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Friday, June 14, 2024

After Vegas Move, A’s Want to Play More Games Outside Vegas

  • The marketing tactic could impact stadium financing.
  • The team still hasn’t gotten the official green light to begin construction in Las Vegas.
Jun 2, 2024; Cumberland, Georgia, USA; Oakland Athletics shortstop Max Schuemann (12) waits for the pitch from the Atlanta Braves during the eighth inning at Truist Park.
Jordan Godfree-USA TODAY Sports

In the latest twist of the A’s relocation saga, the team has proposed playing twice as many home games at neutral sites as other teams typically negotiate.

The details are laid out in the proposed 30-year non-relocation agreement, a key step before construction can begin on a new stadium in Las Vegas. The A’s are requesting up to eight games post-relocation to be played in other cities every season as a marketing tactic to help promote their brand, though team president David Kaval said the number of neutral-site games is expected to be “way less” in most years, according to The Nevada Independent.

The initiative could be a financial blow for the partially publicly funded stadium proposal as it could impact the bonding capacity, which is similar to insurance for the project owner. Moving that number of games out of Vegas would also decrease tax revenue.

The Las Vegas Stadium Authority Board is set to vote on the non-relocation agreement at a meeting July 18. Its chairman, Steve Hill, told the Independent that even though the setup could lead to more summertime events like concerts—an idea also put forward by Kaval—those can’t be considered in calculating the bonding capacity. The figure currently is $120 million but could drop 10% if the same percentage of games are cut, Hill said.

In other recent non-relocation agreements, teams have agreed to no more than three home games at neutral sites. Examples of games that fit the mold include the Field of Dreams game, the MLB London and Seoul Series, and the upcoming game at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, the nation’s oldest ballpark and an important spot in the history of the Negro Leagues.

The A’s recently reached a deal to spend their interim years between Oakland and Las Vegas at Sacramento’s Triple-A ballpark. The team would spend three seasons in Sacramento before heading to Sin City. The new ballpark is estimated to cost roughly $1.5 billion, but outside of the $380 million of approved public funding (which is being challenged by education advocates), it’s unclear who’s providing the rest of the money.

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