A’s Coming to LAS VEGAS?

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               The Oakland Athletics have reportedly put in an offer for an area of land in the Las Vegas Valley that could potentially be used for a $1 billion new ballpark.  There is talk about the Tropicana Hotel Casino becoming a location for the A's.  I don't think that's going to happen.
               According to team president Dave Kaval, while not specifying where the land was located but saying that trying to secure a site means things are getting more serious for a Southern Nevada stadium.
“We’re kind of moving from a phase of research/data gathering to action around a final site,” Kaval said. “That’s really important because the site selection is a really critical path to keep the process moving forward to where we could have a holistically blessed project.”
              The A’s have been given the green light from Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred back in May to begin exploring Las Vegas as a potential relocation market.
              Team officials have made multiple trips to Vegas to view prospective sites.   Kaval said A’s brass would be returning to the Las Vegas Valley numerous times in December and would be back every two to three weeks thereafter.
              With things progressing quickly, Kaval said the final site could be publicly announced at the beginning of 2022.
              The A’s will need to present MLB officials with a relocation plan once the final site is chosen and they work with area business leaders and officials on a possible financing plan.
              Oakland baseball fans may have hoped that the latest stride for the A’s Howard Terminal ballpark project would slow the club’s relocation efforts, but the A’s are continuing to express interest in Las Vegas.
             Meanwhile, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors tentatively approved a key part of the A’s financing plan for the new Oakland Ballpark, while the team continues a marketing effort in Las Vegas.  Emailing Las Vegas fans a survey through its Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas Aviators, seeking input on the interest and support level for the team moving and developing a ballpark in Southern Nevada.
The Howard Terminal site and the proposed A's ballpark are shown in a rendering supplied by the Oakland A's. (Courtesy of Oakland A's)
               Clearly, the Alameda County Supervisor’s vote did not answer the questions about where the A’s next home will be. On one hand, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff said the vote “creates a clear path to keep the A’s rooted in Oakland” in a waterfront ballpark. Nevada’s governor appears to believe that as well, saying recently that A’s officials are now just using Las Vegas to leverage their interest in Oakland. The email questionnaires are a reminder that at this point, anything is still possible.

               The survey, sent via email with a note reminding that “no decisions about the potential relocation of the A’s or the construction of a new ballpark in Las Vegas have been made”, asks if Aviators fans buy season tickets for other Las Vegas sports teams, including the Raiders, WNBA’s Aces and NHL’s Golden Knights. It also asked for fans’ attitudes about the A’s potentially relocating there, interest level in purchasing season tickets for an MLB team and thoughts on having a new ballpark on the Las Vegas strip or off it. Other topics included whether a ballpark in Vegas should have a roof and fans’ preferred methods of transportation to the strip and elsewhere.
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               The A's continue the hunt for a "Pot of Gold," similar to what Mark Davis, the Raiders Owner, found.  While Kaval seems to not seriously negotiate with Oakland, he appears ready for almost anything that would land him Las Vegas.  Now that Las Vegas has secured the 2024 Super Bowl  it will be interesting to see how that impacts the A's, but it will.  It will either make it easier to raise money or harder for the location and stadium the A's are looking for.

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