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Oakland A’s officials plan to tour Las Vegas next week

Updated May 17, 2021 - 9:05 pm

Oakland Athletics officials will visit Southern Nevada next week to explore moving the Major League Baseball club to Las Vegas.

A group headed by A’s president and co-owner Dave Kaval will meet with area government officials over several days, sources confirmed.

The A’s also are said to be lining up a prominent government relations firm to assist in the fact-finding mission.

Las Vegas is one of six cities that have been mentioned as possible suitors for the A’s, who have failed to make satisfactory progress in getting a new ballpark built in Oakland or its surrounding area.

That was the same scenario that resulted in the NFL’s Raiders relocating from Oakland to Las Vegas.

MLB issued a statement last week saying the Oakland Coliseum was no longer a viable option regarding the A’s future.

“We have instructed the Athletics to begin to explore other markets while they continue to pursue a waterfront ballpark in Oakland,” the statement read in part. “The Athletics need a new ballpark to remain competitive, so it is now in our best interest to also consider other markets.”

Las Vegas is the first city the A’s are planning to visit, the sources confirmed. Part of the reason the A’s plan to visit Southern Nevada first is because reaction to the team possibly moving to Las Vegas has been overwhelmingly positive within the local community.

The A’s are hoping to discuss the possibility of a new ballpark being built in Las Vegas or the surrounding area that would be a private-public partnership, much like the one that resulted in the Raiders moving to Southern Nevada and 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium before the 2020 season. The domed facility cost $2 billion to build, with $750 million of the cost offset by a Clark County room tax.

Also to be discussed, according to sources: Whether the ballpark would need to have a dome or retractable roof to offset the Las Vegas heat during the summer when the crux of games would be played.

As for the location of the new ballpark, it’s probably too early to say.

According to the sources, the opportunity to join the Raiders and the NHL’s Golden Knights in a new facility in the resort corridor would be intriguing from the standpoint of attendance and might appeal to the tourism industry.

Instead of one football or hockey game, a ballpark on the Strip could attract visitors for a three- or four-game series.

But the A’s are also said to be open to discussing opportunities in Henderson or Summerlin, home of the Las Vegas Aviators, their Triple-A farm club.

MLB and Henderson also have flirted with each other. In 2018, the city made a plan to lure the Arizona Diamondbacks to west Henderson in a proposed $1 billion, 36,000-fan-capacity retractable roof stadium.

The deal would have been for a 30-year term, with the stadium being publicly owned, exempt from property tax, the plan said.

The team’s lease at the Coliseum is up in 2024, but the aging venue where the A’s have played since 1968 is having lighting and plumbing issues.

The A’s have had six stadium sites in the Bay Area fall through or stall. In November 2018, they announced they had found a waterfront location for a new ballpark that would cost more than $1 billion, with views of San Francisco, the Bay Bridge and Port of Oakland.

The goal had been to open in 2023, but now, even if approved by Oakland’s City Council this summer, it would not be ready until 2027.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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