The saga of whether or not the Oakland A’s will move to Las Vegas continues to drag on.
With all the back-and-forth on both sides, it seems like it will never end.
Given that Las Vegas loves the idea of yet another marriage of a Big Four sports league team in the US gambling capital, we are all on the edge of our seats. Now, a recent Oakland City Council meeting could expedite the situation.
This week, the Oakland City Council voted 5-2 to keep the ballpark proposal off the November ballot. The initial timeline called for the public to vote on whether or not the city should invest in a new stadium.
The voters would have simply been asked if the city should invest in building the A’s new Waterfront Ballpark District at the Howard Terminal. With the measure scrapped from the ballot, the city council can vote on the project by the end of this year.
This could change the timeline for when the A’s have to decide whether to stay in Oakland or leave for Las Vegas. At this time, it looks as though the A’s are moving negotiations into high gear with Oakland.
A’s secure vote to move forward in Oakland
The A’s recently secured a major vote to move forward negotiating for the Waterfront Ballpark District in Oakland. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission voted 23 to 2 to remove the “port use” designation for Howard Terminal, where the stadium complex would be built.
Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval was excited to hear the news saying “What a huge win for our waterfront ballpark project and the future of Oakland and the A’s!”
While Kaval seems a bit overly exuberant about the vote, Las Vegas is still in the picture. The A’s are still not a lock to remain in Oakland. The team and the city have much to negotiate on for this massive stadium complex.
A’s stadium options in Oakland and Las Vegas
The current estimate for the proposed mixed-use waterfront complex in Oakland is approximately $12 billion. The team is looking for about $850 million in public funds to help build this new stadium area.
The Oakland Waterfront Ballpark District is much more than just a stadium. The 55-acre complex would include:
Up to 3,000 residential housing units
1.77 million square feet of retail space
A hotel with up to 400 rooms
A 3,500-capacity entertainment venue
A 35,000 baseball stadium
Unfortunately, there’s very little information about the possible Las Vegas A’s stadium. The team says it’s narrowed its search to two possible locations. It’s assumed the stadium will have a dome located near or on the Vegas Strip.
The team is holding its cards closely while negotiating for the much larger waterfront complex in California, but Las Vegas is still in the picture. In one positive checkmark for Las Vegas, Major League Baseball recently announced it would not charge the A’s a relocation fee if the team moves to Las Vegas.
MLB future in Las Vegas
There could still be a future for Major League Baseball in Las Vegas even if the A’s choose to stay in Oakland. In a recent interview with ESPN, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said he’d like to expand the league to 32 teams.
Las Vegas could be home to a new or existing team. The A’s aren’t the first team to poke around moving to the Las Vegas area.
A few years ago, Henderson courted the Arizona Diamondbacks for a move to the Las Vegas suburb. That didn’t come to fruition but there’s always the potential for a team to move to Las Vegas, Henderson or even Summerlin.
There could be other existing MLB teams looking for a new home. Earlier this year, MLB struck down the idea of the Tampa Bay Rays splitting their home games between Florida and Canada. If the team doesn’t come up with a new stadium plan to stay in the Sunshine State, it could look west.
On the opening day of the MLB season, Cincinnati Reds President Phil Castellini mentioned possibly moving the team someday. He walked back that statement after public backlash. Las Vegas may not be in the future for the Reds but you never know.
Clark County Commissioner Jim Gibson recently told Fox 5 Las Vegas that he eventually thinks the Las Vegas area will eventually have a baseball team. That team could be the A’s, a different existing team or an expansion team.