A’s, Nevada legislative leadership reach tentative agreement for new ballpark

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Republican Nevada Gov. Joe Lombardo announced Wednesday a tentative agreement between his office, legislative leaders in the state and the Oakland Athletics for a stadium funding plan after weeks of negotiations over how much public assistance the state will contribute to a $1.5 billion ballpark in Las Vegas, according to a joint statement.

The tentative agreement indicates a funding bill will be introduced in the Nevada Legislature in the coming days with less than two weeks until the legislative session’s end. It still needs approval from both the state Senate and Assembly.

The threat of a special legislative session looms if lawmakers can’t agree on the bill by the end of the regular session on June 5. The financing is not a sure thing either.

The bill comes on the heels of the Oakland Athletics’ purchase of land on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip where the Tropicana Las Vegas casino resort sits — a pivot from an earlier agreement that would have required a heftier $500 million price tag that many lawmakers signaled was too high. The joint statement did not give a specific number for the amount of public assistance the A’s will ask for.

The project includes the most private investment of any stadium in Major League Baseball, Nevada state treasurer Zach Conine said in the release.

“I am excited that we have finally received the A’s proposal and we are currently reviewing it,” Democratic state Assembly Speaker Steve Yeager said in the release. “As I have continuously said throughout this process, no commitment will be made until we have both evaluated the official proposal and received input from interested parties, including impacted community members.”

The A’s have been looking for years for a home to replace Oakland Coliseum, where the team has played since arriving from Kansas City for the 1968 season. They had sought to build a stadium in Fremont and San Jose before shifting their attention to the Oakland waterfront.

Las Vegas would be the fourth home for a franchise that started as the Philadelphia Athletics from 1901-54. It would become the smallest TV market in Major League Baseball and the smallest market to be home to three major professional sports franchises. The team and the city are hoping to draw from the nearly 40 million tourists who visit Las Vegas annually to help fill the stadium.

Earlier this month, the A’s reached a deal with the Culinary Union, Nevada’s most politically powerful union that represents more than 60,000 workers in the Las Vegas area, which guarantees that A’s workers have the right to organize and negotiate union contracts.

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Stern is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms. Follow Stern on Twitter: @gabestern326.

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