Professional sports have invaded Las Vegas and more could be on the way. The National Football League and National Hockey League have teams that call Vegas home. Could Major League Baseball be next?
What Happened: The Oakland A’s are seeking to get a new stadium built to replace the Oakland Coliseum. As talks between the team and city stall, the team has actively pursued locations in or near Las Vegas for relocation.
The A’s have looked at dozens of locations with two to three final spots now chosen. Among the potential leaders is said to be the Tropicana hotel site, which is owned by Bally’s Corp BALY.
The Tropicana site is near the south portion of the Las Vegas resorts and would be close to other sports stadiums and event spaces. Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim was open to a potential deal with the A’s earlier this year saying there were 35 acres at the Tropicana.
Two other locations owned by Caesars Entertainment Inc CZR and Wynn Resorts, Limited WYNN are said to be finalists, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Another wild card in the mix is Howard Hughes Corp HHC, which is a notable real estate owner in the region. The company has sites in nearby cities of Henderson and Sumerlin that were visited by the A’s executives.
Howard Hughes owns the A’s Triple-A affiliate the Las Vegas Aviators and Las Vegas Ballpark. Howard Hughes has been open to the idea of donating land to the A’s if they choose to relocate to Sumerlin.
Whether the A’s choose a deal with Howard Hughes for a new stadium, the company is hopeful it could play into the equation and host the A’s at the 10,000 seat Las Vegas Ballpark until the new stadium is built.
“The reality is they may have to play in our ballpark for a couple of years, temporarily, no matter what happens,” Howard Hughes Senior Vice President Peter Riley said.
Before a 2005 acquisition of Harrah’s Entertainment by Caesars, the company planned to build a 40,000 seat retractable roof stadium for a baseball team. The buyout led to plans being stalled.
Why It’s Important: The Oakland A’s have looked at moving to Las Vegas for years. Sports reporter Darren Rovell says the team started looking at Las Vegas as a home back in March 1998, which means no move to the city is a conclusion.
The Vegas Golden Knights began to play as an NHL team in the 2017-2018 season. NHL history in Las Vegas dates back to a 1991 game played outside Caesar’s Palace.
The National Basketball Association has been linked with expansion to Las Vegas. The city currently hosts all 30 teams during the pre-season Summer League played at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
T-Mobile Arena, owned as a joint venture by MGM Resorts International MGM, Anschutz Entertainment and Bill Foley, is the home of the Golden Knights. The arena is often linked to a potential home of an NBA team.
The Las Vegas Raiders and UNLV football teams play at Allegiant Stadium, located in nearby Paradise, Nevada.
The Golden Knights rank seventh in the NHL in attendance at 18,085 per home contest, which is 104% of capacity. The Raiders average 61,090 per home contest, which is 94% of capacity and ranks 27th in the NFL.
After years of being shunned by leagues due to the legalized sports betting in Las Vegas, the city is now home to professional sports teams, preseason tournaments and award shows.
A move by an MLB and/or NBA team should not be a surprise at this point and could boost hotel room occupancy, event revenue and overall tourism spending for the city and properties, helping several public companies linked to the city of Las Vegas.
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