The Athletics' meandering efforts to relocate from Oakland to Las Vegas seemed to take another turn in the club's desired direction on Wednesday, as Nevada governor Joe Lombardo announced a tentative agreement on a bill for public financing on a new ballpark located near the Strip. The bill will now be advanced to the state legislature. Here's the press release in whole:
A’s and state leadership announce tentative agreement to bring the MLB team to Vegas. #vegas #athletics #mlb pic.twitter.com/t5dzMRuy1M— Mick Akers (@mickakers) May 24, 2023
On Tuesday, the Nevada Independent reported that the A's and some prominent state of Nevada officials had reached an agreement on public financing for a new $1.5 billion ballpark located in Las Vegas; however, the level of public funding is expected to be significantly less than the $395 million — or the original $500 million — the club had been seeking.
Tabitha Mueller and Howard Stutz wrote:
"According to sources with knowledge of the discussions, the public financing package that will be presented to lawmakers will be lower than the initial threshold of $195 million in transferable tax credits the state set last week, and see a similar reduction from the initial request of $200 million in bonds backed by Clark County."
Approval by the Nevada state legislature is still required for any agreement to be formalized.
The financing agreement comes days after the A's reached an agreement with Bally's to build a new baseball stadium on the Strip in Las Vegas. In April, the club entered what was characterized as a binding agreement to purchase land for a ballpark on Tropicana Avenue from Red Rocks Resorts and parent company Station Casinos. However, in early May, the club began exploring backup options to the Red Rocks property, in large measure because they had been unsuccessful in securing that desired figure of $500 million in public funding for the stadium project. After that, the club reportedly lowered their ask to $395 million worth of public money, likely in the form of tax credits and the creation of a special taxation district to defray construction costs. That, in turn, led to them the Bally's site on the other side of Tropicana Avenue from their original target location. As the numbers above suggest, the new reported informal agreement will not amount to $395 million in public financing.
Any move by the A's to Las Vegas or anywhere else will require approval from MLB's other 29 teams. However, given Rob Manfred's public support of the club's relocation efforts, such approval seems likely.
Assuming a move is finalized, the A's aim to have a new Las Vegas stadium completed in time for the 2027 season. Their lease in Oakland runs through the 2024 season, and they may look to bridge the gap between venues by playing the 2025 and 2026 seasons at the home of their current Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.
If the A's succeed in relocating to Las Vegas, they will become just the second Major League Baseball team in recent history to move across state lines. The most recent occurrence saw the Montreal Expos, then owned by the league, relocate to Washington, D.C. and become the Nationals. That move took place before the 2005 season. The A's have called Oakland home since 1968.