Resort to accessorize ‘A’s’ planned Vegas home



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Oakland Athletic search for a temporary home Image: Oakland Athletics

The Major League Baseball (MLB) team Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher said on January 24th that new renderings of the team’s planned Las Vegas (US) stadium haven’t been released because a new resort on the Tropicana site is being added to the images.

‘LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL’ stated that the team last month planned to unveil the updated ballpark renderings and announce the architect for the project, but the event was postponed following the on-duty deaths of two Nevada Highway Patrol troopers. The unveiling has yet to be rescheduled.

The Oakland Athletics (often referred to as the Oakland ‘A’s’) are an American professional baseball team based in Oakland. The Athletics compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League West division. The team plays its home games at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California (US).

The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum is a multipurpose stadium in Oakland, California, United States. It is part of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Complex, with the adjacent 19,200-capacity Oakland Arena, near Interstate 880.

Since the initial delay, Fisher said the team has been working with the Gaming and Leisure Properties Inc., owner of the 35-acre Tropicana site and Bally’s Corporation which operates the Tropicana and plans to build a new resort next to the ballpark to create renderings that depict a fully redeveloped site, not just a new stadium.

The Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. is a real estate investment trust specializing in casino properties and is based in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania (US). It was formed in November 2013 as a corporate spinoff from the Penn National Gaming. The company owns 57 casino properties, all of which are leased to the other companies.

The Tropicana Las Vegas is a casino hotel on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada (US). The resort opened in 1957 and is one of the oldest hotels on the Strip. The Tropicana has a 44,570 sq ft casino and 1,467 rooms.

The Las Vegas Strip is a 4.2-mile stretch of the Las Vegas Boulevard in Clark County, Nevada. It’s known for its many casinos and resort hotels and is one of the most photographed and visited streets in the world.

The Bally’s Corporation is a gaming, betting and interactive entertainment company headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island. It owns and operates 15 casinos across 10 States, a horse track in Colorado and online sports betting operations in 14 States. The company was founded in 2004 as the BLB Investors.

Informed Fisher, “We’ve been working on that, and it just takes time. One minute you have a resort plan that will be here and the ballpark here, and then you’re like, ‘What will that do to ingress-egress and other really important issues?’ We want to make sure that when we do present to the county and the other agencies and groups around us that are going to have an important say in what happens, that we’re well-coordinated.”
 

‘Best of Both Worlds’

The ‘A’s’ chose the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) as the lead designer for the planned $1.5 billion, 33,000-seat Las Vegas ballpark.

The Bjarke Ingels Group, often referred to as BIG, is a Copenhagen (Denmark), New York City (US), London (UK), Barcelona (Spain), Shenzhen (China), (Oslo) (Norway), and Los Angeles-based group of architects and designers operating within the fields of architecture, product and landscape design, engineering, and planning.

Added Fisher, “They were doing the work for us in Oakland as well. For us, we wanted to have a designer that would think about things a little differently.”

The team also hired the firm HNTB as the architect on the project. The HNTB was part of the 65,000-capacity Allegiant Stadium’s (Paradise, Nevada) design process, and the firm has worked on several other sports facilities including the National Football League (NFL) team San Francisco 49ers’ 68,500-capacity Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. The HNTB has offices all over the United States, including in Las Vegas.

HNTB Corporation is an American infrastructure design firm. Founded in 1914 in Kansas City, Missouri, the HNTB began with the partnership made by Ernest Emmanuel Howard with the firm Waddell & Harrington, founded in 1907.

Continued Fisher, “We wanted to have the best of both worlds.”

With design work still ongoing, Fisher didn’t reveal specifics about what the planned ballpark would include, but he said they’re looking at all aspects of the facility and its surrounding area – “We’ve got into the specifics around the team store, as well as where we want concessions to be and how do we create spaces so that the stadium attracts fans 365 days a year, not just when we’re holding events. So, we’re working on all of these aspects of the plans.”
 

