One potential big change: in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, A’s president Dave Kaval opened the possibility of the team funding its own mixed-use development in Las Vegas if the best ballpark site is located off the Strip and off the Resort Corridor. This a first: A’s ownership has always looked to some sort of public-private partnership on the ballpark front, but real-estate developers gonna develop, and controlling all portions of a Vegas baseball city may be appealing to John Fisher and crew, a la The Battery and Wrigleyville.
That orientation can be seen in the three major site contenders mentioned by local politicos and insiders for a ballpark site. The first is a parcel south of the far end of the Las Vegas strip, south of Mandalay Bay and other recent growth in the area. The second is the Festival Grounds site at Sahara and Las Vegas Blvd. The third is the revival of a site once pitched as a Las Vegas Raiders stadium site: the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, located across I-15 from Caesars Palace on Flamingo Road. The site was also mentioned as a potential ballpark site early in the A’s siting process.
These three sites represent the views of officials who have met with the A’s; indeed, the A’s may have a totally different view of where they want a ballpark, and results of traffic studies may also change a ballpark site shortlist. Those studies are due in October, fitting within the stance by the A’s to release a shortlist in late October or early November.
Perhaps the most striking thing to take away from the Las Vegas politicos: they’ve gone from totally dismissing the possibility of the Athletics moving to Las Vegas and now see it as a inevitability. That may change should Oakland’s stance on the downtown waterfront site changes, but as of now the Vegas locals see it as a matter not of if, but of when.