Bally’s enters ‘monumental’ Oakland A’s deal to take MLB to Las Vegas

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Bally’s and Gaming and Leisure Properties have confirmed that a “binding agreement” has been reached that will see Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics relocate to a new ballpark on a portion of Tropicana Las Vegas.

As first disclosed by The Nevada Independent, it is thought that arrangement will see the current venue demolished in order to make way for a $1.5bn stadium that will house approximately 30,000 fans at the southern end of the Strip.

The casino operator gained the building and operations of Tropicana from GLPI in a $148m transaction in September 2022, which saw the group enter into a 50-year ground lease with a potential 99-year extension contingent on “key investment milestones” being hit.

Bally’s noted that it will maintain operations “for the foreseeable future,” but added that an evaluation of “all available options for a broader redevelopment” adjacent to the new ballpark will commence.

This is rumoured to include the potential to construct a new casino hotel destination upon completion, which is said to be slated for 2027 – although this could be nudged back one year due to construction timelines.

In addition, the local publication also noted that The A’s were looking for $500m in public funding to aid construction, however, this has reportedly now been lowered to $395m.

George Papanier, Bally’s President, explained: “We are honoured to have been selected to partner with the Oakland Athletics on this monumental step in helping to bring Major League Baseball to the great city of Las Vegas, and to be a part of the once in a generation opportunity of having a professional baseball team located within a short walk of the Las Vegas Strip. 

“The Tropicana has been a landmark of Las Vegas for generations, and this development will enhance this iconic site for generations to come. We are committed to ensuring that the development and ballpark built in its place will become a new landmark, paying homage to the iconic history and global appeal of Las Vegas and its nearly 50 million visitors a year.”

In addition to noting a “key hurdle” associated with The A’s Las Vegas move, Bally’s also elaborated on a “range of benefits” that will be felt as a result of this development.

These include the potential for future offerings with the site to be enhanced due to an expectation of welcoming 2.5 million visitors per year, with the “massive unlocked potential” of “one of the busiest intersections in the country” also touched upon.

Furthermore, the “significant flexibility for an array of strategic options,” including a phased approach and disciplined capital deployment, is also detailed.

GLPI has also agreed to fund up to $175m towards “certain shared improvements within the future development”, which has been agreed in exchange for “a commensurate rent increase”.

Peter Carlino, Chair and CEO of GLPI, commented “We have enjoyed getting to know the Oakland Athletics’ leadership through our dialogue over the past couple years. 

“We are pleased to help facilitate their exciting vision for a new ballpark through our contribution of nine acres of the Tropicana site and look forward to the prominent place that the overall project will occupy in the Las Vegas skyline. 

“The Oakland Athletics’ interest in developing a world-class Major League Baseball stadium on our site underscores its status as one of the most prime locations on the Las Vegas Strip and will enhance any future development of our remaining 26 acres. 

“As the project moves forward, we also expect that GLPI will have opportunities to further invest in the various aspects of the overall project to the extent we deem that doing so will generate an attractive risk adjusted return on our shareholders’ capital.”

Bally’s noted that it will assign approximately nine acres of the 35-acre site to the Oakland Athletics or a related stadium authority, with groundbreaking subject to the passing of legislation for public financing and related agreements, and approval of relocation by MLB.