Funding

Last Summer, the Senate Bill 1 was signed into law by the Governor of Nevada, Joe Lombardo, earmarking up to $380 million in public money for the stadium.

The ‘A’s’ will have to come up with the remaining costs, which will exceed $1 billion.

Fisher further informed, “That will be funded mostly with equity from my family. We would actually like to consider raising capital, especially from the local investors. That creates a connection to the community, and we’ve seen that with a lot of other teams become a successful thing.”

Early plans call for the ballpark construction to begin in 2025.

The team is working on finalizing various agreements with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, the public Board that will oversee the construction and operation of the ballpark. The process is similar to the one that led to the opening of the Allegiant Stadium, with the stadium authority also overseeing that facility.

Las Vegas (US)-based the Las Vegas Stadium Authority owns and oversees the Las Vegas stadiums and manages the coverage of waterfall revenue (a financial model that visually represents how revenue is recognized over time) distributions in addition to managing the stadium capital improvement funds and the related expenditures.

With the ‘A’s’ relocation approved by the Major League Baseball and the Las Vegas stadium’s opening on track for 2028, the MLB officials are relieved that a future home for the ‘A’s’ is on the horizon, Fisher said. The team’s lease at the aging, outdated Oakland Coliseum expires after the 2024 season.

Stated Fisher, “The league is very excited about the fact that we now have a path forward.”

New York (US)-based the Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball league. One of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, the MLB comprises 30 teams, divided equally between the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), with 29 in the United States and 1 in Canada.

The ‘A’s’ don’t want to try to one-up any facility that already exists in Las Vegas, Fisher said. Instead, they want to complement the other facilities and add to the Valley’s venue portfolio.

Remarked Fisher, “Vegas have set such a high bar in terms of what is expected. You have the 18,600-capacity Sphere, and people are like, ‘Oh my god, this is incredible’. We’re not looking at this to try and outdo the group that came before. We hope our plan is iconic and will survive the test of time.”
 

Site Visits

‘LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL’ further stated that the Oakland Athletics are making site visits this week as they try to figure out where the team will play once their Oakland Coliseum lease is up after the 2024 MLB season.

Members of the ‘A’s’ executive team, including the owner John Fisher and the President Dave Kaval, toured the 14,014-capacity Sutter Health Park in Sacramento, California. The park is the home of the Minor League Baseball (MiLB) team Sacramento River Cats, the Triple-A affiliate (the highest level of MiLB) of the MLB team San Francisco Giants.

The ‘A’s’ will continue their due diligence later this week, a source said. They’re scheduled to visit the 14,511-capacity Smith’s Ballpark in Salt Lake City, Utah, home of the MLB team Los Angeles Angels’ Triple-A affiliate, the Salt Lake Bees.

The other potential temporary sites for the ‘A’s’ include the Coliseum, the MiLB team Las Vegas Aviators’ 8,196-capacity Las Vegas Ballpark in Nevada, the MLB team San Francisco Giants’ 42,300-capacity Oracle Park in San Francisco, California, and the MiLB team Reno Aces’ 9,013-capacity Greater Nevada Field in Reno, Nevada. All options are still on the table, according to the source.

The MLB and the MLB Players Association will both have to approve the ‘A’s’ interim home before the location can be finalized.

New York (US)-based the Major League Baseball Players Association is the labor union representing all current Major League Baseball players. All players, managers, coaches, and athletic trainers who hold or have held a signed contract with a Major League club are eligible for membership in the association.

The team needs to figure out its preferred destination well before July, when the league releases the schedule for the following season.

The ‘A’s’ plan to move into their planned $1.5 billion, 33,000-seat Las Vegas ballpark in 2028, which is scheduled to be built on nine acres of the 35-acre Tropicana hotel site.

The ‘A’s’ are in the process of finalizing the various agreements with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority, which are required to make the public funds available to them. The Tropicana would also first need to be imploded before construction on the ballpark can begin. The ‘A’s’ hope to starting building in early 2025.

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