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Public funding in play as A’s narrow Las Vegas sites to 2

Updated May 22, 2022 - 3:19 pm

Some form of public assistance could be made available to help lure the Oakland Athletics to Las Vegas, according to Steve Hill, CEO and president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

A’s President Dave Kaval was in Las Vegas on Thursday for meetings with area landowners and officials, including Hill. An A’s source said the team’s search for a Las Vegas ballpark site has entered the final stretch, with the team down to two possible locations.

Kaval wasn’t available for comment regarding the trip, but the source said he had “a number of successful meetings,” with the hopes of announcing a final site soon.

Earlier this month, the A’s had a list of five possible ballpark sites, so the elimination of three indicates the process could wrap up soon.

Kaval didn’t talk with the media following this week’s trip because the team doesn’t want to negotiate publicly, the source said.

Throughout the yearlong relocation exploration, most state and local politicians have been adamant that they oppose using public money to help fund a potential A’s ballpark.

That no longer appears to be the case, though a room tax still seems to be off the table.

Hill said there are means of assistance outside of a room tax that could benefit the A’s if the team relocates to Southern Nevada.

“There’s a spectrum of possibilities for that partnership and I think it’s worthwhile to explore some of them,” Hill said. “I think there’s a broad set of options that could be helpful in making this move forward.

“I don’t think it’s really the right use of room tax,” he added. “But, I do think there’s some methods to make a contribution that probably could and do make sense.”

Hill wouldn’t specify what those options could be.

Kaval previously noted one option the A’s are considering is to purchase land outright and build a mixed-use project with a $1 billion domed stadium as the centerpiece. The other option is partnering with an established resort entity and building a stadium along with a hotel-casino. Both sites in play are within the Strip resort corridor.

The A’s have been exploring relocation since May 2021, after Major League Baseball gave the OK to pursue options outside of Oakland once it deemed the team’s current home, RingCentral Coliseum, as not a viable option for the future.

The team has been pursuing “parallel paths,” as Kaval likes to call it, working with Oakland officials on a potential waterfront development at the Port of Oakland’s Howard Terminal. The $12 billion mixed-use development would include residential, commercial, hotel and public space centered on a $1 billion waterfront ballpark.

A key vote is expected June 30 when the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission considers removing the port designation from the Howard Terminal site, which would allow the project to proceed. Without removal of the port designation, the ballpark project would be all but dead.

The A’s also must still come to terms with the city of Oakland on a development agreement. No date for a vote has been set, with the A’s pushing for the city council to hold a vote before taking a summer break in July.

Hill said he doesn’t see this as a competition between Las Vegas and Oakland.

“We’re going to put our best foot forward and we’re going to explain what we think we bring to a partnership like that and if it makes sense for them and it makes sense for us, then let’s get this done,” Hill said. “If something else makes better sense for them (A’s), we understand that. We’re going to have a lot of opportunities. This is a great one, but we’re really not in competition with other cities.”

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

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