Las Vegas has become an in-demand location for teams looking to move from their home market (or looking for a better deal there).
Las Vegas has become the desired destination — or at least potential location — for every pro sports team looking for a new stadium or arena deal. That’s how the National Football League’s Oakland Raiders ended up becoming the Las Vegas Raiders.
The team played in a rundown stadium in its former home market and wanted the city/state to make a massive investment in building it a new one. When that was clearly not going to happen, Las Vegas became the obvious choice.
In the case of the Raiders, owner Mark Davis may not have actually wanted to stay in Oakland even if the city gave him what he wanted. Las Vegas is a much better market, at least when it comes to ticket sales and it’s close enough to California that the team likely retained much, if not most, of its fanbase.
Since football only plays one game a week, tourists for the away team, as well as Las Vegas Strip visitors make every game a massive event and a sellout. That fills hotels on the Strip and makes casino operators like Caesars Entertainment (CZR) – Get Free Report, MGM Resorts International (MGM) – Get Free Report, and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) – Get Free Report very happy.
The National Hockey League’s Las Vegas Golden Knights, an expansion team, has had a similar level of success even playing 81 home games. Playing at T-Mobile Arena, nestled in the heart of many Caesars and MGM properties, the team has been a major draw.
Taken together, those two success stories make Las Vegas a very attractive destination for any pro team looking to make a move in Major League Baseball or the National Basketball Association. That’s not super needed for NBA team owners because Seattle is also an available market looking for a team, but for baseball, Vegas is a sort of unique perfect situation for any team either looking for a home or one trying to force its current market into building it a new stadium.
That’s what the Oakland Athletics have been doing. The team has been talking to owners of multiple Las Vegas sites while also pursuing a new stadium in Oakland. Now, a winner appears to have emerged should the team make the move to the Las Vegas Strip.
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A’s Down to One Las Vegas Strip Suitor
The A’s have talked with multiple site owners on and adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip. In recent months, however, the team’s efforts have focused on two sites — one next to Circus Circus owned by Phil Ruffin, and a second one at the current site of the Tropicana which was just purchased by Bally’s Corporation (BALY) – Get Free Report.
Now, it appears that the team has stopped talking with Ruffin’s team about the Las Vegas Fairgrounds site on the Strip adjacent to Circus Circus, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.
The team confirmed to the paper that it continues to talk to Bally’s about the Tropicana site.
Of course, a new site could emerge, or negotiations could resume with Ruffin or any past suitor.
Do the A’s Want to Move at All?
The question — and it’s a big one — remains whether the A’s actually want to leave Oakland and move to Las Vegas. That remains in doubt although it’s very unclear whether the team is using Oakland for leverage against Las Vegas or Las Vegas for leverage against Oakland.
If the A’s move to Las Vegas, the team plans to build a $1 billion domed stadium that would seat around 30,000 people. A’s President Dave Kaval has commented multiple times about how he wants that stadium to be on the Strip, the Review-Journal reported.
“We like the notion of some of the venues where people will get out of their car or walking from a resort and walk up and see in the stadium,” Kaval said in 2021 said of a ballpark built on the Strip. “It almost draws you in.”