The Oakland Athletics’ preferred Las Vegas site for a potential $1 billion domed stadium could be announced in four to six weeks, team President Dave Kaval said Friday.
“That’s the time we’re looking to have an announcement and to let people know,” Kaval said. “It could slightly change, but I think that’s the way we’re looking at it now. That’s really important for us to continue the process forward and get people excited about the location.”
The timing is tied to how many, if any, renderings of a proposed ballpark would be included in the site announcement.
Kaval estimates that he and other A’s brass will make about three trips to Las Vegas over that time. Team representatives could make their next trip as soon as next week, Kaval said.
Trouble in the Bay
The Athletics and the city of Oakland on Friday were hit with a lawsuit tied to the planned $12 billion Howard Terminal project in the Bay Area.
Filed by the East Oakland Stadium Alliance group in California Superior Court, the legal matter was made under the California Environmental Quality Act.
“When my lawyer called me, our general counsel called me, I asked her if it was April Fools’, and she laughed,” Kaval said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “So, no, it’s real. Monday is the last day they could file the lawsuit. So, this is the first one, there may be others, we don’t know. But it shows how challenging it is to get these projects approved in California.”
The lawsuit alleges that the project, centered around a $1 billion waterfront ballpark, would pose an environmental risk to the Bay Area.
“That’s (East Oakland Stadium Alliance) an AstroTurf group; that’s not a real group,” Kaval said. “They don’t actually have any members in east Oakland at all, ironically. It’s really these polluters, these maritime polluters, the biggest polluters in probably the West coast, who are just doing absolutely everything they can to prevent the project from happening. The fact that they’re using an environmental law on a project that’s probably going to improve the environment, it’s just absolutely crazy.”
Kaval said this lawsuit adds nine months of uncertainty for the Howard Terminal project, even if the Oakland City Council approves it to move forward.
“It increases the uncertainty and it puts a cloud over even a City Council approval,” Kaval said. “It further reinforces why we continue to put offers on sites (in Las Vegas). We’re negotiating with different parties. We’ve had a lot of detailed meetings on some of these term sheets and why pretty shortly we’re going to be announcing a site in Las Vegas because we have to have a real option down in Las Vegas. I think eventually there will be a Major League Baseball team there, and I think there’s a real chance that it could be the A’s.”
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred last year gave the A’s permission to seek relocation, with Las Vegas so far being the only market the team has reviewed.
The lawsuit represents the third hurdle put in front of the organization in recent months, following the no vote by the Seaport Advisory Council and the potential to put the decision on the Howard Terminal project to a public vote, Kaval said.
“It just brings more uncertainty and further reinforces why we’re spending so much time and effort and we have such a sincere interest in Las Vegas as an option for the club,” Kaval said.
This week news broke about the Oak View Group looking to build a $3 billion project on land located on Las Vegas Boulevard near Blue Diamond Road, centered around a $1 billion arena. That is on top of Brightline looking to build a high-speed train station next door, with the potential for a Major League Soccer stadium to be built adjacent to that.
With that news Kaval said that site, previously of interest to the A’s, is now off the table.
“That is a location that was floated earlier on,” Kaval said. “It’s a little outside of the main resort corridor, and from our perspective of having 81 dates it’s really critically important to have a location that appeals to tourists and locals. We need that balance. That’s one of our guiding principles to make sure that we pick something that works for everyone.”
The number of potential sites the A’s are negotiating on still sits at five, and negotiations are ongoing, Kaval said.
“There are some trips planned, and we’re right in the thick of it,” Kaval said. “It’s fast and furious in the negotiations, and it’s something that we’re taking very seriously.”
The NFL Draft is set to take place at the end of April in Las Vegas, the announcement of the Formula One coming to the Strip next year and the Super Bowl taking place in Southern Nevada in 2024 has the A’s and MLB’s attention.
“I think it bodes very well for Las Vegas as a sports market,” Kaval said. “It’s really becoming a sports mecca. To see all the other announcements and as we evaluate it and the league evaluates it, too, they’re watching it, too. It’s important for that part of the equation, too.
“The other owners will have to vote to allow the team to move at some point. For them to see the success of all the other properties is going to be important.”