Dave Kaval, president of the Oakland Athletics, has confirmed that the Major League Baseball team has signed a binding agreement to acquire land near the Las Vegas Strip to build a new ballpark.
The deal, which the team has agreed with Red Rock Resorts, covers a 49-acre site at Dean Martin Drive and Tropicana Avenue.
Kaval confirmed to the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the A’s plan on building a $1.5bn (£1.2bn/€1.4bn), 30,000-seat stadium on the site. The ballpark would feature a partially retractable roof, with the wider complex to also include food and beverage outlets and an amphitheatre.
The A’s currently play in Oakland at the Coliseum (pictured), but the team’s lease expires in 2024. The team has been exploring options to build a stadium in Las Vegas and has also pursued plans to construct a new venue in Oakland as part of a $12bn mixed-use project at the Howard Terminal site.
The land agreement for the site near the Las Vegas Strip seemingly ends hopes of the A’s remaining in Oakland. The deal is for the land only and the team will have the option to acquire a further eight acres at a later date.
“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,” Kaval told the Review-Journal.
“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.”
In a statement provided to the Review-Journal, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the league supports the decision by the A’s to focus on Las Vegas. Manfred added that the league looks forward to the A’s bringing “finality” to the process by the end of the year.
In December, Manfred increased the pressure on the A’s and the City of Oakland to seal an agreement for a new ballpark, stating 2023 would be a “crucial year” in determining the franchise’s future. Manfred also confirmed the team would not be hit with a relocation fee should it choose to move to Las Vegas.
The site chosen by the A’s is a short distance from Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders, and T-Mobile Arena, home of the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. The Raiders themselves relocated from Oakland and used to share the Coliseum with the A’s.
Kaval added: “It’s really in the sports district. So you have all the stadiums kind of clustered in one spot. I think that creates a powerful zone, a kind of energy to it that will benefit the community and also help us be successful running a baseball team.”
Kaval also said that plans are being explored to build a pedestrian bridge connecting the A’s stadium to T-Mobile Arena. He has targeted the 2027 season as a potential opening date for the new stadium, with plans to break ground next year.
The A’s will now pursue a public-private partnership to fund the stadium project. The team’s decision to focus its stadium efforts on Las Vegas has been met with criticism from Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao.
“I am deeply disappointed that the A’s have chosen not to negotiate with the City of Oakland as a true partner, in a way that respects the long relationship between the fans, the City and the team,” she said in a statement reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
“The City has gone above and beyond in our attempts to arrive at mutually beneficial terms to keep the A’s in Oakland. In the last three months, we’ve made significant strides to close the deal. Yet, it is clear to me that the A’s have no intention of staying in Oakland and have simply been using this process to try to extract a better deal out of Las Vegas. I am not interested in continuing to play that game – the fans and our residents deserve better.”
The A’s have played at the Coliseum since 1968. If the team does relocate to Las Vegas, it would be the third major-league franchise to leave Oakland in the space of five years, after the Raiders moved to Vegas in 2020 and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors moved to San Francisco in 2019.