Bally’s strikes ‘transformational’ deal to move Oakland A’s to Tropicana Las Vegas

Oakland A'ls
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Bally’s Corporation has confirmed today that a deal has been agreed to provide the Oakland Athletics (Oakland A’s) with a new ballpark on its Tropicana Las Vegas location.

The agreement was previously reported by The Nevada Independent, which said last week that Bally’s will demolish the Tropicana Las Vegas site it acquired from Gaming and Lesiure Properties (GLPI) and Penn Entertainment in a $148m deal last September, paving the way for the A’s to construct a $1.5bn, 35,000-seat (confirmed by Bally’s as ‘approximately 30,000’) retractable roof stadium on nine acres of the 35-acre site on Tropicana Avenue, near the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip.

The publication also cited a source who claimed Bally’s would look to build a new 1,500-room hotel-casino – separate from the ballpark – across from the stadium once it has been completed.

There was no mention of a hotel-casino in today’s release, but the announcement did confirm that a binding agreement had been reached between all relevant parties – Bally’s, the A’s, and GLPI – to site the MLB side’s new ballpark, which is expected to welcome more than 2.5 million fans and visitors annually.

Commenting on the ‘transformational’ deal, Oakland A’s President Dave Kaval said: “We are excited about the potential to bring Major League Baseball to this iconic location. We are thrilled to work alongside Bally’s and GLPI, and look forward to finalizing plans to bring the Athletics to Southern Nevada.”

The development seemingly brings an end to the four-year rumor mill and ends the ‘binding agreement’ the A’s announced with Red Rock Resorts several weeks ago, which centered on a 49-acre site in a different location near the Las Vegas Strip.

The A’s were reportedly going to seek around $500m in public funds for the project at their original site, through a tax package that would require approval by the Nevada Legislature and the Clark County Commission, but according to The Nevada Independent, the agreement with Bally’s requires a smaller sum of $395m.

Today’s announcement also included the titbit that GLPI has agreed to fund up to $175m towards ‘certain shared improvements’ within the future development in exchange for a ‘commensurate rent increase’.

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

2027 was reported as the opening date for the new stadium, with the potential that it could be pushed to 2028 if the construction timeline changes, though Bally’s release provided no confirmation of this.

It did, however, note a ‘range of benefits’ that the deal would provide, including:

  • Substantial ballpark visitation materially enhancing future offerings within the development;
  • Significant flexibility for an array of strategic options for the site, including the ability to develop in a phased approach with disciplined capital deployment;
  • Massive, unlocked potential for iconic, global brands to partner and market one of the busiest intersections in the country with over seven million impressions a month; and
  • Transformational impact for the evolution of Bally’s database further solidifying it’s global, omni-channel strategy

George Papanier, Bally’s President, added: “We are honored 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.”

Bally’s concluded the announcement by affirming its commitment to the operations of the Tropicana Las Vegas ‘for the foreseeable future’ while ‘evaluating all available options for a broader redevelopment of the remainder of the site that will be adjacent to the new ballpark’.

The group, meanwhile, reported its financial results for the first quarter of 2023 last Tuesday, revealing its revenue had increased 9.2% YoY to $598.7m.

Bally’s net income also soared to $178.3m compared to $1.9m in the prior year, with CEO Robeson Reeves citing cost-cutting measures as a factor in North America Interactive significantly outperforming initial forecasts.