It seemed to be a done deal, but the Oakland A’s agreement to secure public funding for the team’s planned ballpark in Las Vegas hit a new snag that could potentially derail the entire arrangement.
Schools Over Stadiums, an advocacy group linked to the Nevada State Education Association, has filed a referendum petition seeking to put the previously approved $380 million in public funding for the stadium on a statewide public ballot.
The group will need more than 102,000 valid signatures by July 2024 to qualify for the ballot in November of that year. But if successful, the A’s issue would go before Nevada voters at a time when voter support for private sports projects is often tenuous at best.
If voted down, the measure would create a funding gap in the proposed $1.5 billion project.
“Nevada’s priorities are misguided … and our goal was to ensure that public funds go to the services Nevadans depend on like our public schools, not to a California billionaire for a stadium,” said Dawn Etcheverry, Schools Over Stadiums president.
Though the A’s relocation application is now being formally reviewed by a MLB committee, the latest development extends a series of problematic issues surrounding the effort.
Since June, the A’s have acknowledged initial stadium renderings used to help secure the public funding were garbage, A’s owner John Fisher has pushed back against fans protesting the team’s intended move and on-field performance, and plans have emerged suggesting the Las Vegas stadium will rely in part on a controversial underground tunnel system.