A's now have two 'binding' ballpark agreements
OAKLAND, Calif. - The Oakland Athletics have thrown relocation into chaos with binding themselves to a second stadium location in Las Vegas with time running out to get it officially approved and funded.
In what is called a "binding" agreement, the Oakland A's and Bally's Corp. will build a new ballpark, where the Tropicana Resort and Casino is currently situated, directly on the Las Vegas Strip.
This proposal, which includes nine free acres of land for a 30,000-seat stadium on this site, is the second such "binding" agreement coming after another one with Red Rock Resorts for a ballpark at another location.
"Now they're asking for a relatively small site, which they could have done at the Coliseum," said Save Oakland Sports Co-Founder Chris Dobbins.
The most critical part of any such agreement is a complex tax law signed and sealed by the state of Nevada to use public funds.
"The A's have not presented a legal document to the legislature," said legendary sports consultant and manager Andy Dolich.
We asked Dolich about two binding agreements from a team that has looked at five Bay Area locations and at least two in Las Vegas. "Binding means yes, and we're doing this, and they're not building two $1.5 billion convertible domed stadiums at two locations in Las Vegas," said Dolich.
It is still unclear exactly how much public money will go into making this happen. "There's been a lot of numbers that have been thrown around like $500 million, $365 million. And so I think, we're waiting to see what the formal number is when a piece of legislation drops, maybe this week. But it all depends," said The Nevada Independent reporter Tabitha Mueller. She says the lawmakers say they want to decide on this, but have only a few days to fashion complex laws and finance before the legislature adjourns for two years.
Beyond legislative approval, Bally's announcement has a big out in its agreement stating: "Bally's retains the ability to assign the rights to all aspects of this development and has received material interest from development partners." Calling it a once in a generation opportunity, A's President Dave Kaval told Bally's: "We are excited about the potential to bring Major League Baseball to this iconic location."
How would Dolich explain this to A's fans? "It is an enigma, wrapped in a mystery, shrouded by binding agreements that aren't binding," said Docich.