Oakland A’s Still Exploring Sites for Las Vegas Ballpark, Including the Tropicana Land
Despite agreeing to purchase a 49-acre plot of Las Vegas Strip land from Red Rock Resorts just three weeks ago, the Oakland Athletics Major League Baseball team is still assessing options for its planned $1.5 billion stadium in Sin City.
Local outlet The Nevada Independent reported this week that the new front-runner for the stadium location is just across Interstate 55 from Red Rock’s land – the Tropicana Casino.
The Strip’s oldest continuously operating casino, open since 1955, the Tropicana’s days would be numbered under any deal. Currently, the casino and resort is owned by Bally’s, with real estate investment trust (REIT) Gaming and Leisure Properties owning the land. Bally’s pays $10.5 million a year to lease the land from GLP.
If the deal is completed, Bally’s would demolish the current Tropicana building to make room for the A’s new 35,000-seat stadium, as well as its own separate new 1500-room hotel-casino resort.
This is Now the Deal
The attraction of the Bally’s-operated Tropicana site for the A’s is some $100 million in savings. As Bally’s owns a 50-year lease to operate on the land, they can sublet that to the A’s for their new ballpark without much trouble.
“This is now the deal. This is what we’re working on,” an unnamed insider on the project told The Nevada Independent.
It also saves the A’s the cost of buying expensive Strip land, as they had apparently agreed to do with Red Rock. The fee the A’s had agreed to for Red Rock’s 50-acre site across the Interstate from the Tropicana has not been published. However, Las Vegas real estate experts have suggested it could be more than $100 million.
Those savings will be passed on to Nevada taxpayers if the Tropicana is chosen as the site of the stadium.
The A’s were looking to finance $500 million in tax credits to help cover construction costs on the ballpark, with the finalization of the Red Rock deal apparently hanging on the completion of that financial package.
However, at this stage, it’s possible yet another outside candidate for the stadium site could take it.
As well as this supposedly very close deal with Bally’s for the land under the Tropicana, the A’s have also reached back to the Rio Hotel & Casino for discussion.
The A’s initially rejected a cut-rate $1 sale price for 22 acres of land on the Rio’s site due to concerns about parking and infrastructure.
“I’m pretty good at math, and I would assume that if you had no land price, and another site did have a land price, that the total sum of dollars needed for a development of a stadium would be less than the site that did have a land price associated with it,” said Eric Birnbaum, CEO of Dreamscape Co, owners of the Rio.
Either way, the A’s may have to make a decision soon. Lawmakers told local media last week that they could “run out of time” on any deal, as the MLB franchise had yet to submit a concrete proposal.
“I read in the media, too, and it seems like every story talks about it in a different way. So in my mind, until there’s some kind of concrete ask, there’s really not much to discuss,” said Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager (D – Las Vegas).
If the move is successful, Las Vegas will become the fourth city to host the A’s baseball team during its 120-year history. It was founded in 1901 in Philadelphia before moving to Kansas City in 1955, and then Oakland in 1968.
It would also be the second major sports franchise to move from Oakland to Las Vegas in the past five years. The famous Oakland Raiders NFL team became the Las Vegas Raiders and moved to the strip’s Allegiant Stadium in 2020.