Nevada’s Bet on the Oakland A’s Is Causing Buyer’s Remorse
There are some big signs that the people of Las Vegas and the state of Nevada are getting genuine buyer’s remorse over the Oakland Athletics.
Last summer, Nevada’s state legislature approved a $380 million bill toward funding a proposed $1.5 billion new stadium for the A’s in Las Vegas. In November 2023, the A’s secured the unanimous approval of Major League Baseball owners to relocate from Oakland, California, to Las Vegas, Nevada, where the team would begin playing at its new stadium in 2028.
Where’s the plan for the new stadium?
At this point, all the A’s ownership had to do was create a concrete plan to build that stadium. They were already claiming the land the famed Tropicana Hotel and Casino currently occupies on the Las Vegas Strip, whose operators recently announced they would shut their doors in April 2024. They were supposed to deliver detailed renderings of the stadium that would be built and their plan to finance it by January 17, 2024.
But they have blown that deadline. There is no evidence that the A’s have a viable stadium design for the nine-acre site.
Where will the Oakland A’s play?
The A’s ownership also has a big hole where their plan for where the team will play its home games from 2025 to 2028 should be. While the team will play its 2024 season in the Oakland Coliseum, that’s the last season they’re expected to play there. The team was reportedly exploring options to play at a new baseball stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah, or the Sutter Health Park in Sacramento, California. The latter stadium is home to the minor league Sacramento River Cats.
Where’s the money?
There are also signs that A’s ownership doesn’t have the money to make it happen. Team owner John Fisher spoke to the Las Vegas Chamber at the end of January 2024. He pitched the prospect of selling a large share of the ownership of the A’s to local businessmen. The response among those who should be some of the A’s largest boosters was unenthusiastic, to say the least.
That event had followed the disclosure that Fisher’s Athletics Investment Group contributed $112,000 to state and local lawmakers who supported the $380 million in Nevada taxpayer dollars that would benefit the A’s. While it’s incredible what kind of return you can get by donating money to politicians if you’re a special interest, it’s not a way to build popularity with the people who vote for them. People who sense they will be stuck with a much bigger bill than they were sold.
It has gotten to the point where even the mayor of Las Vegas thinks the Athletics Investment Group needs to rethink its plans to move to Las Vegas:
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman wants the Oakland Athletics to remain in the Bay Area, saying the team rejected an offer for land near the city’s downtown.
Goodman was interviewed on the Front Office Sports Today podcast, released Tuesday, about the A’s stadium situation.
The team said it plans to develop a ballpark on the site of the Tropicana hotel-casino, which lies in unincorporated Clark County and outside Las Vegas city limits.
The mayor told Front Office Sports that she doesn’t believe the site makes sense and the team should consider staying in Oakland.
Goodman evidently heard from a number of the politicians who banked campaign contributions from the Oakland A’s. She has since walked back some of her statement, but the damage to public support in Las Vegas from her statement is still unfolding.
It’s looking increasingly like the Oakland A’s are becoming a team without a town.