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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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New A’s Renderings May at Last Be Near. One Exec Says He’s Seen Them

  • MGM CEO claims to have viewed three different versions of the ballpark site plan.
  • Drawings could go a long way toward answering how a stadium will work on the much-debated site.
Oakland Athletics
Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most heavily anticipated sets of sports facility renderings is perhaps nearing a release after months of delays, and a major gaming and resort executive claims to have seen them. 

The A’s were due to release in December the latest set of drawings for their planned Las Vegas ballpark. But while team owner John Fisher recently said the renderings are still being finalized, MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle said he’s viewed several different site plans for the ballpark. The stadium is set to be built on the current site of the Tropicana Las Vegas, and MGM owns several adjacent properties, most notably its flagship MGM Grand resort.

“We’re waiting to see where that lands. I have to believe in the next 30 to 60 days we should find out more,” Hornbuckle said of the A’s stadium in an earnings call with financial analysts. “I’ve been shown three different versions of [the ballpark] in terms of where it will actually sit on the site and how it will connect [with Las Vegas Boulevard]. Once it settles in, we’ll get serious about what we might want to do and how we might want to communicate with it, if you will, in terms of pedestrian traffic.”

Hornbuckle also plans to use the stadium as a catalyst to upgrade the 30-year-old MGM Grand, saying “it needs some love.”

Many sports facility renderings fail to live up to their initial hype, and the A’s admitted the first batch of drawings for their planned ballpark in Las Vegas were garbage, acting largely as just a tool to win $380 million in public funding toward the $1.5 billion stadium project. But in this case, the new A’s renderings could go a long way toward answering how the team will try to make work a nine-acre site—which will be one of the very smallest among MLB ballparks—located along a very busy thoroughfare. 

Already, there are serious doubts it can work. Earlier this month, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said on the Front Office Sports Today podcast that the current ballpark plan “does not make sense.”

Back to the Table

As A’s officials met with Oakland city officials Thursday about a potential lease extension—marking a surprising revival of talks between the two sides—sources close to the FOS Today podcast said that A’s senior adviser and former head of baseball operations Billy Beane leaned on Fisher to meet again with city officials. Both the city and team described the meeting as a positive session and plan to continue negotiations, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

U.S. Rep Barbara Lee (D., Calif.), whose district is based in Oakland, has even bigger aspirations for the session.

“I hope this meeting signals a willingness to reignite conversations about keeping the A’s in Oakland long term,” Lee tweeted. “It’s become abundantly clear that the A’s are valued in the East Bay more than anywhere else.”

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