The A’s have signed a binding agreement to purchase 49 acres of land in Las Vegas, which they plan to utilize as the site of their future new ballpark.
Looking to finalize a stadium deal by the January 2024 deadline imposed by Major League Baseball, A’s team president Dave Kaval said the club is directing its full attention to Southern Nevada after the process to build a new waterfront ballpark in Oakland has stalled over the past year.
"We know this is a really difficult day for our fans in Oakland and the Oakland community,” Kaval told MLB.com. “We put an incredible six-year effort into trying to get this waterfront vision for a stadium approved. At the end of the day, the progress has not been fast enough. We're still maybe seven or eight years away from being even able to open a stadium [in Oakland] with the lawsuits and referendums and timing challenges.
“We have a pact in Las Vegas that we think can work and has the support from the league, so we are really putting all our focus in Las Vegas and the efforts there.”
The site of the planned 35,000-seat stadium, which would include a partially retractable roof, is located west of the Las Vegas Strip, across the freeway from the T-Mobile Arena, home of the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights, and just north of Allegiant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders.
“It’s a great location,” Kaval said. “It’s good for locals. It’s good for tourists in the Resort Corridor. We’re really pleased with that.”
Now that a site is secured and land is purchased, the next step for the A’s is to finalize a public/private partnership with the state of Nevada by devising a fiscal package to send to legislation. After that comes the formulation of a relocation plan with MLB.
“For more than half a century, MLB has demonstrated overwhelming franchise stability and a consistent record of finding local solutions," Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. "The A’s have done their part to stay through an enormous investment in Oakland, their many playoff berths, outstanding baseball operations leadership and an abundance of patience. Under John Fisher, the A's ownership has invested unprecedented time and resources to try to build a new ballpark in Oakland.
“In 2009, the Commissioner's Office said, 'The A’s cannot and will not continue indefinitely in their current situation.' The A’s have remained in Oakland long past the departures of other teams in the market. In 2021, given the continued lack of progress, MLB instructed the A's to explore a parallel path plan with Las Vegas. Since that time, the process in Oakland has not progressed, and Las Vegas has presented a comprehensive path forward for the A’s that will preserve this historic franchise forward and set the stage for future success. 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.”
If all goes according to the estimated timeline, Kaval said he envisions breaking ground on the Vegas ballpark in 2024 and opening in time for the start of the '27 season.
“We've been spending a lot of time in Carson City meeting with Governor [Joe] Lombardo, who's really a great leader in terms of understanding how to bring parties together,” Kaval said. “Really working with these people and understanding the priorities of the state, understanding what financial mechanisms make sense.
“One of the great things about building in Las Vegas is that it attracts a lot of incremental tourists. People who normally wouldn't be going to Las Vegas. Those people pay a lot of taxes, and that can actually be used to help fund the stadium. That’s a really unique mechanism that you have in Southern Nevada that affords a lot of new opportunities that you don't have in other communities.”
The A’s have called Oakland home since 1968, after playing in Kansas City from 1955 through '67. The franchise originated in Philadelphia in 1901 before its move to Kansas City and then Oakland. The current lease on the Oakland Coliseum, where the A’s have called home since moving to the Bay Area, expires after the 2024 season. The location of the current ballpark was deemed as no longer a viable option for the future of the club in '21, with MLB allowing the A’s to explore other markets for possible relocation in addition to their pursuit of a new ballpark in downtown Oakland.
“We understand that it’s a difficult message for our fans in Oakland,” Kaval said. “We want to thank Oakland and express a tremendous amount of gratitude for all the years it has hosted us as a franchise. We've loved our time there. Incredible memories and championships.
“We want to thank all the people involved in the six-year effort to get the approvals that we did get, including the environmental impact report. The former mayor, Libby Schaaf, and the current mayor, Sheng Thao. Everyone has worked very hard and diligently on this, so it is disappointing that we have not been able to achieve our vision. But by the same token, we need to have this franchise on solid footing. That's important not only for the A’s, but for the entire industry and for baseball. This is a step towards doing that.”