum challenging SB1, the matter landed in the state Supreme Court this week.

The seven justices Tuesday heard oral arguments with each side arguing why or why not the full text of SB1 should be included in the petition. The hearing was adjourned with the case being submitted for decision.

No timetable exists about when the Supreme Court justices might render their decision, but Schools Over Stadiums has until June 26 to gather the more than 102,000 signatures required to get the matter on November’s ballot.

Whether or not the Supreme Court rules in SOS’s favor, time could be running out on the PAC to get the matter on this year’s ballot.

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

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