A’s Release Las Vegas Stadium Renderings, Leave Questions Unanswered

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The biggest remaining hole for the Oakland A’s planned relocation was filled this week, sort of. For months, there has been controversy swirling around the stadium planned for the current space occupied by the Tropicana Hotel. First, we had drawings that were admitted to be nothing close to an actual plan. Then we had months waiting for the real drawings, and multiple missed deadlines. 

Now, we finally have the renderings for the planned $1.5 billion project. But they are incomplete and have obvious omissions.

Las Vegas Dome Planned

There is a fixed dome, not retractable, and the description released by the A’s says, “The roof’s five overlapping layers, whose design is inspired by traditional baseball pennants, open to the north to allow for natural light and views up the Strip, while also limiting direct sunlight and heat from the south.”

If you squint really hard, you can see “traditional baseball pennants.” Most people see the Sydney Opera House, or the “spherical armadillo,” as it has been described by the lead designers at Bjarke Ingels Group.

The problem with a fixed dome in the desert, and one with a huge window in the outfield, is that you need air conditioning. None is shown in the drawing. You also need stadium lights, which are also absent from the renderings. When it comes to actual buildable blueprints, the inside of the roof will look very different.

There also needs to be a batter’s eye – a solid colored area in center field that serves as a visual backdrop in the line of sight for the batter. At the moment, there is a window that shows the MGM Grand in the background.

There are no bullpens, no luxury suites, and the renderings look like they were drawn by someone with no knowledge of baseball or which direction the stadium is facing. There is just one umpire on the field, a baserunner looking away from the action, and an outside view that shows the sun setting in the east.

The Site at the Tropicana

The A’s have yet to secure their portion of the $1.5 billion cost, but the Tropicana is already set to close on April 2. Bally’s executives have told current employees that they will need to find other employment by then, and they are sponsoring a job fair on the Strip to assist them. Each employee is also eligible for $2,000 in severance pay per year of employment, and more than 25% of their employees have been there for at least 20 years.

After the resort closes, the demolition will begin, and Bally’s says they will be ready to hand over the site to the A’s by April, 2025.

While the total estimated cost by the A’s and designers is $1.5 billion, it is worth noting that the cost of the Sphere, which has half of the planned seating as the new Tropicana site stadium and a much more traditional roof, cost $2.3 billion. 

A’s Not Living Up to Vegas Precedent

There are few cities in the world that can build large and impressive entertainment venues with the speed and detail that Las Vegas does. So the continued issues around the release of the A’s stadium renderings is unexpected in this environment.

Las Vegas just hosted a successful Super Bowl. Last weekend, NASCAR was in town. Formula One will return to Las Vegas in November. The current Stanley Cup champions are the Vegas Golden Knights. The NBA will be in Las Vegas sooner, rather than later.

Having a team like the A’s become the face of baseball in Las Vegas is surprising, considering what has happened with professional sports in the city over the last five years. Baseball online sportsbooks have the A’s as the single worst bet in Major League Baseball. They are paying +40000 to win the World Series, +20000 to win the American League West, and their regular season wins line is an MLB-low 56.5.

The proposed 33,000-seat stadium would be the smallest in Major League Baseball, which is appropriate for the team with the worst attendance in baseball in each of the last two years.

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