A’s Shift Focus Back To Tropicana For Potential Las Vegas Stadium

Written By Marc Meltzer on May 10, 2023
A's may settle on Vegas Strip stadium location

The Oakland A’s appear to have switched their focus back to the Vegas Strip for a baseball stadium if the team moves to Las Vegas.

Numerous Las Vegas news outlets are reporting that the A’s have an agreement with Bally’s Corp. to build a stadium where the Tropicana currently stands. The reports come just a few weeks after the A’s announced a “binding deal” to buy land from Red Rock Resorts to build a stadium just off the Vegas Strip.

This stadium site would require $395 million in public assistance. The Red Rock land on the other side of Interstate 15 would require $500 million in funding from Nevada.

There are less than three weeks for a bill to be introduced into legislation for the state to vote on whether or not there will be public funding. This is a somewhat soft deadline as Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo could always call for a special session to vote on the matter.

After two years the A’s new location is still undecided

It feels as though discussions about the Oakland A’s moving to Las Vegas are de
cades old. It’s only been a couple of years but the tale continually takes turns.

The team’s first focus was to stay in Oakland and build a new stadium that would have been part of a Waterfront Ballpark District at Howard Terminal. For a minute the team was looking forward to staying in Oakland as plans moved forward.

When the plan to stay in Oakland slowed, the team turned its eyes to Las Vegas while continuing to explore the new Oakland stadium.

The A’s “parallel negotiations” led to multiple visits to Las Vegas to explore potential sites for a new stadium. After looking around the Las Vegas Valley, the team focused on five locations before finally narrowing its focus to the Vegas Strip.

Land near Circus Circus that’s being used as the Las Vegas Fairgrounds and Tropicana were the two potential options for a new stadium on the Vegas Strip. This abruptly changed in April when the A’s announced it had a “binding deal” to purchase 50 acres of land just west of Interstate 15 from Red Rock Resorts.

During Red Rock’s earnings call last week, the company said it expected the deal to sell land to the A’s to close during the fourth quarter. That deal could be in danger as the A’s have moved their attention back to Vegas Strip.

A’s president Dave Kaval tells KNTV that a deal still isn’t finished:

“We have a timeline of this year to get it sorted out. We’re going to continue to work hand-in-hand with key elected officials and hopefully get a final decision by the end of the year.”

Neither deal is dead or alive. This is the A’s ping pong game and we’re just watching.

Can the A’s fit a decent stadium on a tiny nine-acre plot?

The A’s reportedly have a deal in place with Bally’s Corp. to build a baseball stadium on the site of the Tropicana.

If this plan sticks, the Tropicana would be destroyed and a 30,000-35,000-capacity retractable roof stadium built on nine of the 34 acres of land the casino and hotel occupy.

Nine acres of land is a tiny plot of land for a professional sports stadium. The Minnesota Twins play in an open-air stadium on 8.5 acres of land.

A baseball stadium with a retractable roof needs more space for the mechanics that go into moving a roof. This would be a design challenge, to say the least. The team still hasn’t shared renderings for a Las Vegas stadium.

Leasing not buying land changes funding

If this deal goes through, the A’s would not have to buy the land. Bally’s has a 50-year lease with Gaming and Leisure Properties for the Tropicana site.

Rent on the land is currently $10.5 million annually and is subject to increases over time. There are no details on the rent price should the A’s move forward with this deal. Bally’s would still use some of this land if this deal is finalized.

While the A’s won’t have to buy the land outright the team says it will still need financial assistance from Nevada to build the stadium. The request for funding is now $395 million instead of $500 million with the Red Rock land the team has a binding agreement for

The timeline for a new baseball stadium in Las Vegas remains the same. The A’s lease in Oakland ends after the 2024 season. Construction would begin next year.

The new Las Vegas A’s stadium should still open in 2027. That date could be pushed back to 2028 if demolishing the Tropicana takes longer than expected. This becomes more likely if the A’s continue to drag this along.

While the A’s have shifted focus back to the Vegas Strip, the deal isn’t done. The team is still requesting public funding. Stay tuned as the A’s world turns.

New Bally’s Las Vegas casino?

While the Tropicana would be demolished for the baseball stadium, Bally’s could still operate a casino at this site. If this happens it’s likely the company wouldn’t resurrect the Tropicana name and keep its branding on the property.

The Nevada Independent reports that Bally’s would build a new 1,500 hotel and casino across from the stadium. This new Las Vegas casino would be operated separately from the A’s stadium.

There’s no timeline on this part of the deal. However, the report says this would be built after the stadium is completed.

If that’s the case, construction on the new hotel and casino would begin in 2027 or 2028. Two or three years of construction would mean the new Bally’s Hotel and Casino would open somewhere between 2029 and 2031.

This plan is dependent on the A’s building a stadium. During its most recent earnings call, Bally’s offered no insight into plans for the Tropicana.

Photo by Reed Hoffmann / AP photo
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He’s the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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