Deal to give Athletics $380M to move to Las Vegas passes Nevada Legislature

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(The Center Square) – The Nevada Legislature finished its special session by approving a $380 million tax bill to attempt to bring the Oakland Athletics to Las Vegas.

The Assembly passed an amended bill, 25-15, on Wednesday night before the changes were approved by the Senate.

The largest change in the deal Wednesday was a guarantee that the Athletics would put $2 million annually into a community benefits agreement after a 30,000-seat retractable roof stadium opened in 2028.

The bill includes a tax capture at the complex expected not only to pay off up to $175 million in bonds but also to fund future capital projects at the stadium, which will be required by a “first-class” clause in a 30-year lease the Athletics plan to sign.

The bill also requires the stadium to be built on the Tropicana site.

The stadium tax capture will collect all sales, payroll, insurance, gross revenue, ticket and liquor taxes at the nine-acre site – planned to be built at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue on the site of the current Tropicana Las Vegas Casino Resort – along with transportation taxes on trips to and from the complex. The Athletics will be able to sell stadium naming rights and keep those funds.

The Senate passed the bill on Tuesday. Now it will head to the desk of Gov. Joe Lombardo, who called the special session to get the Athletics deal passed.

A large part of the pitch from bill proponents, like Jeremy Aguero of Las Vegas-based Applied Analysis, was the claimed economic impact of professional sports in Las Vegas.

Economist E. Frank Stephenson of Berry College in Georgia looked at the impact on hotel data for four years between October 2015 and September 2019, finding that there was no statistical impact showing an increase in room rentals, average daily rate or hotel revenue associated with either Aces or Knights games.

He didn’t look at Raiders hotel impact because COVID-19 would make the data not worthwhile.

“Baseball season runs April to Sept and those are 6 of the 8 highest occupancy months in LV,” Stephenson wrote. “I’d expect a lot of displacement if the A’s do actually attract tourists to LV.”

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