The franchise owner is keeping a bidding war going.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, members of Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics business office met with a Las Vegas hotel and property owner, Phil Ruffin, to discuss the possibility of building a ballpark on some land that Ruffin has near the Las Vegas Strip. It is, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the second time Athletics officials have met with Ruffin in August. Athletics officials wanted to have a Las Vegas stadium site by now but the business is still kicking the tires at various locations within the Las Vegas metropolitan area. Of course, Athletics ownership is still pushing to build a stadium-village on the Oakland waterfront. That’s how you play the stadium game and Athletics owner John Fisher is providing a textbook example of how it is done. Gain maximum leverage by having cities bid for your business and make sure that the pressure on the bidders increases. Oakland is still in the running to keep the franchise but MLB and Fisher are growing impatient that the Oakland process is not moving fast enough.
But there is a Las Vegas problem. Who is going to pay for an Athletics stadium? Las Vegas and Nevada officials are having a problem paying down the debt at the National Football League’s Raiders stadium because the COVID-19 pandemic impacted local tourism and fewer hotel rooms were being used which meant far less money coming in to help pay down the Raiders stadium debt. A hotel-motel tax is the funding mechanism for the NFL Las Vegas stadium. There does not seem to be much of a political appetite to use tax dollars for a Las Vegas MLB facility. Meanwhile, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said the Athletics ownership needs to quickly reach an agreement for a new Oakland ballpark or else.
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