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Oakland A's to Las Vegas? How to finance a major league move

What would it take to build a new ballpark?
Oakland A's to Las Vegas? How to finance a major league move
Oakland A's to Las Vegas? How to finance a major league move
Oakland A's to Las Vegas? How to finance a major league move
Posted at 7:45 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 10:47:21-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — 13 Action News has reported officials with the Oakland A’s are visiting Southern Nevada next week to explore the idea of relocating the team to Las Vegas.

This situation feels very similar to what brought the Raiders to Las Vegas, an Oakland team with stadium struggles looking for a new home.

Ultimately, it was a partnership that got the Raiders to Vegas and helped pay for Allegiant Stadium.

RELATED: Oakland Athletics officially exploring re-location to Las Vegas

"There’s going to be a big question about how you finance construction of a stadium," said Alan Feldman, who now serves as a Distinguished Fellow at UNLV's International Gaming Institute but spent much of his career as a member of the public relations team at MGM Resorts and helped get the NHL on board with an expansion team in Las Vegas.

"That’s still going to be a big issue because, here in Las Vegas, we are very much accustomed to developers bringing their own money, putting their own money down, building their own infrastructure," Feldman said. "You look up and down the strip, the hotels are all built by the companies that own and operate them."

Feldman says private purchases are what got the Golden Knights to Southern Nevada, with Bill Foley buying the team and a couple of companies teaming up to build T-Mobile Arena.

"T-Mobile Arena has no public money in it. That's money that was put up by private interests, AEG and MGM Resorts," he explained.

"The private side is pretty straightforward, either the A’s themselves or they're going to find a new investor, maybe someone here locally and it may be someone from outside, much as Bill Foley came from elsewhere and came into town as a private investor," he said.

Feldman says there are also several public options to help build a ballpark and plenty of incentive for the city and county.

"On the public side, there are a number of ways of doing this," said Feldman.

"The public could be a land contribution, land that a government entity currently owns that they contribute," he continued. "Or it could be a mixture of land and either bonding or tax increment financing."

"So it doesn't necessarily mean cash that the government is giving into this, but rather a way of public financing. That's very common and used in a number of different kinds of investments, where the government knows that that investment is going to lead to jobs and future tax revenues that end up ultimately paying off that investment."

Feldman says the A's could go the Raiders route to build a new ballpark, some sort of public-private partnership.

"There is some public money in the Allegiant Stadium, but a lot of it also came from the Raiders and from seat licenses and from sponsors."

"The Raiders used monies from room taxes to help finance the stadium. And so, when the rooms are filled on the Strip, no one was quite expecting a pandemic, only because that hadn't happened in 100 years, but there's tax money that is generated from the rooms, and some portion of that money was used to pay off the bonds of the stadium," said Feldman.

The investment in Allegiant Stadium hasn't paid off much yet, but with people planning to attend sporting events and concerts in the coming months, we're about to learn just how good of an investment it really was.