The A’s stadium drama has been one of MLB’s biggest storylines of the past couple months. The franchise has already expressed its hope for getting a deal done in Las Vegas that’d allow it to relocate out of Oakland within the next couple years. The A’s entered into a pair of land purchase agreements for potential stadium sites in recent months, but the franchise’s biggest hurdle — a public financing agreement with the Nevada legislature — has yet to get off the ground.
Reports on Monday suggested the organization was likely to formally put forth a funding proposal by the end of the week. That still hasn’t happened, and multiple reports Thursday indicated potential reluctance on the legislature’s part to meet the A’s ask. The franchise’s as-yet unofficial proposal is expected to call for $395M in public funding via Clark County-issued bonds to be paid by tax dollars related to the stadium project. Initially, the organization was set to pursue $500M in bonds before revising its anticipated ask after changing the target stadium site.
Even that “diminished” $395M figure seems to be beyond the legislature’s comfort. Both Mick Akers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Tabitha Mueller/Howard Stutz of the Nevada Independent reported Thursday the legislature wasn’t keen on the $395M price tag. The respective reports present differing details on precisely how large the gap between the organization and state is.
The Nevada Independent suggests the legislature is mulling an approval of $150M-$195M in tax credits, which would leave a $200M+ gap on the organization’s desired figure. The Review-Journal pegs things more closely, reporting that government officials are willing to commit $320M in financing. That’d be a much smaller but still not insignificant $75M shy of the A’s goal.
Akers writes that the A’s formal financing proposal is now not expected to go in front of the legislature until sometime next week. Lawmakers are only in scheduled session through June 5, leaving a small window for a deal to be approved before the session is set to close. The governor or 2/3 of the legislature can choose to call a special session to continue negotiations beyond June 5 if necessary, Mueller and Stutz note.
In any event, there’s an increasing sense of urgency for the organization to accelerate talks. The franchise is hoping to build a 30,000-seat retractable roof facility with an estimated $1.5 billion price tag on the south end of the Vegas strip. Just over $1.1 billion would be paid by the A’s under their expected proposal, with the $395M in public funding accounting for the remainder of the costs. It’s to be seen whether either side will budge on the funding discrepancy (however large it is at present) to get a deal done.
Under the 2022-26 collective bargaining agreement, the A’s have until next Jan. 15 to sign a stadium deal somewhere if they’re to retain their status as recipients of revenue sharing. It’s clear the organization hopes that’ll be in Vegas, though there remains some chance the A’s turn their focus back to Oakland if talks with the Nevada legislature fall apart.