A’s invoke Dubs, Giants in defending need for Vegas ballpark investors

NBC Sports Bay Area

As the saga of the Athletics’ relocation to Las Vegas continues, the franchise has defended its decision to potentially bring outside investors into the new stadium project.

In a piece by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the A’s organization explained in a statement its intention to possibly bring in other investors to cover the remaining $1.1 billion in costs after the public subsidies are factored in.

“John Fisher has publicly expressed his interest in bringing in partners to foster community connections in Las Vegas and Nevada,” the A’s said. “He has also indicated that he and his family are prepared to finance all required equity for the new ballpark, enabling the project to proceed with or without new partners. Exploring options and bringing on investors are common practices in the construction of sports stadiums. The Golden State Warriors and San Francisco Giants are two great examples of this.”

While Fisher, the heir to the Gap fortune, has plenty of money in his family to invest in the new stadium on the Las Vegas Strip, invoking the Giants and the Warriors as examples is a puzzling claim.

Both franchises privately financed Oracle Park and Chase Center respectively, relying on very little outside investment or subsidies from the state of California or the city of San Francisco.

After voters rejected public financing four times in the 1980s and 1990s, the Giants financed their new $315 million park largely on their own, selling the naming rights for $50 million and raising about $90 million through personal seat licenses and corporate sponsorships, then borrowing $175 million for construction.

The Warriors, meanwhile, also utilized naming rights, season ticket and luxury suite sales to fill the gap public funding typically would fill for other arenas.

Whereas, the A’s will receive over $400 million in public financing from the state of Nevada, a pivotal factor in the franchise’s decision to leave Oakland.

Fisher has expressed his dissatisfaction with the Oakland Coliseum site for several years, and he had hoped to negotiate a new ballpark in Jack London Square at the Howard Terminal site. However, years of negotiations fell through and MLB owners unanimously approved the A’s move to Las Vegas, marking the second major professional sports team to pull off the change after the Raiders did the same in 2019.

The A’s will need to secure the final round of financing, whether through Fisher or other private investors, before construction on the ballpark can begin in earnest next year. MLB has laid out a tight timetable for the stadium’s construction, mandating that it must be open by the start of the 2028 season.

For now, the A’s will play out this season in Oakland before temporarily relocating to Sutter Health Park in West Sacramento for three years, currently the home of the AAA Giants affiliate River Cats.

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