LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — If you build a ballpark, then the baseball fans will come. The Oakland Athletics think that's the case if they relocate the team to Southern Nevada, but the big question is where?
Oakland A's team president, Dave Kaval, tells 13 Action News the team is currently considering about two dozen different locations where they could build a new ballpark in the Las Vegas valley.
During his second visit to the valley, Kaval says he was hoping to narrow their list of potential stadium locations, but it ended up expanding because there's a lot to like about many of the locations.
"We're still trying to determine the mix of local fans and tourists who would come to the games," said Kaval, describing the list of sites for a future stadium, which includes a plot of land near Circus Circus.
"It seems like there's a lot of new energy in the northern Strip area. Obviously, you have Resorts World that's about to open. And so, I think that's kind of intriguing. Getting in and out on Sahara is kind of intriguing, as well, for locals. And so, I think that provides some interesting aspects that obviously we want to learn more about, and potentially plan out in a meaningful way," said Kaval.
The A's are also exploring a piece of land just north of McCarran Airport that's owned by UNLV, which presents some interesting opportunities for a partnership.
"Partnering with such an esteemed institution of higher learning like UNLV, that could be really positive. It could provide community benefits well beyond baseball. So, I think that's something that's really intriguing. For us, it's also proximate to the resort corridor, but still gives you a little bit of space to get locals in and out. But I think there are maybe some concerns that it's too close to the airport because I know there were some letters and concerns about that when the Raiders were gonna go there," said Kaval.
Cashman Field is also being considered. Kaval says he got a great tour of downtown Las Vegas from casino owner Derek Stevens, but can't yet pinpoint exactly where they'd build a new ballpark downtown.
"I think finding the space is the hardest challenge there because things are just tighter. All the different parcels and stuff aren't quite as big. But by the same token, I think for younger millennials and gen Z and people of that persuasion, that's important for the future of baseball. Having a location that is a little more urban could be appealing, and so that's something we want to take a look at," said Kaval.
And Kaval says they're not ruling out building a new stadium even further from the strip, somewhere in Henderson or Summerlin.
"That might be better for locals. We have to do more market research to find out if that's truly, in fact, accurate. But by the same token, I think it's obviously harder for visitors to potentially reach those areas. But those are incredible locations, so I want to leave that open because maybe we'll find out that 90% of the fans are local. And if that's true and that's the business model that we kind of put forward, then maybe a location like that could make sense," said Kaval.
There is still a chance the A's stay in Oakland. There's an important hearing scheduled for July 20 when the City of Oakland will vote on whether to approve a new waterfront ballpark for the team. That's when we'll get a better idea of how realistic a move to southern Nevada really is.