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Goodman walks back comments on A’s move to Las Vegas

Updated February 6, 2024 - 7:37 pm

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman went viral Tuesday after she said in an interview that she wished the Oakland Athletics could work out a deal to stay in the Bay Area and not relocate to Southern Nevada.

In the interview with Front Office Sports, Goodman said the A’s planned Las Vegas ballpark at the site of the Tropicana doesn’t make sense because it is located on the Strip, where there’s often heavy traffic.

She also noted that the A’s turned down the chance to build a ballpark in downtown Las Vegas at the Cashman Complex.

“We had entertained them down here (Cashman), we have a very large complex,” Goodman told Front Office Sports. She said the site was approximately 60 acres and that the city “could probably cobble together more land so they could possibly have 100 acres.”

Goodman touched on the site’s benefits, such as a location in a historic part of town where Interstate 15 and U.S. Highway 95 come together, having seven access points and being in an opportunity zone.

“Here’s a great site, they can get a great price on it, because it’s owned by the city. We went out to reach for them, and yet no, they’re gonna go out and want to get closer to the Strip,” she said in the interview.

“With all the congestion and everything, and I thought, ‘This does not make sense.’ And so why’s it happening? And then I thought because they really want to stay in Oakland. They want to be on the water. They have that magnificent dream and yet they can’t get it on.”

When the Las Vegas Review-Journal reached out to Goodman for comment Tuesday morning, she responded that she would send a statement.

After her comments blew up online, Goodman issued a statement noting she is not against the A’s relocating to Las Vegas.

“I want to be clear that I am excited about the prospect of Major League Baseball in Las Vegas, and it very well may be that the Las Vegas A’s will become a reality that we will welcome to our city,” Goodman said in the statement.

Gov. Joe Lombardo reiterated the state’s support of the A’s relocation to Las Vegas after Goodman’s comments became public.

“It was a little frustrating to see the comments made by the mayor, and honestly she pulled back her comments and realized what she had said,” Lombardo told the Review-Journal on Tuesday. “I think it is important for the people of the state and everybody involved with the A’s organization themselves that I’m fully supportive of them relocating here to Las Vegas, and I’m going to do everything in my power as the governor to make it happen.”

Lombardo underscored that the deal does a lot more than just bring the A’s to Las Vegas.

“They’re going to bring construction jobs, operations jobs, incremental visitation, and the revenue generated over the 30-year period of the lease is going to be fantastic,” he said.

Goodman and her husband, former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, have long tried to lure a major league sports team to downtown Las Vegas, with the most recent pushes involving the Cashman site off Las Vegas Boulevard, south of Washington Avenue.

The Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators, under former team names, played minor league baseball at Cashman Field for decades, before moving to Downtown Summerlin’s $150 million Las Vegas Ballpark.

In 2001, then-Mayor Oscar Goodman entertained the idea of building a new ballpark on the Cashman site for a major league team.

That plan included Mandalay Sports, which owned the Las Vegas 51s (Aviators) at the time and was rumored to be interested in purchasing the A’s.

Then, in 2009, there were rumors of attempts to lure the A’s to downtown, when then-A’s owner Lew Wolff wasn’t able to land a stadium deal in Fremont, California.

There were also reports of meetings between Oscar Goodman and former Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, and that the A’s were potentially using Las Vegas as leverage to gain a new Bay Area ballpark.

Mayor elaborates on comments

Goodman said her comments were based on her belief that the A’s would have rather struck a deal with Oakland politicians on a plan that included a mixed-use complex built around a $1 billion ballpark.

The idea ultimately failed to come to fruition after the A’s and Oakland officials could not agree to terms.

“I mentioned the passionate fans of Oakland who often visit our city to cheer on the Raiders,” Goodman said in the statement. “My points included that it is my belief that in their perfect world the ownership of the A’s would like to have a new ballpark on the water in Oakland and that the ownership and government there should listen to their great fans and try to make that dream come true.”

Goodman went on to say that Las Vegas has “shown that it is a spectacular market for major league sports franchises.”

A’s ‘enthusiastic interest in relocating’

With no indication of plans to restart talks in Oakland, all signs point to the A’s moving to Las Vegas.

Those plans include building a $1.5 billion ballpark on 9 acres of the 25-acre Tropicana site. Bally’s plans to build a new resort on the remaining 16 acres.

The A’s and Bally’s plan to release renderings depicting the ballpark and hotel. They haven’t set a date for when those renderings will be unveiled.

The team’s planned ballpark site falls within unincorporated Clark County, not the city of Las Vegas, an area governed by the Clark County Commission.

“The A’s have expressed enthusiastic interest in relocating to the Las Vegas Strip in unincorporated Clark County, and the County worked hard to ensure taxpayers were protected with the agreement the Legislature put in place to bring the A’s to Clark County,” Clark County Commissioner Jim Gibson said in a statement.

Last summer, Lombardo signed a bill earmarking up to $380 million in public funds for the stadium project.

In November, the A’s relocation was unanimously approved by all 30 MLB team owners and Bally’s Corp., which operates the Tropicana.

The Rat Pack-era hotel will April 2 to allow demolition of the property.

The demolition process could take up to one year, which would allow the A’s planned construction to begin in April 2025.

An earlier version of this story included an incorrect figure for the estimated cost of the Las Vegas ballpark.

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

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