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Elephant Rumblings: Public funding for Vegas ballpark in question

MLB news roundup

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The owners of the Tropicana hope that a binding agreement reached with the Oakland Athletics pledging 9 acres on the Las Vegas Strip free of charge will help to push the planned $1.5 billion MLB ballpark project to completion.
Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Happy Friday, Athletics Nation!

John Fisher appears determined to move the A’s to Las Vegas, but details on how the a new ballpark may be funded—and where it could be built—continue to shift. Last month, the A’s entered into an agreement to buy 49 acres near the strip in what was seen by many as a portent of the end of the Oakland era of A’s baseball. Mere weeks later, Bally’s Corp announced that they were in agreement on a plan for a 30,000 seat stadium where the Tropicana hotel currently resides.

There’s been a lot of chatter over the past week about a pending agreement in the Nevada Legislature that would grant the A’s request of nearly $400 million in tax credits to help cover an estimated $1.5 billion project cost. However, reports have emerged that indicate state funding may wind up amounting to far less than the team is hoping.

Tabitha Mueller and Howard Stutz at the Nevada Independent cited sources close to negotiations in the state legislature who say that lawmakers are balking at the requested figure, and seem more inclined to grant $150 to $195 million in transferable tax credits, depending on how much funding Clark County agrees to provide through bonds that would be repaid by special taxes on a stadium site.

The proposed Bally’s - A’s collaboration therefore depends on support from both state and county government to move forward based on these reports. Negotiations appear to be active and different figures are being thrown about in the media. Mueller and Stutz indicate that half or more of the desired $395 million may be required at the county level, while Mick Akers at the Las Vegas Review Journal tweeted that the A’s are only seeking $75 million from Clark County.

Casey Pratt at ABC 7 News Bay Area wisely observes that these “sources” may be attempting to influence negotiations, and we should take all of this with a grain of salt until a bill is introduced.

Meanwhile, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao made clear that if the A’s return to the negotiating table, the city is ready to resume negotiations and get an agreement on Howard Terminal across the finish line. Funding close to what the A’s are seeking in Vegas is apparently secured, as well.

Is there a chance that the A’s could pivot back to securing a future in Oakland if their desert dreams prove a mirage? I think so—but I wouldn’t bet a dime on it happening. What’s your wager?

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HBD to the legendary #9

And David Forst, too

Anyone missing?