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Legislative session runs out on A’s, making Vegas relocation murky



© D. Ross Cameron | 2023 May 26

The Oakland Athletics’ ham-fisted dash toward Las Vegas has been one big speed bump.

When the clock struck midnight Monday, the latest setback for the A’s turned into reality.

The bill that would approve $380 million in public financing to help fund the construction of the Athletics’ proposed new ballpark stalled. Nevada lawmakers reportedly did not vote on the bill.

The Nevada legislature could still consider the Athletics’ proposed package of public funding for their $1.5 billion, 30,000 seat ballpark in a special session called by the governor.

The A’s have a binding deal to purchase about nine acres of the Tropicana Las Vegas site, but any construction and relocation is contingent on both legislative approval of public funding and MLB owners voting to uphold relocation. The latter is the easy part, with commissioner Rob Manfred having been publicly in favor of moving the team from Oakland to Las Vegas, saying he’d waive their relocation fees.

In true Oakland Athletics fashion, the move attempt, led by owner John Fisher, has been rocky from the start. In mid-April, they identified and announced a binding agreement to purchase land owned by Red Rock Resorts with the intention of developing a massive ballpark. Just 20 days later, they backed out of that agreement and found a new one — the Tropicana site.

The franchise has released ballpark renderings that appear to double as advertisements for MGM Grand. In a presentation to a legislative hearing, they goosed up their estimated attendance, saying they could draw 2.6 million people annually — which would require regular sellouts in an MLB schedule.

In their presentation to Las Vegas politicians, the A’s said that the ballpark would be projected to open in 2028 if approved this year. That’s despite the franchise’s frustrations with plans that would keep the A’s in Northern California being that they would take too long.

The A’s introduced their bill to the Nevada Legislature with 11 days left in their session. The rushed effort came after years of trying to find a new stadium site in Northern California. When the A’s announced that their sole focus was moving to Las Vegas, Oakland stakeholders ceased negotiations with the franchise on the multi-billion dollar Howard Terminal proposal.

Since then, Oakland mayor Sheng Thao has said that the city would return to the negotiating table — if team ownership changes.