Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023 | 6:29 a.m.
ARLINGTON, Texas — Major League Baseball owners Thursday unanimously approved the Athletics’ relocation proposal to Las Vegas, all but finalizing the team’s move from Oakland in what’s been a yearslong quest to find a new stadium.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to formally announce the vote later today to conclude the three-day meeting at Globe Life Field, home of the 2023 World Series champion Texas Rangers.
The A’s have played at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum since 1968, when they relocated from Kansas City.
The Coliseum has long outlived its useful life, and for over a decade, attempts for stadium projects around Northern California had fallen through.
A’s officials began exploring relocation in May 2021 after receiving Manfred’s blessing, and from there had remained on what team president Dave Kaval called “parallel paths” in Oakland and Las Vegas to secure a new ballpark.
The team announced in April it intended to purchase a 49-acre site at the corner of Tropicana Avenue and Dean Martin Drive, but ultimately decided on a 9-acre parcel at the current site of the Tropicana resort at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana.
The Tropicana is owned and operated by Bally’s Corp., but the land on which the longstanding casino and resort has stood is owned by Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc.
The joint architecture venture Mortenson-McCarthy, whom the A’s contracted for the stadium project, told the Clark County Stadium Authority last month that construction for the $1.5 billion, 33,000-seat ballpark would need to begin by April 2025 to be completed in time for the start of the 2028 baseball season.
It’s not clear where the A’s will play in the meantime. The team could go on a year-by-year lease with the Coliseum of which team owner John Fisher owns 50%. The team has also explored options playing in Sacramento, Calif., across the Bay at the San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park or Las Vegas Ballpark, the 10,000-seat Summerlin ballpark home to the A’s Triple-A franchise, the Las Vegas Aviators.
The relocation vote also sets forward the $380 million in public funding Nevada lawmakers passed in June to go toward the stadium.
The bill is structured so that the state would pay up to $180 million in transferable tax credits, of which $120 million could be made refundable. That’s paired with roughly $125 million in general obligation bonds issued by Clark County. The county would also invest a separate $25 million for infrastructure surrounding the stadium.
A political action committee led by the Nevada State Education Association called Schools Over Stadiums has been the most vocal opponent of the stadium deal and has embarked on a ballot referendum petition to stop the state funding component of the deal. It said Tuesday it would challenge in court the constitutionality of the funding bill.
The group said it was also appealing a ruling made earlier this month by Carson City District Judge James Russell, who tossed their petition initiative on grounds the petition lacked a copy of Senate Bill 1, the enabling legislation for the state’s stadium funding component, in its entirety and had too vague a summary of the bill.