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MLB’s Oakland Athletics signal impending move to Las Vegas with agreement to purchase land near strip, per reports

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Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Oakland Athletics have signed a binding purchase agreement for land near the Las Vegas Strip, where the team plans to construct a Major League ballpark, according to reports from the Las Vegas Review-Journal and The Athletic, citing Athletics team president Dave Kaval.

“For a while, we were on parallel paths (with Oakland), but we have turned our attention to Las Vegas to get a deal here for the A’s and find a long-term home,” Kaval told the Review-Journal on Wednesday. “Oakland has been a great home for us for over 50 years, but we really need this 20-year saga completed and we feel there’s a path here in Southern Nevada to do that.”

According to the Review-Journal, the agreement is for a 49-acre plot of land, owned by Red Rock Resorts, parent company of Station Casinos.

The Athletics, who have played in the city of Oakland since 1968, plan to build a 30,000-seat stadium, featuring a partially retractable roof, along with ancillary developments on the site, in a project that will cost $1.5 billion, Koval told the Review-Journal. He said the team would have the option to purchase eight more acres at a later date.

“It’s really exciting to have a site,” Kaval told the Review-Journal Wednesday. “We’ve spent almost two years doing our due diligence, working with community leaders, elected officials and everyone in town to really determine a location that could be a win for the A’s as well as the community and public officials.”

The new ballpark would be over a mile north of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders Allegiant Stadium, and about a mile west of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces’ T-Mobile Arena.

In comments to The Athletic on Thursday, Kaval indicated there was still negotiation to be done.

“We’re not all the way there in Nevada,” he told The Athletic. He said they are looking for an incentive package.

“We’re working with them. And we’re having very good conversations,” Kaval said, adding that there could be a vote before the Nevada state legislature ends its session in July.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred expressed his support on the Athletics’ plans to relocate to Las Vegas. “We support the A’s turning their focus on Las Vegas and look forward to them bringing finality to this process by the end of the year,” Manfred said in a statement to the Review-Journal.

Nevada Governor Joe Lombardo called the prospects of the Athletics’ move to Southern Nevada “great news,” while highlighting the positive economic impact the move would have for the city and the state.

“Welcoming the A’s to Las Vegas would be great news for Southern Nevada as well as our entire state,” Lombardo said in a statement to the Review-Journal. “The prospect of bringing new jobs, more economic development and a historic MLB franchise to Las Vegas is exciting on many levels.

“As we continue to navigate this opportunity, I’m in regular communication with the A’s, Major League Baseball, legislative leadership and local and state stakeholders.”

In contrast, news of the binding purchase agreement wasn’t well received by Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao, who criticized the Athletics’ decision and said the city was “ceasing negotiations” with the team.

“I am deeply disappointed that the A’s have chosen not to negotiate with the City of Oakland as a true partner, in a way that respects the long relationship between the fans, the City and the team,” Thao said in a statement, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “The City has gone above and beyond in our attempts to arrive at mutually beneficial terms to keep the A’s in Oakland.

“In the last three months, we’ve made significant strides to close the deal. Yet, it is clear to me that the A’s have no intention of staying in Oakland and have simply been using this process to try to extract a better deal out of Las Vegas. I am not interested in continuing to play that game – the fans and our residents deserve better.”

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