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‘They’re coming’: A’s nonrelocation plan would tie team to Vegas for 30 years

Updated May 17, 2024 - 8:56 am

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority on Thursday got a look at the Oakland Athletics’ draft plan that would tie the team to play in Las Vegas for at least 30 years.

The nonrelocation agreement, presented to the authority board Thursday afternoon, is the third of four major agreements that must be approved by the authority, as required by Senate Bill 1, the public financing mechanism for the team’s planned ballpark. The bill earmarked up to $380 million in public funding to go toward the construction of the $1.5 billion stadium.

The A’s plan to build the 33,000-seat ballpark on 9 acres of the 36-acre Tropicana site.

Tropicana owner Bally’s Corp. closed the hotel last month and have begun preparing the property for full demolition, already tearing down some portions of the building. Plans call for the demolition process to be completed by April 1, with the A’s slated to then begin construction on the stadium, and for play to begin in 2028.

After Thursday’s meeting, Stadium Authority Chairman Steve Hill said the Oakland A’s Southern Nevada ballpark process is on track with the team’s development agreement set to be introduced this summer.

“We’ve have now a year’s worth of experience with the A’s. It’s been an easy, professional productive set of conversations,” he said. “Things are just moving at the pace that they need to move. It has not veered off on tangents that we wouldn’t expect or seem out of line or irrational. … It’s just been a very workmanlike effort.”

The authority presented the A’s lease agreement last October and approved the community benefits plan earlier this year. The development agreement is the lone agreement yet to be presented, while the lease and nonrelocation agreements still need to be approved by the board at a later date.

Possible partners?

The outstanding development agreement is attracting the most attention. It will detail how the A’s plan to pay for their $1 billion-plus share of the cost of the planned $1.5 billion ballpark. The A’s are in talks with investment firm Galatioto Sports Partners to possibly help secure $500 million from investors toward the construction costs. The development agreement also will lay out the stadium’s construction plan.

While the A’s are considering bringing in investors for a share of ownership, Hill said he is confident that owner John Fisher has the means to finance the ballpark project himself.

“I think John is looking at options, I don’t think it is necessarily out of need,” Hill said. “I think it is to make sure that the funding is the most efficient for the A’s.”

The lease agreement details the A’s ballpark lease. Its ownership will transfer to the authority once construction is completed. The lease is expected to be for 30 years, the same as spelled out in the nonrelocation agreement, and be for $0.

Each of the four agreements is similar to the ones presented by the Raiders and approved by the stadium authority during the process leading to the development of Allegiant Stadium.

‘They’re coming’

With the ballpark process moving along, Hill said he hasn’t paid much attention to doubters of the project, which is also similar to some of the reaction during the lead-up to Allegiant Stadium being built and the Raiders relocating to the Las Vegas Valley.

“I think they’ve (the A’s) been pretty darn clear of what they’re doing — they’re coming,” Hill said. “They’ve said they can finance this stadium; they are going to play baseball here in 2028. And frankly I think it is just fun (for people) to create some drama around it and that’s happening… But it doesn’t change the facts of the matter, which is they’ve (the A’s) said what they’re going to do and they’re just doing it.”

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

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