Lodi News-Sentinel

North Strip, downtown casinos give ‘full support’ to the A’s

- Mick Akers

If the Oakland Athletics relocate to Las Vegas, north Strip and downtown resort operators would strongly support the team building a $1 billion ballpark in their area.

Resorts World Las Vegas President Scott Sibella confirmed that he and hotel owners from the north Strip and downtown Las Vegas met with A’s brass Wednesday. They discussed the potential of a 35,000-seat domed stadium on the Las Vegas Festival Grounds site, located on the southwest corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue.

“We reinforced our support that we believe the best site is on the Sahara/ LV Blvd,” Sibella wrote in an email. “Having the A’s in Las Vegas will be great for the Strip properties and the LV community.”

The meeting did not include discussion­s regarding economics, only that the “A’s will have our full support,” Sibella added.

After nearly two years of work in the Las Vegas Valley, the A’s trimmed a site list of more than 20 to two — the festival grounds site and the Tropicana on the south Strip.

Casino magnate Phil Ruffin, who owns the 37acre festival grounds site, wasn’t available for comment.

Bally’s Corp. President George Papanier, who oversees the company’s land-based casino operations, said last month that discussion­s with the A’s still were taking place. Bally’s oversees the operation of the Tropicana.

Derek Stevens, coowner of the Circa, Golden Gate and The D properties downtown, confirmed that he attended Wednesday’s meeting, adding that a lot of key players want to see the A’s relocate to Las Vegas for several reasons.

“I talked with ownership in John Fisher and their President Dave for a while yesterday,” Stevens wrote in a text message. “This will be very good for Las Vegas, very good for jobs, very good for hotel rooms (i.e. the LVCVA). The key thing is getting the location nailed down and moving forward.”

The A’s are interested in public assistance if they were to relocate to Southern Nevada, a person with knowledge of the proceeding­s said. Gov. Joe Lombardo said last month he would not be in favor of raising state taxes to help lure a team to Nevada, but added that there were existing economic developmen­t programs the team could utilize.

Stevens said those who complain about potential tax breaks the A’s could receive don’t understand the impact the franchise and a new ballpark could have on the valley.

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