Oakland Set To Lose Its Last Major Pro Sports Team As A's Buy Land In Las Vegas
The team purchased land west of the Strip at Dean Martin Drive and Tropicana Avenue, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. That location would place a new A’s ballpark less than a mile from Allegiant Stadium, where the team’s former Oakland compatriot the Las Vegas Raiders play.
“For a while we were on parallel paths [with Oakland], but we have turned our attention to Las Vegas to get a deal here for the A’s and find a long-term home,” A’s President Dave Kaval told the Review-Journal. “Oakland has been a great home for us for over 50 years, but we really need this 20-year saga completed and we feel there’s a path here in Southern Nevada to do that.”
The A’s are eyeing a $1.5B, 30,000-seat stadium with a partially retractable roof, Kaval told the Review-Journal, and the team has an option to purchase another 8 acres. That land could be developed into restaurants and entertainment uses, mirroring a nationwide trend of creating mixed-use districts around major stadiums.
Red Rock Resorts, a Vegas-based owner of casinos, spas and restaurants, sold the land to the A’s for an undisclosed price. The team has been working with a Las Vegas economist who estimated the new stadium would draw 400,000 visitors per year, the Review-Journal reported.
The purchase ends years of negotiation between the A’s and the city of Oakland to build a 35,000-seat ballpark and 1.7M SF of surrounding development, including residences, a hotel and a performance venue.
A plan to redevelop 55 acres near the Port of Oakland began in 2018, aiming for 2023 completion, and in 2021, Alameda County agreed to provide funding to move the project along. Instead, the plans ran into challenges that included the pandemic, environmental concerns and disagreements about who would pay for what.
Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao released a statement Thursday expressing disappointment with the process.
“The city has gone above and beyond in our attempts to arrive at mutually beneficial terms to keep the A’s in Oakland,” she said in the statement, according to the San Francisco Standard. “In the last three months, we’ve made significant strides to close the deal. Yet, it is clear to me that the A’s have no intention of staying in Oakland and have simply been using this process to try to extract a better deal out of Las Vegas. I am not interested in continuing to play that game — the fans and our residents deserve better.”
The A’s decision to leave the city doesn't change plans to redevelop the waterfront site near Oakland’s Jack London Square, according to Thao’s statement.
“I am incredibly proud of what we have accomplished as a City, including securing a fully entitled site and over $375 million in new infrastructure investment that will benefit Oakland and its Port for generations to come,” she said. “In a time of budget deficits, I refuse to compromise the safety and well-being of our residents. Given these realities, we are ceasing negotiations and moving forward on alternatives for the redevelopment of Howard Terminal.”
The A’s have a few more steps before their move to Vegas is finalized. The team will focus on hammering out a public-private partnership with the city and municipality and then will need to apply to the MLB for relocation — which appears likely to be approved, given MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s support.
“We support the A’s turning their focus on Las Vegas and look forward to them bringing finality to this process by the end of the year,” Manfred said in a statement provided to the Review-Journal.
With the A’s departure, Oakland would have no more professional sports teams, following the relocation of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors to San Francisco and the NFL’s Raiders to Las Vegas.