Friday, September 29, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Friday, September 29, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Nevada lawmakers pass on stadium funding for A’s, but bill not dead

Governor Joe Lombardo can still convene a special legislative session to consider the bill that contains $380 million in public funding.

(CN) — It appears as though the Oakland A’s are stranded on third base after the Nevada Legislature decided to not move forward Monday on a bill that would have funded a new ballpark on the Las Vegas Strip to lure out the baseball team from California.

Lawmakers passed on voting on the $380 million plan on the final day of Nevada’s legislative session.

The bill — introduced officially in late May, just over one week before the end of the state's 2023 legislative session — proposed that "it is in the public interest and beneficial to the public welfare to diversify, enhance and grow the largest tourism market in this state through the development of large-scale and one-of-a-kind convention, entertainment and sports venues and facilities within the Las Vegas area."

In addition to expanding the power of the Clark County Stadium Authority — which was first created for the development of the NFL's Las Vegas Raider's Allegiant Stadium — the bill sought to secure a public financing package including up to $180 million in transferable tax credits and $25 million in credit for infrastructure costs from Clark County. It also sought funding for "resort corridor homelessness prevention and assistance."

Despite not making it out of legislature, the plan for the ballpark may not be entirely dead. Nevada's Republican Governor Joe Lombardo said in a statement released Tuesday morning at 1 a.m. that he plans on calling a special legislative session to address a key part of the budget — the capital projects budget — that failed to move forward. The stadium issue is expected to get some attention at that time.

"“My office and I are conferring with legislative leadership this evening, and I anticipate calling a special legislative session in the morning,” Lombardo said. “I will issue a proclamation to outline agenda items for the special session when finalized.”

Prior to the bill's formal introduction, the A’s organization had already been busy for months in Carson City, lobbying politicians for support to build a 30,000-seat, $1.5 billion stadium with a retractable roof on the Las Vegas Strip.

The A’s had initially negotiated a “binding agreement” with Red Rock Resorts for a stadium site on the west side of the Strip, only to back out of the deal and make another one with the Bally’s for the Tropicana Las Vegas site. The team's plan for redevelopment of the site includes demolishing the iconic Tropicana, which was opened in 1957.

Bally’s plans to build a 1,500-room hotel and casino on the property near the planned stadium, located on the south end of the Strip.

The A’s had been clamoring for a new stadium in Oakland, Calif., but those efforts never came to fruition. The rusty Oakland Coliseum has outlived its usefulness, and the A’s pushed for a waterfront ballpark, hoping to transform the Howard Terminal at the Port of Oakland into a new baseball stadium complex.

At the same time, the A’s were courting Las Vegas, a move that A’s team President Dave Kaval termed “parallel paths.” Now, with the Vegas bill possibly dead, the team is stuck in limbo.

The A’s currently have the worst record in Major League Baseball at 12-50, along with the lowest attendance and lowest ballplayer payroll.

The A’s have placed in the bottom-five in attendance in 15 of the 19 years that Steve Fisher has owned the team. Some blame the outdated stadium. The San Francisco Giants, across the bay, have always been more successful drawing people to their bayside ballpark, which was completed in 2000.

Categories / Politics, Regional, Sports

Read the Top 8

Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.