The Oakland A’s claim they have a done deal to build a stadium at the Tropicana casino site on the Las Vegas Strip, though they just backed out a similar land deal last week, and the whole scenario is contingent on $400 million in yet-unapproved Nevada taxpayer money.
Above you see some very angry Oakland A’s fans with signs protesting the team’s proposed move to Las Vegas (“Kaval Weasel” refers A’s president Dave Kaval). But you won’t see these signs on Major League Baseball official highlights, as MLB has been editing out the fans’ critical signs on highlight broadcasts. Yet the A’s organization is carrying on with their attempt to move to Las Vegas, as Bay City News reports the A’s have finalized a “binding” deal for ballpark land on what is currently the Tropicana Casino Resort, which is owned by Bally’s.
NEWS: The Oakland A's have reached a binding deal with Bally's to build a new, $1.5B ballpark at the site of the Tropicana on the Las Vegas Strip.— Front Office Sports (@FOS) May 15, 2023
The A's Vegas stadium will have 30,000 seats and a partially-retractable roof.
The deal is subject to relocation approval by MLB. pic.twitter.com/gamo62hHxQ
But this “binding” language is pretty funny, considering the A’s backed out of their previous “binding” deal at a different Las Vegas stadium site just six days ago. And not unlike the A's Las Vegas stadium deal the team abandoned last week, this deal with comes with some awfully optimistic projections that might not pass a reasonable person’s smell test.
The A’s are projecting sellouts for just about every game in Las Vegas? Good luck with that. https://t.co/brYIIm40yq— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) May 15, 2023
According to the announcement from Bally’s, the proposed 30,000-seat stadium “is expected to welcome more than 2.5 million fans and visitors annually.” To watch the A’s? Last year this team ranked dead last in attendance at just 788,000, so they’re effectively thinking they can triple their attendance in the much-smaller Las Vegas market. The LA Times breaks down how unlikely these attendance forecasts are, as the team is effectively projecting that every single game will sell out.
As the Times points out, the current Oakland A’s team is “on pace to lose 127 games this season, which would be the most losses by any MLB team since the 1899 Cleveland Spiders.”
The Oakland A’s have reached a second binding agreement for a stadium site in Las Vegas. It remains unclear why the A’s abandoned plans for their initial site, but reports say it may be related to the required public funding. LATEST: https://t.co/oPeaI0jPtL pic.twitter.com/v1bDnZQr40— KRON4 News (@kron4news) May 15, 2023
But the big issue here is money, and it’s a big issue. The deal is also contingent on the A’s getting $395 million in taxpayer-funded public financing, which would still have to be approved by the Nevada state legislature. Yet the Nevada Independent reported Monday morning that “No [funding] bill to do so has been introduced with three weeks left in the state’s 120-day Legislature, but action on any financing deal is expected to quickly ramp up this week.”
The new stadiums they built in Fremont, San Jose, Laney College, the Coliseum and Howard Terminal would be proof. https://t.co/12Nq1VaO8C— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) May 15, 2023
And remember, counting last week’s short-lived Vegas site, the team has now proposed at least ten different stadium sites dating back to 2002. They have not moved into one of these, and still remain at the constantly name-changing Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
And meanwhile at that Coliseum, Barstool Sports is having a laugh at the A’s, as team ushers were being weirdly strict about fans being in their assigned seats in a thoroughly empty stadium, 45 minutes before the first pitch. “A’s ushers being pretty strict about tickets when there’s only 12 people in the stands,” they say in an Instagram post. It’s unclear what day the footage was taken. But it’s probably from this past weekend’s four-game series with the Texas Rangers, where one game had attendance of only 2,949 in a stadium that seats more than 63,000.
Related: Oakland A’s Move to Las Vegas Looks Like a Done Deal, Team Just Bought Stadium Site, But Who Knows [SFist]
Image: OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - MAY 14: Oakland Athletics fans sit behind signs during the sixth inning against the Texas Rangers at RingCentral Coliseum on May 14, 2023 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Stan Szeto/Getty Images)