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A’s, Nevada leaders reach tentative deal to bring MLB team to Las Vegas

Updated May 24, 2023 - 7:02 pm

The Oakland Athletics and Nevada leaders have struck a tentative agreement to bring forward a bill that could lead to the MLB team’s relocation to Las Vegas.

Gov. Joe Lombardo on Wednesday announced the agreement between his office, the A’s, state Treasurer Zach Conine and Clark County officials.

“This agreement follows months of negotiations between the state, the county and the A’s, and I believe it gives us a tremendous opportunity to continue building on the professional sports infrastructure of southern Nevada,” Lombardo said in a statement. “Las Vegas is clearly a sports town, and Major League Baseball should be a part of it.”

The A’s stadium funding bill, which would provide up to $380 million in tax support for a $1.5 billion ballpark, still needs to be introduced in the Legislature, passed by state lawmakers in Carson City and signed into law by Lombardo.

“We’re very appreciative of the support from the State of Nevada and Clark County’s leadership,” A’s President Dave Kaval said in a statement. “We want to thank Governor Lombardo, the Legislative leadership, the Treasurer, and Clark County Commissioners and staff on the collaborative process. We look forward to advancing this legislation in a responsible way.”

Deal details

The tentative agreement includes the creation of a sports and entertainment improvement district for a planned 30,000-seat, retractable-roof stadium located on the southeast corner of the Tropicana Las Vegas resort site. Taxes generated in that district would be used to repay some of the public funding for the project.

The A’s stadium would take up 9 acres of the 35-acre site and lead to the demolition of the hotel-casino. Bally’s Corp., owner of the Tropicana, would look to construct a new resort project on the remaining acreage at a later date.

Under the terms of the proposed bill, public financing would make up less than 25 percent of the stadium’s construction funding. That would be the third-lowest public funding share of the 14 MLB stadiums built since 2001.

The public’s contribution would include $185 million from the state in transferable tax credits, of which $90 million would be repaid over time from stadium revenues, people with knowledge of the proposed bill told the Review-Journal.

Clark County’s share would total $145 million, with $120 million via bonds that would be repaid from the newly created tax district. The county also would foot the bill for $25 million in infrastructure improvements at the stadium site. Those infrastructure upgrades include utilities, roadway and pedestrian improvements, and money for fire and police protection.

Clark County also would agree to a 30-year property tax exemption on the stadium site, bringing the total cost to the public to between $350 million and $380 million.

The A’s would be responsible for any amount that surpasses $380 million.

“This tentative agreement minimizes the risk to Nevada taxpayers in the most fiscally responsible manner,” Conine said. “I’m also pleased that this project will leverage the most private investment of any baseball stadium in the country.”

The A’s began evaluating Las Vegas as a potential home in May 2021, after the A’s and MLB deemed the aging Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum unfit as a future home.

Until last month, the A’s were simultaneously pursuing new stadiums in Las Vegas and Oakland. When negotiations with Bay Area officials on the $12 billion Howard Terminal project stalled, the A’s turned their full attention to Las Vegas.

Lawmaker reaction

The tentative agreement for a Las Vegas ballpark comes with less than two weeks remaining in the Nevada Legislature’s regular session.

“I am excited that we have finally received the A’s proposal and we are currently reviewing it,” said Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas.

“As I have continuously said throughout this process, no commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members. At the end of the day, any decision will be guided by what is best for Nevadans, our economy and our communities.”

Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, said the proposal will be given full consideration in the Senate before the end of the regular session.

“Over the time we have remaining during this session, we will give this proposal a thorough vetting to fully explore the opportunity and its impacts on Southern Nevada,” Cannizzaro said in a statement.

More than 14,000 construction jobs would be created by the project, according to the parties involved. Upon completion, the ballpark and land would be transferred to the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, making it a publicly owned facility, sources indicated.

“Clark County has been working diligently to negotiate a deal that will protect the taxpayers of Clark County as well as the finances of Clark County government in our negotiations with stakeholders, and in reviewing this proposal, we believe it is reflective of the prudent financial practices of Clark County,” Clark County said in a statement.

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

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