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Design & Development

Oakland A’s seal deal for new Vegas ballpark site

Featured image credit: Matt Dodd on Unsplash

The Oakland Athletics Major League Baseball franchise has reached a binding agreement with Bally’s Corporation and Gaming & Leisure Properties Inc. (GLPI) to build a new 30,000-capacity ballpark on the Tropicana hotel site on the Las Vegas Strip.

Global casino entertainment company Bally’s, together with GLPI, will assign approximately nine acres of the 35-acre site on Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue to the A’s or a related stadium authority.

The agreement is subject to the passing of legislation for public financing and related agreements, and approval of relocation by MLB. As part of the deal, Bally’s retains the ability to assign the rights to all aspects of the development and has received material interest from development partners.

It was widely reported last week that the A’s had changed course on plans for a new ballpark in Las Vegas by signing an agreement with Bally’s to build a $1.5bn (£1.2bn/€1.4bn) stadium on the Tropicana site.

The news emerged 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. That 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. In a statement released yesterday (Monday), Bally’s said that the ballpark at the Tropicana hotel site is expected to welcome more than 2.5 million fans and visitors annually.

George Papanier, Bally’s president, said: “We are honoured to have been selected to partner with the Oakland Athletics on this monumental step in helping to bring Major League Baseball to the great city of Las Vegas, and to be a part of the once-in-a-generation opportunity of having a professional baseball team located within a short walk of the Las Vegas Strip.

“The Tropicana has been a landmark of Las Vegas for generations, and this development will enhance this iconic site for generations to come. We are committed to ensuring that the development and ballpark built in its place will become a new landmark, paying homage to the iconic history and global appeal of Las Vegas and its nearly 50 million visitors a year.”

Kaval added: “We are excited about the potential to bring Major League Baseball to this iconic location. We are thrilled to work alongside Bally’s and GLPI, and look forward to finalising plans to bring the Athletics to Southern Nevada.”

Bally’s acquired the building and operations of the Tropicana Las Vegas from GLPI in September 2022 as part of a $148m deal. As part of the agreement, Bally’s entered into a 50-year ground lease with GLPI, with the ability to extend to 99 years upon achieving key investment milestones.

It is hoped that the A’s can break ground on the ballpark project next year, with a view to opening the stadium in time for the 2027 MLB season.

The A’s currently play in Oakland at the Coliseum (pictured), the team’s home since 1968, but its 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.

The A’s would become the third major-league franchise to leave Oakland in the space of five years, after the NFL’s Raiders moved to Las Vegas in 2020 and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors moved to San Francisco in 2019.