A's ask to play some home games away from future Las Vegas ballpark

A's ask to play some home games away from future Las Vegas ballpark originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

As the Athletics prepare eventually to move to a new stadium on the Las Vegas Strip, a percentage of home games might not be played at the new ballpark.

Per The Nevada Independent, citing the team’s proposed non-relocation agreement, the A’s have stipulated that they are entitled to play up to seven home games away from the Las Vegas stadium, a number that is double that of other MLB teams.

While franchises do play special games at neutral sites in North America or overseas, taking away seven home games in Las Vegas would make a significant financial impact. Eliminating roughly 10 percent of A’s home games would threaten the stadium financing plan, as yearly revenue would be below projections. Thus, the amount of money that could be financed via bonds would be less than what the team has projected for the stadium project.

While negotiations still are in their formative stages, anything that could impact the proposed stadium’s financing throws another wretch into what already has become a complicated and controversial subject for both Las Vegas and Oakland.

A's president Dave Kaval told The Nevada Independent that holding games outside of Las Vegas would help boost the team's brand, as well as attract both players and sponsors, adding the number allows for “flexibility” but also places an “absolute limit” on how many games could be moved outside of the city.

“We know in most years it’s expected to be way less,” Kaval told The Nevada Independent.

While MLB has approved the move, there are still plenty of potential pitfalls for the A’s to overcome in building their new stadium, which will rely on significant public subsidies from Las Vegas to the tune of $325 million worth of bonds, credits and other tax breaks.

To meet the league's timetable for the new ballpark, construction will need to begin no later than April 2025 so that the A’s can play there at the start of the 2028 MLB season. A full non-relocation agreement will need to be completed well before 2025 to ensure that everything is in place for construction to begin.

After many years of tense negotiations with the city of Oakland, the A’s elected to move the team to Las Vegas. Central to the relocation was the promise of a new state-of-the-art ballpark, as the A’s no longer wanted to remain in the decaying Oakland Coliseum.

With their lease at the Coliseum expiring after the end of the 2024 season, the franchise will spend three seasons in Sacramento at the AAA Sutter Health Park.

Considering the difficulties the franchise has faced at this point in the relocation, there are still no guarantees the Las Vegas stadium construction will end up occurring within the timetable set out by the league.