Odds Increasing for A’s to Follow Raiders to Las Vegas

How does the Las Vegas A’s sound to you? Because it’s sounding increasingly probable for the Athletics to become Sin City’s first major-league baseball team — as well as the second major-league sports team it steals from Oakland.

Las Vegas Festival Grounds
Las Vegas Festival Grounds
The Las Vegas Festival Grounds includes 38 acres of land owned by Phil Ruffin on the north Strip at Sahara Avenue. Reportedly, it is the spot the Oakland A’s are most seriously eyeing to build a new baseball stadium. (Image: ktnv.com)

According to the A’s and Major League Baseball (MLB), a deal needs to be in place between the Oakland A’s and the city of Oakland by year’s end for the Howard Terminal project. That’s the $12 billion waterfront development that the A’s and MLB insist is required to keep them in the East Bay city.

That means that negotiations on a deal would need to conclude before the end of next week for a city council vote to happen this year. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, however, those negotiations are currently at an impasse, at the same time A’s officials continue negotiating for potential Las Vegas ballpark sites.

“The community, the fans … should be concerned because this all should have been done by now,” Oakland city council member Dan Kalb told the R-J this week. “If you really want (the Howard Terminal project) to happen, you better go talk to the A’s and get them to start making sure they’re willing to give us a good deal.”

The end-of-year deadline exists because Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, a driving force behind Howard Terminal, is out next year due to term limits, and other champions of the proposal may lose their city council seats as well.

Ring Out the Old

Athletics officials have already stated that they will not renew their lease at the now 55-year-old RingCentral Coliseum when it ends in 2025.

“The Oakland Coliseum site is not a viable option for the future vision of baseball,” MLB said in a statement last year. “We have instructed the Athletics to begin to explore other markets while they continue to pursue a waterfront ballpark in Oakland. The Athletics need a new ballpark to remain competitive, so it is now in our best interest to also consider other markets.”

The Howard Terminal proposal is for a mixed-use project on 56 waterfront acres built around a $1 billion privately funded new stadium for the A’s. It also includes 3,000 units of affordable housing, 18 acres of public parks, office and retail space, an amphitheater and a hotel.

The A’s would fund the stadium’s construction, Oakland the necessary offsite infrastructure. However, Oakland officials said in a memorandum on Tuesday that they had not yet secured the more than $321 million in grants that would require, nor the nearly $183 million more now required from the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) due to rising costs. (According to the R-J, the city “wasn’t confident any portion of the USDOT grant would be awarded.”)

Love at First Stadium Site

The R-J story quoted a source close to Phil Ruffin, who said the casino tycoon met with A’s officials at least twice in the past month about building a $1 billion stadium on the 38 acres Ruffin owns that currently functions as the Las Vegas Festival Grounds at the northeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue.

The R-J also reported that the current Tropicana site is also actively in play to host the A’s new stadium. However, Bally’s, which purchased the 35-acre property last year for $308 million, seems to be leaning toward demolishing and building a new hotel there.


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