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A’s Las Vegas ballpark won’t be ready by 2027, report says

Updated May 30, 2023 - 6:54 pm

If the Oakland Athletics are successful in their public financing bid, they wouldn’t play ball in their new stadium in Las Vegas until 2028.

The A’s originally noted they hoped to begin playing at the planned $1.5 billion, 30,000-seat ballpark in 2027, when the plan was to build the stadium at the just-off-Strip Wild Wild West site.

With the site switching to 9 acres of the 35-acre Tropicana on-Strip site, the timeline was moved back one year because of the needed demolition of the Tropicana resort.

“Obviously there’s a lot of work that happens between late 2023 and late 2024 or early 2025 when construction begins,” Jeremy Aguero, principal with Applied Analysis, who serves as staff for the A’s, said during Monday’s bill presentation to the Legislature. “The facility is the current location of where the Tropicana hotel exists today. It has to be demolished in order to make way for this (stadium) and other development activity to take place.”

The A’s are seeking up to $380 million in public financing for the ballpark project, with the team set to pony up at least $1.1 billion for the planned partially retractable roof facility.

With site construction not set to begin until late 2024 or early 2025, the earliest the A’s could play in their new Las Vegas home would be in 2028, when construction is expected to be completed.

“The first game is expected to be played in spring of 2028,” Aguero said.

Bally’s Corp. Chairman Soo Kim told the Review-Journal this month that the company, which owns the Tropicana, is still deciding how the demolition plan for the hotel would occur. Options include shutting down the property completely and tearing it down all at once, or closing it in phases as the ballpark construction begins.

“It’s a little too soon for us to give exact dates,” Kim said.

Bally’s Corp. plans to construct a new hotel-casino project on the existing 26 acres of land that would be left after the ballpark is constructed. Land owner Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. would provide the 9 acres to the A’s free of charge. The parcel is valued at $180 million, according to Kim.

Once the ballpark is constructed, the ownership of the land and stadium would be transferred to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, making it a publicly owned facility.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said last week that the A’s Las Vegas relocation could be voted on as early as June, when MLB owners meet in New York. That is based on the A’s ballpark funding bill being passed through the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Joe Lombardo by then.

With the A’s lease at Oakland Coliseum ending at the end of next season, there would be a three-season gap between then and the proposed Las Vegas ballpark being ready for games. That could become a four-year gap should the A’s opt out of their lease a year early, as Oakland fan support amid the relocation process has dwindled.

The A’s have an agreement in place with Howard Hughes Corp., who owns Las Vegas Ballpark, to have the A’s and their Triple-A affiliate, the Aviators, share the ballpark for 2025 and 2026 seasons. Initial work to make that happen is already underway, Aviators President Don Logan told the Review-Journal this month.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg last week alluded to the possibility of the A’s playing temporarily in California’s capital and sharing the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats’ Sutter Health Park, in an interview last week with Sactown Sports 1140.

“Maybe — just maybe — some of the kinds of conversation that you’re just describing — maybe — they are happening and have happened,” Steinberg said. “I can’t confirm or deny. But just maybe they are happening.”

The A’s could not be reached for comment on the possibility of playing in Sacramento.

Sutter Health Park has a capacity of 14,000, compared to 10,000 for Las Vegas Ballpark.

The Aviators would also stay in Las Vegas should the A’s end up in Southern Nevada, setting up a similar system that the Golden Knights and their AHL team, the Henderson Silver Knights, have, as Aguero highlighted during the presentation.

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

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