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Design & Development

Oakland A’s ‘switch focus’ to new site for Vegas ballpark

Tropicana Las Vegas

Featured image credit: Jeff Hitchcock/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size

Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Oakland Athletics has changed course on its plans for a new ballpark in Las Vegas, according to multiple reports, by entering into a new land acquisition deal.

The A’s have signed a deal with entertainment company Bally’s Corporation to build a $1.5bn (£1.19bn/€1.37bn), 30,000-seat stadium on land where the Tropicana Las Vegas currently sits, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The newspaper, citing a person with knowledge of the agreement, said the casino resort, located at its namesake street and Las Vegas Boulevard, would be demolished to make way for a partially retractable roof stadium on nine of the site’s 35 acres.

Yesterday’s (Tuesday’s) latest development comes after Dave Kaval, president of the A’s, last month confirmed that the team had signed a binding agreement to acquire land near the Las Vegas Strip to build a new ballpark. The deal, which the team agreed with Red Rock Resorts, covered a 49-acre site at Dean Martin Drive and Tropicana Avenue.

The decision to switch focus is said to revolve around the A’s seeking to reduce the project’s dependency on public funding from the Nevada Legislature, from $500m to $395m. The new deal is believed to include Bally’s having an option to construct a new hotel-casino on the remaining land.

Speaking on an earnings call yesterday, ahead of the new developments in the story, Bally’s president George Papanier said: “The A’s story is going to play itself out. The way we view the property (Tropicana) is we feel we have low hanging fruit that we can execute and that’s going to allow this property to pay for itself.”

He added: “We sit on a 35-acre site and we view it as one of the busiest four corners of the Las Vegas Strip. So there’s a lot of interest in potential outside investment. We’re a disciplined company and again, we have a long term view on this investment. We’re going to be patient about looking for the right project, with the appropriate terms.”

The A’s are still believed to be targeting breaking ground on a Southern Nevada stadium next year, with the goal of commencing play in 2027. However, the Review-Journal said the delivery date could now be pushed back to 2028 due to the need to demolish the Tropicana.

The A’s currently play in Oakland at the Coliseum, its home since 1968, but the team’s lease expires in 2024. The team has been exploring options to build a stadium in Las Vegas and had also pursued plans to construct a new venue in Oakland as part of a $12bn mixed-use project at the Howard Terminal site.