After nearly two years of playing Las Vegas versus Oakland, it appears as though the A’s have finally decided to move the Major League Baseball team to Sin City. The first pitch for the Las Vegas A’s could take place in 2027.
On Wednesday night A’s President Dave Kaval revealed that the team has reached an agreement with Las Vegas casino conglomerate Red Rock Resorts (Station Casinos’ parent company). The A’s agreed to acquire 49 acres of land near the Vegas Strip.
The land on Tropicana Ave. is just west of T-Mobile Arena and Interstate 15. It used to be home to Wild Wild West casino but Station Casinos closed the property last year. Kaval told the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
“For a while, we were on parallel paths (with Oakland), but we have turned our attention to Las Vegas to get a deal here for the A’s and find a long-term home…Oakland has been a great home for us for over 50 years, but we really need this 20-year saga completed and we feel there’s a path here in Southern Nevada to do that.”
Support all around for the A’s move out of Oakland
Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo supports the move because it will help generate more jobs and increase economic impact for southern Nevada. However, this isn’t a done deal yet.
The state will be supporting the project and multiple votes must happen before the project can move forward. According to the Nevada Independent, this deal will include public assistance:
“The plan would be to pass a bill through the Legislature to create a funding mechanism, including a special taxation district covering the stadium site, which would allow for sales tax proceeds to be reinvested in the area, along with an allocation of transferable tax credits estimated to be worth around $500 million. Clark County would also have to sign off on a new taxing district.”
Once this deal between the local municipalities and A’s is completed, the team will approach MLB for permission to move. MLB Commissioner Bob Manfred has repeatedly said the league will support the A’s move from Oakland.
Where will the Las Vegas A’s play?
The move to Las Vegas means that the A’s are moving on from the proposed multi-billion dollar Waterfront Stadium District project in Oakland.
The A’s plan for Las Vegas includes a $1 billion 30,000-35,000 seat stadium with a partially retractable roof on 49 acres of land. Construction is tentatively planned to begin next year with a stadium opening targeted for 2027.
Coincidentally, there’s currently a massive construction project taking place at Tropicana and Interstate 15. Work making this area easier to access is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2024. Even if the roadwork is delayed, all infrastructure in the area should be finished before the A’s begin play.
The A’s lease in Oakland ends after the 2024 season. The team hasn’t said where it will play its games until 2027.
Las Vegas Ballpark, across from Red Rock Casino, could house the team. This is currently the home stadium of the A’s AAA team, Las Vegas Aviators.
Since the stadium will be relatively small, part of the land could be further developed to include restaurants, an amphitheater, and more. Altogether, The total bill for the project is expected to be around $1.5 billion.
The area could further be developed by Red Rock Resorts, which is only selling 49 of 100 acres of land.
Frequent visitors to Las Vegas will be happy to know that the popular In N Out Burger on the corner of Tropicana and Dean Martin isn’t part of this deal and should remain open. Between construction and A’s games, the lines may become longer than ever.
Over the past couple of years, the A’s had their eyes on building an MLB stadium on the Vegas Strip. The two possible locations were land near Circus Circus and the Tropicana.
While the former Wild Wild West land is within walking distance from T-Mobile Arena, it’s not on the Vegas Strip. A pedestrian bridge above Interstate 15 could be built to make walking access from the Vegas Strip safer.
A’s are having a historically bad season
So far this season the A’s have the worst attendance in MLB. Through 11 games the A’s are averaging 10,926 fans for a total of 120,196.
For comparison, the Los Angeles Dodgers have seen 549,031 in attendance for 11 home games this year. The Las Vegas Aviators have had larger crowds than the major league team on multiple occasions over the past two seasons.
The situation on the field isn’t any better. Oakland has s 3-16 record. This is the worst start in the long 123-year history of the team. This slow start projects to a 30-132 record by the end of the season.
If this move becomes official, this would be the first MLB team to move in 20 years. The last team to move was when the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington.
Las Vegas would be the fourth home for the A’s who started in Philadelphia in 1901. The team moved to Kansas City in 1955 before heading to Oakland in 1968.
Kaval expects a mostly local fanbase
The Las Vegas Raiders also moved from Oakland and don’t have much of a home-field advantage. A report earlier this year shows that more than 60% of fans at the last five Raiders games at Allegiant Stadium weren’t from Las Vegas.
NFL teams have eight home games usually played on Sunday. This is perfect for weekend Vegas vacations for visiting fans. MLB has a much different schedule comprised of 81 home games played every day of a week for more than half the calendar year.
Kaval expects the A’s to draw a different crowd in Las Vegas:
“About 70 percent of our fans are going to be locals, so we want to make sure we cater to them, to have a great experience at the ballpark. And this location will do that.”
The planned location for the A’s stadium would be easily accessible for locals and tourists.