In the continuing saga of where the Oakland Athletics are going to play — Oakland or maybe Las Vegas — Mick Akers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal has some information about one possibility in Vegas:
The Oakland Athletics reportedly have their sights set on the Tropicana hotel site to build a potential ballpark on the Las Vegas Strip.
Two other sites also have piqued the team’s interest, one owned by Wynn Las Vegas and the other by Caesars Entertainment, according to a report Wednesday from CNBC.
Bally’s Corp., which owns the Tropicana Las Vegas, declined to comment on the report. A spokesperson for the A’s also declined to comment. Officials for Wynn and Caesars didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The Tropicana Hotel was one of the earliest built on what’s become known as the Las Vegas Strip. Bally’s — yes, the same company that now has naming rights on a lot of regional sports networks — bought the property recently. That deal is expected to close next year and Bally’s was going to operate the hotel.
But now, the A’s might be making an offer for that property:
A’s President Dave Kaval told the Review-Journal last month that the team had put an offer on a site where it could look to build a $1 billion Major League ballpark. Kaval didn’t reveal the site at that time but noted the team was down to two or three sites in Las Vegas after whittling a list that once included over 20 sites.
That’s all fine and dandy and speculative and it might or might not ever happen, but what’s missing from that rendering?
That’s right. Parking. The article says:
If the ballpark ends up at the Tropicana site, it would add to an already robust offering of event spaces on the south portion of the resort corridor. The possible 30,000-35,000-seat stadium would be located within walking distance of Allegiant Stadium, T-Mobile Arena, the MGM Grand Garden arena and Michelob Ultra Arena at Mandalay Bay hotel-casino.
That’s right, there’s a lot going on there including ... The Strip, where thousands of gamblers do their thing at mega-casinos. But how are the 30,000 to 35,000 people who are going to attend proposed Las Vegas A’s baseball games going to park for 81 home games? The A’s can’t be thinking that people walking up and down the Strip are going to see this ballpark and think, “Oh, sure, I’ll just go to a baseball game!” Marketing your team to tourists is fine — the Cubs do it all the time, after all — but it’s not something that you’re going to be able to count on for consistent crowds all season.
Public transit? Like a lot of Western cities, Las Vegas has a bunch of bus routes, but that’s not going to cover enough for people to use it to go to baseball games. Vegas public transportation is not nearly as robust as it is in, say, New York or Chicago.
Based on this tweet from radio sportscaster Arash Markazi:
A’s president Dave Kaval has made at least six trips to Las Vegas looking at over 20 potential sites for a new $1 billion stadium.
I suppose there’s some serious intent here, but I can’t help still feeling that all of this is still just leverage to try to get the folks in Oakland to help build the A’s a new ballpark.
Here’s a rendering of the interior of the proposed Vegas ballpark:
It’s actually kind of cool looking, with a retractable roof (something definitely needed in Vegas, where it’s nearly as hot as Phoenix in the summer).
But whether they can build such a place on the Tropicana site is an open question. They’ll need parking.