After all of the talk, the rumor, the debate… it appears as though Las Vegas is as close as can be to having a Major League Baseball team. As reported first by The Nevada Independent on Wednesday night, the Oakland Athletics have purchased 49 acres of land at Tropicana and Dean Martin with the intention of building their next home.
The purchase of the former Wild Wild West land from Red Rock Resorts, the parent company of Station Casinos, is as clear of a signal as could be that the A’s are pointing their efforts towards Nevada. Team President Dave Kaval has said as much in a statement with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, saying their long and tortured path to attempt to get a new home done in Oakland has led them here, and they feel like a deal can get done.
This is a huge step, but the Athletics are not officially moving to Vegas… yet.
That said, a deal isn’t done. Yet. The team wants to move. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has given his blessing. Governor Joe Lombardo is looking forward to bringing them here. But the issue comes down to how to finance the $1.5 billion, 35,000 seat retractable stadium project. Governor Lombardo made it clear he is not in support for any additional taxes to fund a new stadium. That’s different than Allegiant Stadium, which is being (re)funded by a hotel tax. There are options available to the team, however.
Tax Increment Financing could give the Athletics a special taxation district immediately around the stadium that would see taxes to back to the team to fund the stadium. The thought being they are a large part of the reason of improvement in the area, they should gain from it. The other instrument is tax credits, which the Nevada Independent estimate could be worth half a billion dollars.
If everything goes according to plan, shovels could be in the ground by the end of the year, with opening day in 2027.
Obviously the prospect of bringing big league baseball to Las Vegas is an exciting one. We aren’t rounding the bases yet… but the ball is high… it is deep… it is…