A deadline is looming that, if it passes with no action, would bring very good news to Caesars, MGM, and other Las Vegas Strip operators.
Las Vegas usually gets what it wants.
Sin City, and specifically the Las Vegas Strip, has become the ultimate destination. It’s where retailers put their flagship stores, famous chefs seek to make their biggest marks, and the biggest-name performers take up residency.
Las Vegas has become America’s adult vacation and business trip destination of choice because the city offers so much more than just gambling. Yes, Caesars Entertainment (CZR) – Get Caesars Entertainment Inc. Report, MGM Resorts International (MGM) – Get MGM Resorts International Report, Wynn Resorts (WYNN) – Get Wynn Resorts Limited Report, and the Strip’s other resort casino operators want you to gamble, but they also want to provide you with endless other ways to spend your money in pursuit of having a good time.
The non-gaming part of Las Vegas has grown in recent years. Whereas even the major casinos used to offer more kitschy performers, Caesars and MGM now routinely host residencies featuring the biggest stars in the world. They also have become the center of the nightclub world with the biggest DJs practically (or literally) living in the city with many also performing at the unique-to-Vegas day clubs that have become huge draws.
Over the past few years, Las Vegas has also become an unlikely center of the sports world. The Las Vegas Golden Knights, a National Hockey League expansion team plays in T-Mobile Arena in the heart of the Strip near many Caesars and MGM properties. And, the Las Vegas Raiders made the move from Oakland to a just off-the-Strip stadium that has turned every home game into a major event.
Now, Las Vegas appears set to lure the Oakland A’s to a yet-to-be-determined Las Vegas Strip location.
Image source: Circus Circus Hotel
Why the A’s Las Vegas Strip Move Appears Closer
In theory, Oakland still has a chance to hold onto the Athletics as the team and the city have been negotiating on a stadium that would be part of a $12 billion waterfront development. It has never been clear that the team actually wants to stay in Oakland (since Las Vegas is a much better market financially) but the team has to at least appear to be negotiating in good faith to avoid angering its fanbase.
The A’s, however, need a lot to happen in order for the team to stay in Oakland. It’s a complicated political process involving a lot of moving parts, while a Las Vegas stadium could be built with private money. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on the timeline and what needs to happen for Oakland to remain in consideration.
In order for the Oakland City Council to hold a binding vote on the A’s Howard Terminal project this year, negotiations between the two sides need to be wrapped up in the next week, according to City Administrator Ed Reiskin.
“If our goal is to have something for the council’s consideration this calendar year, the timeline is very, very tight to do that,” Reiskin said during Tuesday’s Oakland City Council meeting.
Even if that happens, the project would still have to pass the city’s planning commission in October and voters in November.
The A’s have made it clear they will not stay in Oakland at their current stadium after their lease expires in 2024.
Two Las Vegas Sites Remain in Contention
While the team has at least been playing along with the process in Oakland, it has also been looking at sites in Las Vegas. And while there might be other locations in contention, the team has publicly acknowledged that it’s talking with Circus Circus owner Phil Ruffin about the Las Vegas Fairgrounds site adjacent to Circus Circus.
In addition, Bally’s, which is about to take over operations at the Tropicana, has publicly acknowledged that it has discussed building a stadium at that site with the team.
If a deal is reached in either location on the Las Vegas Strip, the team would be expected to build (or have its partner build) a 30,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof.