• Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

Oakland A’s Agree To Land Deal Setting Up Team’s Expected Move to Las Vegas

Bynewsmagzines

Apr 20, 2023
Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics will leave the RingCentral Coliseum, located next to the former Oracle Arena, in Oakland, California. (CoStar)

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A yearslong debate over the Oakland Athletics’ future in the the Major League Baseball team’s longtime San Francisco Bay Area home is poised for a settlement with an agreement to buy a Las Vegas property slated to become its future ballpark.

Team executives said Thursday they reached a binding deal for a 49-acre plot near the Las Vegas Strip where the team plans to build a $1.5 billion, 35,000-seat ballpark developed through a mix of public and private financing. The decision, which has already garnered the Major League Baseball Association’s blessing, will mean the team could relocate from Oakland, California, to Nevada as soon as the end of the 2024 season.

“We can’t keep playing in the current venue any longer,” Oakland A’s team president Dave Kaval said in a statement. “We just don’t generate much revenue in Oakland. With increased spending across the league, we have seen ourselves at an increasing disadvantage and that’s made it even more imperative that we get this ballpark situation solved.”

The A’s are expected to kick in about $1 billion of private capital to the deal, with the city of Las Vegas contributing another $500 million to build the new ballpark. Casino company Red Rock Resorts is selling the land to the A’s for about $225 million.

The team is currently running on a 10-year lease with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum that will expire with the culmination of the 2024 season. It hasn’t had discussions to potentially extend the lease, Kaval said, even though the team doesn’t expect its new Las Vegas ballpark to be ready until at least the 2027 season.

With one foot already out the door, the team has struck a deal with the Las Vegas Aviators to use its ballpark for the interim seasons. The Aviators are a Minor League Baseball team in the Pacific Coast League and the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics who play their home games at Las Vegas Ballpark, a 10,000-seat facility that opened in 2019 in the Summerlin South neighborhood of Las Vegas.

While the official relocation hasn’t yet been finalized, the team’s departure could deal a significant blow to Oakland’s already fragile economy. For the past several years, team executives and city officials have traded barbs over how and where to build a new stadium to keep the team from moving elsewhere.

The A’s had been negotiating plans to build a $1 billion, privately financed 35,000-seat waterfront ballpark at Oakland’s Howard Terminal. The proposal had included a multi-billion-dollar development that would have included 3,000 residential units; up to 1.5 million square feet of commercial space; as much as 270,000 square feet for retail; an indoor 3,500-seat performance center; 400 hotel rooms and nearly 20 acres of publicly accessible open space.

Following the team’s pending land purchase in Las Vegas, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao said the city will end its efforts to negotiate the waterfront ballpark development deal and accused the A’s of negotiating with the city in bad faith.

“I am deeply disappointed that the A’s have chosen not to negotiate with the city of Oakland as a true partner, in a way that respects the long relationship between the fans, the city and the team,” Thao said. “The city has gone above and beyond in our attempts to arrive at mutually beneficial terms to keep the A’s in Oakland. In the last three months, we’ve made significant strides to close the deal. Yet, it is clear to me that the A’s have no intention of staying in Oakland and have simply been using this process to try to extract a better deal out of Las Vegas. I am not interested in continuing to play that game — the fans and our residents deserve better.”

The Oakland A’s still need to draft and finalize the terms of a public-private partnership to help finance the new Las Vegas stadium. It will also need formal approval from MLB owners to relocate via a 75% vote.

“We support the A’s turning their focus on Las Vegas and look forward to them bringing finality to this process by the end of the year,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

If the relocation is approved, Oakland will have lost three major professional sports teams within five years. The Golden State Warriors basketball team moved across the bay to San Francisco in 2019, and the National Football League’s Raiders moved to Las Vegas in 2020.

The Oakland A’s have been based in the East Bay city since 1968.

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