A’s, Nevada reach tentative deal on Vegas plan
Wilbon: ‘Just sad’ that A’s are leaving for Vegas (1:07)
Michael Wilbon mourns on behalf of Oakland sports fans as the A’s announce they are moving to Las Vegas. (1:07)
ESPN News Services
May 24, 2023, 12:00 PM ET
The Athletics have reached a tentative agreement with Nevada state and local officials on a stadium funding plan after weeks of negotiations over how much public assistance the state will contribute to a $1.5 billion ballpark in Las Vegas, according to a joint statement issued Wednesday.
The tentative agreement between the A’s, the governor’s office, state Treasurer Zach Conine and Clark County officials indicates a funding bill will be introduced in the Nevada Legislature in the coming days with less than two weeks until the legislative session’s end. It still needs approval from both the state Senate and Assembly.
“This agreement follows months of negotiations between the state, the county, and the A’s, and I believe it gives us a tremendous opportunity to continue building on the professional sports infrastructure of southern Nevada,” Gov. Joe Lombardo said in a statement. “Las Vegas is clearly a sports town, and Major League Baseball should be a part of it.”
The threat of a special legislative session looms if lawmakers can’t agree on the bill by the end of the regular session on June 5. The financing is not a sure thing either.
The bill comes on the heels of the Athletics’ purchase of 35 acres for a potential 30,000-seat stadium on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits — a pivot from an earlier agreement that would have required a heftier $500 million price tag that many lawmakers signaled was too high.
The joint statement did not give a specific number for the amount of public assistance the A’s will ask for.
The project includes the most private investment of any stadium in Major League Baseball, Conine said in the release.
“I am excited that we have finally received the A’s proposal and we are currently reviewing it,” state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said in the release. “As I have continuously said throughout this process, no commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members.”
Athletics president Dave Kaval has said he hopes to break ground on a new ballpark next year and open the venue in time for the 2027 season. The A’s have a lease at Oakland Coliseum through 2024, and they could play the 2025 and ’26 seasons at Las Vegas Ballpark, home to their Triple-A affiliate Aviators.
“We’re very appreciative of the support from the State of Nevada and Clark County’s leadership,” A’s president Dave Kaval said in a statement. “… We look forward to advancing this legislation in a responsible way.”
The A’s lost Wednesday to fall to 10-41. They are the third team since 1901 to have a winning percentage below .200 after 51 games, joining Boston (.196) in 1932 and Washington (.188) in 1904.
The A’s had been looking for a new home for years to replace the outdated and run-down Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. It is averaging fewer than 8,700 fans at home through 25 dates this season, by far the lowest among the 30 teams.
Las Vegas would be the fourth home for a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-54. It would become the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to be home to three major professional sports franchises. The team and the city are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit Las Vegas annually to help fill the stadium.
Earlier this month, the A’s reached a deal with the Culinary Union, Nevada’s most politically powerful union that represents more than 60,000 workers in the Las Vegas area, which guarantees that A’s workers have the right to organize and negotiate union contracts.
Information from ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez and The Associated Press was used in this report.