As the Oakland Athletics made their fifth visit this week to Las Vegas to explore a possible relocation to southern Nevada, it becomes clear that they are following a plan similar to that of the Raiders.
Whether this leads to a similar result, a move to Las Vegas, remains to be seen.
Team owner John Fisher and President Dave Kaval toured Wednesday through Friday, meeting with various dignitaries from the Las Vegas Valley, including Governor Steve Sisolak, local union leaders and casino hotel operators. .
After meeting Sisolak on the A’s first trip to Las Vegas in late May at the opening gala for the West Hall expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Governor invited Kaval and Fisher to meet him more formally, and they accepted his offer during this trip. .
“It’s great to meet with political leaders,” Kaval said on Friday. âWe have done it at all levels.
He said they were doing it “to better understand the community and the direction it is heading, the diversification of the economy and what sport means” for Las Vegas.
Kaval said the A’s will continue to talk to Sisolak and other elected officials “to make sure we approach this in a thoughtful and measured manner, to get great results and potentially a team in the market.”
The Raiders have also worked with Clark County Commissioner Sisolak and now former Governor Brian Sandoval during their relocation process.
Sisolak said his first talks with the A’s, NBA and MLS officials were exploratory in nature, but are similar to the process that saw Las Vegas win the Golden Knights and Raiders.
âWhen I was on the county commission, I had a lot of discussions with (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman and with the NFL about coming here,â Sisolak said. âThese are discussions that have taken place over a long period of time. Then once they finally got engaged, once Bill Foley got the Knights, once the Raiders decided they were moving here, they stepped up and got a lot more detailed. I think we’re going to go through the same thing if that actually happens with baseball or MLS. “
Billionaires Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris, co-owners of Premier League football club Aston Villa, are said to be interested in bringing an MLS team to Las Vegas. They recently registered a trademark of the name Las Vegas Villains for a potential sports team.
Kaval said an important point of the A’s trip was meeting with local union leaders, meeting Culinary Union Local 226 president Ted Pappageorge and worker local 872 secretary-treasurer Tommy White. .
âReally to get to know their views, their thoughts, a team that comes and make sure we are doing everything we can to find out more about the community,â Kaval said.
White represents another Raiders link. He was a key figure in leading to the signing of Senate Bill 1, which secured the $ 750 million in public funding and also sits on the Stadium Authority’s board of directors. Fisher and Kaval met White Friday before returning to Oakland to watch the A game against the New York Yankees.
âWe told him about the places and the mix of locals versus tourists, making sure we were accessible to both,â Kaval said. âWe want to make sure we’re doing things right, that we learn from key people in the community who have been there for generations. We think that’s a key way to do it, to sit down with people like Tommy and other members of the labor movement.
The A’s also met with another key player in the Raiders’ decision, financial analyst Jeremey Aguero, director of Applied Analysis and staff at the Las Vegas Stadium Authority.
âWe had a good initial meeting,â Kaval said. âWe need to determine the economic impact of the upcoming team. “
The As’s held focus groups in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Texas to gauge baseball fans’ interest in attending home games in Las Vegas if the team eventually moved to southern Nevada.
The A’s used the Legends Hospitality group in Dallas to produce a feasibility report on the Las Vegas market. Kaval said early feedback showed “that there are a lot of sports fans, especially baseball fans in southern Nevada, and these people are thrilled” to have a major league franchise.
âObviously, the Aviators are a good example,â Kaval said. âBut having a major league team is really exciting. It’s nice to see that. The study is not finishedâ¦ but the first reports have been very, very strong on the strength of the local market. Kaval said fan access is a key factor in deciding where to build a stadium in Las Vegas. To that end, he said the A’s hired Kimley-Horn, a parking and transportation consultant, to conduct a transportation study, which the Raiders also did.
A plot of land on Las Vegas Boulevard and Warm Springs Road, which adjoins the land where Brightline West plans to build its high-speed rail station, was visited by the brass of A this week.
The site would not only be next to the station, but would also be accessible via Interstate 15 from Blue Diamond Road, the 215 Beltway from Las Vegas Boulevard. It is a short distance from the south end of the Las Vegas Strip and a few miles from McCarran International Airport.
Kaval said the team and City of Oakland officials remain at odds over the proposal for a new stadium in Oakland that was approved by city council on July 20, as the two sides continue to negotiate their disputes.
âWe were really disappointed that they voted on something that we really had never seen and we are staying away from the city of Oakland on an economic deal,â Kaval said. âWe’re sort of waiting to see what happens with the county, which is a key part of the city’s fundraising plan. We’re working hard in Las Vegas to see if it’s a viable market for A’s, and we’re working hard in Oakland to see where that process ends.
Kaval said the team planned to make a sixth visit to the valley in two weeks.