Newly elected Nevada. Gov. Joe Lombardo reportedly met with officials from the Oakland Athletics regarding the club’s potential move to Las Vegas, which could affect Strip sites currently occupied by casino-hotels.
The Republican governor is apparently opposed to creating new taxes to lure the Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise to Las Vegas, but he could be open to exploring other avenues for bringing the team to Nevada’s largest city. It’s believed the team wants some form of public financial assistance in its quest to build a $1 billion stadium in Las Vegas — a notion balked at by Lombardo’s predecessor, Democrat Steve Sisolak.
Las Vegas contributed $750 million toward the construction of Allegiant Stadium — home of the NFL’s Raiders. On multiple occasions, Las Vegas has dipped into its reserve fund to service that debt. To date, Clark County’s credit rating hasn’t been adversely affected by those moves, but appetite for taxpayers assisting in stadium builds is waning across the country.
Further pressuring the efforts of the A’s and MLB to procure county and state funds for a Las Vegas stadium are the facts the $375 million tab for T-Mobile Arena — home of the NHL’s Golden Knights — was privately fund as are efforts for another Strip-area arena that could be used to lure an NBA franchise to Sin City.
Tropicana Still Alive as Possible Stadium Site
The A’s-to-Las Vegas rumor is long-running and over the past several years, it’s been speculated that the MLB considered multiple sites along the Strip for a stadium.
More recently, that speculation centered around two sites — Tropicana and 37-acre fairgrounds and recreational vehicle (RV) park near Circus Circus. However, Circus Circus owner Phil Ruffin recently indicated he hasn’t been in contact with the A’s. Conversely, a Bally’s executive confirmed the gaming company, which operates Tropicana, has been in talks with the A’s.
Gaming and Leisure Properties owns Tropicana’s real estate and has previously mentioned it would work with Bally’s in the event casino-hotel is eliminated in favor of a ballpark.
A’s leadership previously expressed interest in the fairgrounds site, but for now, Tropicana could be in the pole position, assuming the team executes the move to Las Vegas.
A’s-to-Vegas Far From Done Deal
While MLB signed off on the A’s leaving Oakland, there’s belief that the team wants to stay in its current city and is hoping a major redevelopment of a 56-acre terminal at the Port of Oakland, including a new stadium.
In other words, the team may be using Las Vegas as leverage to get what it wants out of Oakland. In a recent media interview, Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft notes the A’s approach to Las Vegas is far different from that of the Las Vegas Raiders. Whereas the NFL team was clear in its commitment to the city, the MLB club isn’t there yet.
Naft also pointed out that Allegiant Stadium fills gaps for events such as other concerts and other marquee sporting events, potentially rendering a baseball stadium on that front.
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