Oakland A’s Las Vegas Strip Move In Doubt

The Major League Baseball team is still talking with two Las Vegas sites, but there may be a big problem.

Leverage helps you make a better deal.

If you, for example, have two job offers, in many cases you can use the one you don’t really want as much to get a better deal from the other. The problem is that if the job you prefer doesn’t want you enough to match the other offer, or at least raise their initial offer, you end up having to take the job you like less.

The same thing applies in all sorts of other areas of life. A popular restaurant might pit two strip malls against each other and see which offers a better deal. And, with sports teams, you sometimes get high-stakes gambles like Baltimore Colts leaving for Indianapolis or every National Basketball Assocation (NBA) team using the lack of a team in Portland as leverage to get a better deal from their home market.

In many cases, leverage attempts are pretty transparent, and there’s at least some doubt as to whether the alternate offer is truly in play. That’s clearly the question around the Oakland Athletics and their potential move to Las Vegas.

The team has flirted with Las Vegas and met with various property owners and casino magnates all while still pursuing a $1 billion ballpark on the waterfront in Oakland. 

Image source: Circus Circus Hotel

A’s Still Talking With Las Vegas Sites

The A’s have talked with a number of sites on and adjacent to the Strip, but only two still appear to still be in serious consideration, land adjacent to the Circus Circus Resort Casino and the site of the Tropicana.

Bally’s Corporation (BALY) – Get Bally’s Corporation Report recently made a deal to lease the Tropicana property from Gaming & Leisure Properties (GLPI) – Get Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc. Report. It’s Unclear whether a proposed staidum would replace a piece of the existing property or take over the site entirely.

George Papanier, a Bally’s executive told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the A’s remained interested in the site.

“They (the A’s) have other opportunities as well, a couple of other sites they’re considering in the market as well as ultimately having to make a decision on Oakland,” he said. “They’re continuing to engage with us and hopefully there will be an opportunity where we could do a joint development.”

Papanier said that Bally’s remains undecided as what will happen with the Trop, as it’s affectionately known locally.

“Under the current version of the Tropicana property, it will stay Tropicana,” he told the paper. “Ultimately, when we go through that evaluation period and determine what we’re going to do futuristically and ultimately redevelop the property, that’s when we’ll carry the Bally brand.”

The A’s are also discussing land owned by Circus Circus owner Phil Ruffin, a 37-acre Las Vegas Festival Grounds at Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue

The A’s Could Be Using Las Vegas for Leverage

While the team talks with multiple sites in Las Vegas, the A’s are also still pushing forward with plans to build a $1 billion stadium on the Oakland waterfront. The team has recently won a key ruling that at least keeps the project on the table.

“The A’s have proposed a downtown Howard Terminal waterfront development featuring $12 billion in private investment, including a billion dollars for a new 35,000-capacity ballpark to replace the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as the team’s home. The development would also include 3,000 units of housing, as well as 1.5 million square feet of office space, 270,000 square feet of retail space, a 400-room hotel, 18 acres of parkland and an estimated $450 million in community benefits,” Ballpark Digest reported

By pursuing options in two cities at the same time, the team puts pressure on both to offer the best deal. That could mean Nevada kicking in public funds for the deal, something Gov. Steve Sisolak has been reticent to do.

“The Governor has been clear from the start that he would not consider a room tax package for this potential move, and that has not been an issue in his conversations with the Commissioner or the Athletics leadership. The Governor and his team will continue to pursue bringing business opportunities to Nevada to further cement our status as the sports and entertainment capital of the world,” a statement released in April read.

A room tax was used to partially fund Allegiant Stadium, the new off-Las Vegas Strip home of the former Oakland, now Las Vegas Raiders.


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