A’s try dual strategy with Oakland and Vegas for stadium

After key deadline passes, team negotiates with city while talking to casino owners

A’s president Dave Kaval with the Tropicana Casino and Las Vegas Festival Ground (Getty, Google Maps, Circus Circus LV)
A’s president Dave Kaval with the Tropicana Casino and Las Vegas Festival Ground (Getty, Google Maps, Circus Circus LV)

The Oakland A’s prospects of a new stadium in their home city could be in jeopardy after they and Oakland missed a deadline last week to come to a development agreement.

Now the team could be looking at relocation, with executives touring sites in Las Vegas just over a month ago, according to a report by the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Now that the deadline has passed, it looks like any public vote on the new stadium won’t take place until 2023. Another deadline facing the A’s is their lease agreement for their current home at the Coliseum, which runs through 2024. Without coming to an agreement for the proposed $12 billion Howard Terminal project, including a $1 billion waterfront ballpark, a vote on the project this year is highly unlikely, Ed Reiskin, Oakland city administrator, said last month.

Even with the missed deadline, the city is confident in negotiations moving forward.

“The city and Oakland A’s continue to negotiate the terms of the development agreement, including community benefits, and the other necessary agreements and entitlements for the project,” Karen Boyd, the city’s spokesperson, told TRD. “Negotiations on the proposed development are active and positive. Once there is agreement on terms, the city will update the timeline.”

One of the big points of disagreement is the percentage of affordable housing that will be part of the development. The city has stated the project needs to have 15 percent affordable housing, while the A’s have committed to nothing more than 5 percent.

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With their future in Oakland uncertain, the A’s are negotiating deals on two sites in Las Vegas, according to the Review-Journal. The team is in discussions with Phil Ruffin, owner of the Treasure Island and Circus Circus casinos, about the 38-acre Las Vegas Festival Grounds site on the north Strip. The two sides have met multiple times in Oakland and Las Vegas to discuss the site’s potential for an MLB stadium.

Clark County Commissioner Tick Segerblom last month called the talks between Ruffin and the A’s “very high level,” and said a ballpark project is “doable.”

Talks are also underway with Bally’s, which owns the Tropicana Casino. Soohyung Kim, Bally’s chairman, said earlier this year that the company would “almost certainly” look to redevelop the 35-acre site. One of those possibilities is demolishing the Tropicana and building an MLB ballpark on the south Strip.

The A’s might be enticed by the possible financial benefits of moving a sports team to Las Vegas. After years of calling Oakland their home, the Raiders relocated to Vegas in 2020. During their last season in Oakland, the team was valued at $2.9 billion. It has a current value of $5.1 billion, according to Forbes. In 2019, the team generated $357 million in revenue, while in 2021 the total reached $563 million.

For supporters of the Howard Terminal project, the A’s missing this deadline is concerning, given that local elections are scheduled next month and city government could look a lot different next year, which means negotiations could reset. Mayor Libby Schaaf, one of the biggest proponents of the project, is termed out this year and will not be in power next session.

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